Salt Water Disposal

Salt Water Disposal Wells

What is a Saltwater Disposal Well?

A salt water disposal well is a disposal site for water collected as a byproduct of oil and gas production. Quite often when oil and gas are pumped out of the earth, they aren't pure enough for distribution. The oil and gas go through a separation phase or are treated with chemicals that extract the impurities. After the oil or gas is treated, there is water leftover (referred to as "salt water") that must be carefully handled. Companies may choose to recycle the salt water by injecting it back into the well for secondary oil recovery, or dispose of it at a salt water well disposal site. Regulations for the disposal of this water vary from state to state, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors the disposal closely to ensure ground water is not contaminated.

How is a Salt Water Disposal Well Constructed?

Saltwater disposal wells are a safe way to manage the byproducts of oil and gas production. To ensure the environment is not contaminated, saltwater disposal wells have unique construction requirements. In Texas, saltwater disposals are required to have three layers of casing to ensure groundwater remains safe. The first layer, referred to as surface casing, reaches from the surface to below the deepest usable quality groundwater level. The surface casing is a steel pipe surrounded by cement. The next layer of casing is the production casing. This runs the entire length of the well and is a pipe permanently cemented in the wellbore. The final protection layer contains the injection tubing string and packer. These components guide the injected water to the bottom of the well and into an underground formation. This construction is the most secure way to dispose of saltwater to date. To put it in perspective, all three pipes would have to fail simultaneously to impact surrounding groundwater, making this process reliable.

Is there a difference between a salt water disposal well and an injection well?

Both salt water disposal wells and injection wells are used to safely dispose of fracturing flowback liquid and produced liquids from oil and gas production. They are used as secondary recovery techniques and to improve production from existing wells. Salt Water Disposal Wells are sometimes used to inject fluid into underground structures that have not, or no longer produce oil and gas but are sealed off by formations deemed impassable. They also may dispose fluid into a formation that is active and produces oil or natural gas. Injection wells recycle produced fluid back into the original reservoir from which they were produced. This method can recover vast amounts of oil or gas that was not produced during the original attempt. This allows for secondary oil or gas recovery from depleted reservoirs without contamination or depleting of more resources. The majority of disposal wells in Texas are injection wells because they are able to recycle fluids and increase production. Salt water disposal wells, in addition to injection wells, are used to maintain pressure in a reservoir that is depleted as oil or gas is pumped out. This technique of displacing or sweeping oil towards producing wells is also referred to as water flooding.

Tech-Flo and Salt Water Disposal Wells

Tech-Flo has decades of experience maintaining and servicing pumps for saltwater disposal wells. Our elite team of technicians and mechanics are on call 24-7 to alleviate any mechanical or operational pump and equipment issues. Failed equipment can be devastating to a production site, and we strive to limit and reduce the amount of failures by preventative maintenance. Regular maintenance can minimize overall expenses and maximize production by resolving minor issues before they become catastrophic. Contact us today to discuss how Tech-Flo can increase the productivity of your operation!