There are many cool aspects of my job, not the least of which is learning — and sometimes even breaking news — about the latest technologies in oil and gas. When I heard from Mike Dejak, executive VP of Eco-Tec, that the company's new technology could 'revolutionize filtration' for the produced water market, I was anxious to learn more about it. However, I was also duty-bound to you, the reader, to investigate the validity of such claims. In this Q&A, I asked Dejak about the industry indicators that suggested a need for Eco-Tec's new product, the details of its operation, and proof of performance and value.
Dejak has a long history in the business, having spent his last 37 years with Eco-Tec. Throughout his career, he has been involved in global responsibilities as the company has developed, designed, built, sold, and serviced its water purification and chemical recovery products in more than 50 countries around the world to a wide range of industrial clients.
What major issue in the produced water market did Eco-Tec identify, and why is it a problem?
New oil production is coming either from areas where the wells are increasingly more difficult and more expensive to drill and the reservoirs are tighter with lower permeability, or from older, mature fields where a greater amount of oil can be recovered using enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. In both cases, it is increasingly more important to protect the reservoir asset by keeping it clean — and this points to improved filtration of any water injected into these wells and reservoirs.
The major issue is the growing awareness in the industry that the quality of water being used for injection into oil reservoirs — for either pressure maintenance or for water floods, alkaline/surfactant/polymer (ASP) floods, water and gas (WAG) floods, or even water used for fracking shale — should be better than it has been in the past. Passage of solid dirt particles into the well and reservoir cause them to plug, which translates into reduced oil production. That, in turn, necessitates stopping production and doing an acid treatment or some other form of workover to restore the well's performance. In some cases, the solids may affect the life and total recoverable oil potential of a reservoir. Increasingly, specifications for water being injected into such wells are being defined by a particle-size cutoff at about 2 microns, with many specifications requiring that the water be filtered such that 95-98% of the particles greater than 2 microns are removed.