Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Recovery & Disposal

One key component of the oilfield service industry is hydraulic fracturing fluid or saltwater disposal, commonly referred to as SWD.  Operators are responsible for the disposal of flowback water, produced water and hydraulic fracturing fluid (“frac fluid”) – creating vast potential liabilities for the fast moving majors in the industry.  In layman terms, the saltwater produced from the drilling and expansion of wells has to go somewhere.  If the saltwater and drilling fluids are improperly disposed, the responsibility falls squarely upon the producer of said water.

Three Basic Components of the Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid (Saltwater) Disposal Business:

  • Transporting wastewater, which is a byproduct of drilling and ongoing production, from an oil/gas well to a disposal site for a fee.
  • Disposing of the water in a state permitted disposal well for a fee.  Disposal water is continually generated in both the well drilling and completion phase (flowback water) and while the well is producing oil/gas (produced water).
  • Skim oil is the residue which is salvaged and sold from the transported wastewater.
Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid

Did you know...

Saltwater wells have virtually unlimited disposal capacity, providing for continuous revenue generation.

During the completion phase of an oil/gas well, fresh water is used to fracture the shale formation. A typical multi-stage frac process uses at least 100,000 barrels of fresh water. When this water “flows back” it is salty and must be transported away from the drilling site and disposed of in a permitted disposal well. The need for disposal of flow-back water occurs only during the drilling of a new well, however flow-back water disposal is often the second-largest expense of drilling a new well.

Water that comes to the surface during the normal oil or gas production process is naturally occurring briny water that is generated from deep within the earth along with the oil and gas. The need to dispose of “produced water” is on-going and continues throughout the life of the oil/gas well. Servicing this disposal need produces recurring revenues, frequently on a daily basis. Produced water disposal is usually the largest lease operating expense of a producing well.

In addition to receiving fees for transporting and disposing of salt water, Frontier Oilfield Services also generates revenue from the sale of “skim” oil. This oil comes mixed in with the salt water that the company transports and disposes. We salvage the oil prior to pumping the water into one of the disposal wells.