Conserving Water Resources Services
Water is a natural resource that can sometimes be hard to access. That’s why we constantly strive to optimize our water use and improve the quality of the water we discharge.
Optimizing Water Use
The need to optimize our water use applies to all of our activities and businesses. In 2007, we published a methodological guide on this topic to:
- Share best practices across Total.
- Help our sites set targets for reducing their water use.
We focus in particular on sites where industrial water requirements compete with other important uses, such as household consumption and agriculture, tailoring our solutions to the local context and to seasonal constraints.
Preserving Water Quality
When oil or gas is extracted from a reservoir, water is also brought to the surface. It is known as produced water. Although initially low, the amount of produced water increases as the field matures.
Our priority is to reinject produced water into the reservoirs. This allows us to maintain reservoir pressure and enhance oil recovery, as the water acts as a piston, pushing the oil toward the wells. It also means that the produced water is recycled, limiting both use and discharges.
This approach requires the implementation of complex processes like membrane ultrafiltration to ensure that the recycled water will not interfere with reservoir permeability or impede the flow of oil to the well. Concretely, this means preventing the microchannels that run through the reservoir from getting clogged up.
If reinjection is not feasible, water is treated before being discharged into the natural environment. For each site, we limit the oil content of discharges to 30 milligrams per liter in offshore areas. Onshore and in coastal waters, our target is a maximum of 10 milligrams per liter.