Produced Water Testing

Produced water or formation water is a term used in the oil industry to describe water that is created as a by product along with the oil and gas during exploration and production. It is either re injected into the well or discharged as surface waters. Because produced waters are likely to contain oil and metals, they need to be treated prior to being discharged. Testing is therefore carried out for toxicity and cannot exceed set discharge rates. 

Physical and chemical properties of produced waters tend to vary depending on well location, type of hydrocarbon produced, temperature and pressure. Because the properties also change over time, produced water can lead to scaling, paraffin formation and pH changes. When in contact with oxygen, produced water can also result in iron compounds deposition and elemental sulphur.

Why test:

To avoid plugging of wells
To avoid scaling of lines, valves and orifices
To prevent corrosion due to acid gases
To ensure the produced water is within consent range (monitoring)
To avoid the growth of bacteria that plug lines and valves 

Tests usually carried out on produced waters include: 

• PH  
• Chloride
• Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons
• Salinity
• Total suspended solids
• Total Dissolved solids
• Bicarbonate
• Conductivity/resistivity
• Specific gravity
• Oil and grease
• Dissolved metals
• Total Iron
• Anions
• Total and dissolved sulphide
• Volatile Fatty acid profile
• Trace Mercury
• Sulphate reducing bacteria
• Unknown compound identification

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