Grant for oilfield water reuse

The US department of energy has awarded a $1.8m grant to research the reuse of water used in oilfield production.

Starting this summer and expected to last for two years, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology will investigate the possible uses of water reused in the industry, reports the Associated Press.

Eva Sanchez, county grant writer, told the news agency: “We have large amounts of produced water.

“If we can find a way to clean it up so that it’s usable again, I think it will really help us with the amount of withdrawals from Lea County.”

Ms Sanchez explained that salts can be removed from some water by algae or bacteria and official estimates suggest south-eastern Mexico produces about 400m barrels of brine water annually.

Oilfield production water reuse has been researched for several years at the petroleum recovery research centre at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

It is unclear whether the reused water would be safe for human consumption but could be reused in the oilfield.

Hans Enggrob, head of innovation at the DHI Water Group, recently warned at the Nordic Green conference that globally there was now just 1,000 cubic metres of water per person per year, compared to 4,000 cubic metres in the middle of the 20th century, according to cnet news.

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