Bakken Water, Oilfield Waste Developments

By Luke Geiver | June 10, 2015

Of all the topics we devote coverage time and energy to throughout the year, oilfield waste is one with the least appeal. While the topics of flaring and operator updates are always popular and well read, telling the story of naturally occurring radioactive material handling and disposal methods just doesn’t have the same readership appeal. But, consider this: Every year, roughly 2 million tons of new drill cuttings in the Williston Basin need to be managed. Until now, the massive amount of drill cuttings produced annually in the Bakken has been sent to landfills in and outside of North Dakota. A new technology and drill cutting approach has arrived, however, that recycles the material created during horizontal drilling into material similar to road base and flowable fill. Fortunately for our editorial team, release of the technology coincided with our monthly theme on oilfield waste, and fortunately for the entire Bakken community, it now has access to a process that will change the perception of sustainability in the play.

For his story, “Delivering New Oilfield Waste Strategies,” staff writer Patrick Miller spoke with Nuverra Environmental Solutions Inc. about its new Terraficient process before and after the company officially revealed its involvement in the Bakken, during a press conference at the Capitol attended by Gov. Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness and others.  His story sheds light on Nuverra’s three-year research and roll-out effort to bring Terraficient to the Bakken through a government and industry-led effort, as well as other key issues in the oilfield waste segment of the Bakken play. We are confident it will be well read.

Along with oilfield waste, we also turned our monthly focus to water. Because the topic is broad, we approached the topic with this basic premise: any story on water needs to include input and insight on new management strategies or efficiency gains and cost savings incurred due to new technology. Guided by that premise and push to cover what is new, we were able to track down several unique perspectives from multiple water-linked firms. At first, each’s comments sounded like material we had already covered in the magazine, however, every conversation revealed something new about how water is managed, treated or looked at in the Bakken circa 2015.

On a broader level, the stories on oilfield waste and water contain a facet that the Bakken team discusses or thinks about daily. This month, in talking to oilfield waste experts and water gurus, we noted that common perspectives remain in place over long periods. But, also that any topic—from the mundane to the flashy—we research, recheck or reanalyze will undoubtedly reveal some new process, approach or equipment tweak in development.

Luke Geiver
The Bakken magazine