Are We Making Water Systems Too Complex?
- H.L. Bilhartz (Production Profits Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 1958
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 13 - 16
- 1958. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.1.4 Gas Processing, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment
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This paper focuses attention on several widely publicized but questionable production practices. For expediency, conclusions and opinions are given without supporting data or case history detail. These opinions were formed in the course of engineering studies on approximately 200 water floods. While this departure from ordinary literary construction may limit scientific value, it permits wider coverage, hence a broader perspective.
While the views presented may differ from many found in the literature, there is no intent to belittle the work of past authors, whose contributions to science and the oil industry are recognized. These facts, however, do not prevent the present reappraisal of ideas even though some have become well established.
One reason for questioning existing waterflood concepts is to combat complexity. Water handling systems are becoming too complicated. The literature will testify to the existence of this trend; virtually every article proclaims the necessity of complicated plants. So many prejudices and misconceptions have arisen that simple solutions found in ordinary operating techniques are being lost in the mire of complication. Plants are becoming complex and expensive. So-called water treating is approaching a state of impossible execution in an oil field. The economic influence of minor problems is being greatly exaggerated. Expensive chemicals are being added to water with little thought to their over-all effect. It is rare that the need for treatment is proved before it is used. Rarer still is a sound evaluation of its effect. Is this complexity necessary? On the contrary, historical evidence points to the opposite conclusion. Complicated systems have led generally to poor-quality operation. Chemical additives used without discretion have caused as many problems as they have cured.
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