Hickenlooper on Frakin’ Frack Fluid

I was surprised to learn from my governor here in Colorado that he believes ANY fracking fluid would be safe. It’s not just what goes down the hole, it’s the quality of water coming back up that will be contaminated, just like any other “produced water.” It’s important industry wants to minimize what goes down the well.

Despite what you might have heard, I much prefer drinking beer to frack fluid.

For the uninitiated, “frack fluid” is the liquid product oil and gas developers use in deep underground drilling operations. It is mostly water, but includes other ingredients and chemicals that are designed to open up oil and gas deposits and be recovered in the drilling process.

Knowing what’s in the fluid and making sure the ingredients are known to the public is what prompted us to pass the most rigorous and transparent frack fluid disclosure rule in the country about a year ago. We negotiated that rule with industry and the environmental community (including the Environmental Defense Fund).

Our goal has been to encourage industry to use ingredients that are safe for the environment. So when an industry executive came to my office over a year ago touting the safety of their product – a new form of frack fluid based on food additives – we put him to the test by asking whether it was safe to drink. He said yes. So I challenged him to take a sip. He did, and so did I.

I can’t say it tasted good, but it was, as advertised, a completely safe product for human consumption. (This is not to imply that anyone would drink the frack fluid being used today).

As we move forward in developing energy, we ought to insist on the strictest and most effective environmental safeguards.

Although tasting frack fluid might seem newsworthy to some, it was not really the point of testimony we recently gave to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in Washington, D.C. We were drawing attention to the fact that Colorado has created the most comprehensive and stringent set of regulations around oil and gas production in the country.

If you are interested in what went on there, please take a moment to click on this link (and go to 48:45) and let me know what you think.

John Hickenlooper

New OrganiClear™ Technology for Cleaning Produced Water from Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) and other Oil & Gas processes to be presented at 28th Annual WaterReuse Symposium by IX Power Clean Water CEO John “Grizz” Deal

The water industry will get its first official and public introduction to OrganiClear on Sunday afternoon, September 15, 2013 at the 28th Annual WaterReuse Symposium in Denver, Colorado in the U.S. IX Power Clean Water CEO John R. Grizz Deal will present the new technology, which originated at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Texas, and New Mexico Tech. It has been hailed as the most effective proven technology to filter and destroy toxic organic hydrocarbons, such as the notorious BTEX compounds, in “produced water” without creating an additional waste stream. Held in Denver September 15 – 18, the WaterReuse Symposium is the leading event in the U.S. for presenting the latest innovations in water reuse and desalination. More information about the event can be found at http://www.watereuse.org/symposium28.

A $40 billion per annum problem for the oil and gas industry, the handling, cleaning and disposal of produced water is gaining more attention from environmental regulators in the U.S. and other oil and gas producing countries every year. Produced water is a term to describe the polluted water extracted from the earth along with oil and gas. The water produced may include water from the fossil fuel reservoir, water injected into the formation (including the high pressure water used to fracture the rock formation—“fracking”), and chemicals added during production and well treatment processes.

The OrganiClear machine cleans water of its organic hydrocarbons to the point that it can be safely used for agriculture and livestock and, with additional processes, can also be used for community water systems.IX_PCW_Logo_Sept12

“OrganiClear will change how the world manages produced water from the oil & gas industry, mining industry, and in manufacturing,” explains Deal. “As part of an operation’s water treatment train, OrganiClear not only separates the dangerous organic hydrocarbons, it destroys them while creating no additional waste stream. While other existing processes for cleaning produced water leave piles of toxic consumables that then must also be disposed of, OrganiClear effectively “eats” the toxins leaving nothing behind for additional handling.”

The major constituents of produced water are salt, oil, grease, and various other natural inorganic and organic compounds, chemical additives used in drilling and fracking, and naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM).

BTEX is one set of compounds of organic hydrocarbons of major concern. BTEX is an acronym that stands for Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes, which are all closely related. These compounds are soluble in water so produced water from the extraction of crude oil is always contaminated with these compounds.

Unfortunately, BTEX is extremely toxic and dangerous to humans, animals, crops, and natural vegetation. Benzene is carcinogenic while Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes have harmful effects on the central nervous system. Frequently found together, the BTEX compounds can cause illness, birth defects, eventual death—and even immediate death if highly concentrated.

Thus far, the oil and gas industry worldwide has generally dealt with produced water by subsurface disposal, disposal on the surface (in ponds), and by cleaning it to a degree that it can be re-used in oil and gas extraction processes. Some operations have cleaned it to the point that it can be used for irrigation, although without the OrganiClear technology, that process is costly and damaging to the environment. Given the high cost of organics elimination, some oil and gas operators are forced to release their produced water untreated where it pollutes aquifers, rivers, and the ocean. OrganiClear solves this important problem.

“This is a global environmental issue,” said Deal, “because for each barrel of oil recovered, 5 to 40 times as much water is produced, creating the adage that ‘oil recovery is really water recovery with a bit of oil thrown in.’ Worldwide, the volume of produced water generated each year exceeds 70 billion barrels (1 bbl = 42 U.S. gallons.

Produced water accounts for 98% of the waste products in the oil & gas industry. Each year in order to comply with local, state, provincial, and federal environmental laws, oil and gas companies spend an estimated $40 billion cleaning and/or disposing of produced water. Costs include transportation, pre-treatment, re-injection, and desalination, and vary widely depending upon the water’s properties, volume, and geographic location. Typical handling costs range from $2 to $10 per barrel of water, and can run as high as $15 per barrel. The cost to eliminate “everything but TDS*” using OrganiClear in produced water ranges from $0.28 to $0.50 per barrel.

“So, why not clean it for beneficial use or recycle it for reuse?” notes Deal. “When millions of people around the globe suffer from water and subsequent food scarcity, we need to clean as much produced water as possible and turn it into “found” water. OrganiClear can make a huge difference: for industry, for the environment, and humankind. The oil and gas industry wants to do the right thing with its produced water. OrganiClear helps them in that effort.”

IX Power Clean Water (pronounced Nine Power), is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is one of the IX Power Companies, a group that focuses on bringing game-changing safe power and clean water innovations to market. The companies also have offices in Washington, D.C.; London, England; and Moscow, Russia. Before starting the IX Power group of companies, Deal was the CEO of Hyperion Power Generation for four years. He co-founded Hyperion Power, the first modern SMR company to approach the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission with its SMR concept, along with the IX Power Leadership Team: Dr. Otis (Pete) Peterson, Dr. Robert Libutti, Randall Wilson, and Deborah Deal-Blackwell. The objective of Hyperion Power was to introduce a mass-produced, self-contained 25MWe nuclear power reactor that was factory assembled and safe and compact enough to be shipped on the back of a truck. Now known as a design in the Generation IV (GenIV) class of reactors, the Hyperion reactor was designed to bring safe, emission-free clean nuclear power to industry and remote communities.

 *Costs to reduce Total Dissolved Solids, TDS, vary widely given TDS quantities and discharge limits.