Monday, February 01, 2016

Interview with Brian Kalt, Fairmont Brine Processing. Innovators and Entrepreneurs Series.

Protecting the environment is critical in oil and gas operations, and the fact that many oil wells produce significant amounts of saltwater that must then be disposed of safely can be both expensive and can lead to unintended consequences. As a result, there has been a great deal of work done to develop processes that can dispose of produced water in an economic way.  Fairmont Brine Processing has developed and implemented an evaporation and crystallization process that has been used in the Marcellus in the Appalachian Basin with great success.

Welcome to an interview with Brian Kalt, Fairmont Brine Processing.

1.    What is your name and your new process?
Although evaporation has been going on since the dawn of time and crystallization since the 1800s, utilizing both processes to manage the wastewater produced in the natural resource extraction process is a novel concept and has allowed Fairmont Brine Processing to pioneer its patented evaporation and crystallization process for not only the natural gas and oil industry, but the environment and the community as well.

2.    What exactly does your process do?
 As an alternative to the sequestering of trillions of gallons of water beneath the earth’s surface via deep well injection, Fairmont Brine Processing is able to receive flowback and produced fluid from the drilling and hydraulic-fracturing process and recycle it into three reusable products.  Throughout the entire Appalachian Basin, our distilled water is reused in the drilling and fracturing process and drastically reduces costs at the wellhead by eliminating biocide, scale inhibitor and friction reducers.  The dry sodium chloride rock salt is used to keep highways open and safe during the winter.  Additionally, this sodium chloride is used in the chemical manufacturing process.  Throughout Appalachia, we also produce a liquid calcium chloride that is reused in the natural resource extraction process.  Fairmont Brine Processing is the lowest cost producer and supplier of this product in the entire country and because of this, TETRA Technologies, Inc. was smart enough to sign a 15 year sales and marketing agreement with us, which gives them the sole rights to market and distribute this product.


3.    What does the process accomplish? What are the main advantages?
 On average, a well can produce hydrocarbons for 30+ years.  In addition to natural gas and or oil, water is also produced throughout the life of a well.  Water that was used during completions (flowback) and salt water (produced fluid) that’s trapped in the earth’s formation will return to the earth’s surface and must be disposed of in one of two ways.  Historically, this wastewater is trucked hundreds of miles in and out of state only to be sequestered back beneath the earth’s surface via deep well injection.  Secondly, black-box water treatment technologies have popped up to “recycle” this water for reuse in future operations.  However, this is essentially a Ponzi scheme in a sense that if an exploration and production company is not completing any wells, this recycled water is useless and must then be pumped back beneath the earth’s surface, which has led to increased seismic activity in Oklahoma, Texas and now Ohio.

4.    Where are you currently using your process?
 The current operating facility in Fairmont, WV receives fluid from all around the Appalachian Basin.

5.    How much does it cost?  Is it an economic solution?
 This is an environmentally responsible and cost-effective alternative to deep well injection.  The cost varies by Basin and is dependent on an exploration and production company’s volumes and length of commitment to utilize the facility.

6.    Where can your process solve problems?
 First and foremost, Fairmont Brine Processing’s evaporation and crystallization process can immediately address what’s going on in Oklahoma.  I used to say that behind closed doors industry veterans would tell you that it’s not the drilling and fracturing process that’s causing the technically enhanced seismic activity, but rather through the uptick in the media’s coverage, O&G industry veterans and geophysicists are and have successfully correlated the earthquakes as a result of deep well injection.  In addition to replacing deep well injection, this process would be a waterfall all throughout Texas.  In places like the Eagleford and Permian where it’s a struggle to keep the frac going on a daily basis because fresh water is so limited, Fairmont Brine Processing’s evaporation and crystallization process would produce enough distilled water to offset the dwindling water supply and drastically reduce chemical consumption at the wellhead.

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