Water is vital to every industry, even those that harvest oil and natural gas. Water is both a tool that the workers can use to extract fossil fuels from the ground and a byproduct of the extraction process. In both cases, the water needs to undergo treatment for a variety of different reasons. That means that the oil and gas industries have close ties to the water treatment industry, and that they could never hope to operate without a good water treatment plan.
Using Produced Water
Produced water is a byproduct of extracting oil and gas. Most oil and gas deposits in the ground are not completely pure. Instead, they contain a mixture of fossil fuels, water, and assorted other minerals. It is usually impossible to extract the fossil fuels without taking some water out of the ground, which means that the oil and gas companies have to find ways to deal with that extra water.
In many cases, they can put the water to good use. It often gets injected back into the deposit to aid in the extraction process, but it can also be used for other purposes, such as agricultural irrigation. The water needs to be purified regardless of the intended use, which creates a constant demand for water treatment at the extraction sites.
Preparing for Water Injection
Water injection is a vital part of the oil and gas industries. Fossil fuels are harvested from large reservoirs in the ground, but it is quite rare for all of the reservoir to be accessible at the start of the harvest. Instead, workers need to use a variety of different techniques to push the rest of the reservoir into places that they can easily access.
Water injection is one of the easiest ways to do that. It involves pumping water into the reservoir to increase the pressure in it. Since fluids tend to go from areas of high pressure to areas of lower pressure, that makes it easy to push oil out of the deposit. The water needs to be filtered before use in order to get rid of solids, and have any oxygen removed to help preserve the machinery. That requires water treatment, which makes the process vital for resource extraction.
There are plenty of uses for water at an extraction site, but some waste is inevitable. There are strict environmental regulations that prevent oil and gas companies from simply leaving contaminated water in the environment, so all wastewater needs to be cleaned prior to disposal. That relies on a fairly extensive water treatment process, but it allows companies to extract the oil and gas that enable modern lifestyles without polluting the water supply.