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Solving the Produced Water Reclamation Problem

The hydraulic fracturing process can use more than 5 million gallons of water per well. A variety of organic and inorganic compounds are used in fracturing fluids to optimize formation fracture and proppant transportation.  Consequently, it is of the utmost importance that the correct water quality is used during operations to ensure unwanted salts and compounds do not interfere with the performance of the fracturing fluid.  Additionally, deep gas seams are often associated with hyper-saline, deep aquifers, which generate hyper-saline formation water.

Neptune has developed new flow through technologies designed to treat for and recycle, contaminated oil flowback water generated by the petroleum industry.  Flowback water is mainly utilized in well drilling to improve harvest extraction efficiencies, it consists mainly of freshwater containing a chemical brine mixture of polymers used as viscosity agents.  Approximately 10% of a given site's daily production rate can be lost due to oil emulsification within the flow back water. Blackstar technology further allows this lost oil to be recovered while simultaneously treating for recycling other contaminants without the addition of chemicals flocculates.

Neptune estimates there are over 42 billion gallons of flow back water generated annually within the United States alone, all containing various levels of contaminate. Neptune further estimates of this amount, 6 billion barrels or 252 billion gallons, could be treated for recycling.

Oil and gas producers are all coming under significant political and regulatory scrutiny for traditional water waste and disposal practices. Deep concerns are surfacing over environmental damage as well as public health. The costs of water waste and disposal well operations both in dollars and in terms of public image are skyrocketing as oil and gas producers are on the brink of a national crisis.

In locations where local water sources are insufficient or otherwise unavailable or where the cost to import water to the location becomes prohibitive, then water from previous oil or gas operations (flow-back water), is processed through pre-treatment for re-cycling.  When unacceptable salinity levels rise from repeated injections, a more costly desalination treatment is required prior to re-injection.

The sheer market size in terms of gallons of fresh water used annually for hydraulic fracturing is very high and proves the immediate demand for new water treatment technologies. It's estimated over 140 billion gallons annually is required at an average cost of $0.21 per gallon with disposal costs running from $2.00~$11.50 per barrel.  This represents an approximate $30 billion per year industry alone in the United States. In a recent report by Lux Research, they concluded the "produced water market will grow nine-fold by 2020 due to the boosting of new fracking technologies".

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