Water Quality and Conservation

Since the early 1990s, the regulation of chemicals used in offshore drilling operations has undergone increased scrutiny with regard to environmental and health and safety risks. Baker Hughes has successfully led the development of new green chemistries that maintain high standards of water quality, protect environmental habitats and facilitate the conservation of water as a resource.

Water Quality

During the productive life of an oil well, the well initially produces a percentage of oil and a small amount of water. Over time as the oil is extracted, the percentage of water that is produced increases.

Throughout this process, the "produced" water must be separated from the oil, and treated so that it can be either safely

  1. discharged – used mainly in offshore applications;
  2. re-injected into the formation – used in onshore, coastal or other environmentally sensitive areas; or
  3. re-used – in order to maintain reservoir pressures to enhance heavy oil reservoir production.

In each of these applications, water quality must meet a rigorous suite of test conditions including low toxicity, high biodegradability and low potential for bioaccumulation in the food chain.

Baker Petrolite TRETOLITE™ Fluids Separation Technologies help oil and gas producers remove traces of crude oil from produced water, making the water clean enough for discharge back into the ocean. TRETOLITE™ Demulsifiers were the first products that were both effective and met the stringent Norwegian regulatory requirements. Baker Hughes has an extensive list of drilling and production chemical products that meet or exceed all current environmental regulations in places such as the North Sea where "green" chemistry and water quality are leading concerns.

Another facet of our commitment to developing environmentally responsible chemical products is our environmental laboratory located in St. Louis, Missouri. Our 3000-square foot lab is independently certified to GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) standards, and is staffed by many experts with more than 15 years of experience in evaluating aquatic toxicity. For three decades, we have collaborated with customers to develop products with improved toxicity and bioaccumulation properties, more quickly and at a lower cost. By allowing our researchers to work in close collaboration with environmental scientists, we most efficiently keep environmental progress in oilfield production operations moving forward.

Water Conservation

Drilling, completion and production activities typically require large quantities of water. Recognizing the need to conserve water resources, Baker Hughes has developed a number of technologies to clean industrial water so it can be reused. This minimizes the need for fresh water while at the same time reducing the volume of wastewater that is generated. The Baker Petrolite DEMANDTRAC™ family of products is designed to treat evaporative cooling water systems for scale and corrosion control. Controlling scale and corrosion allows refiners to recirculate the water for more cycles resulting in a reduction in the amount of fresh water needed to run the refinery.