August 24, 2016 4:19 pm

In the three short years that Gradiant has been active in the produced water treatment market, the MIT spinout has had to adapt to highly varying market conditions. Widely fluctuating oil prices, increased regulatory oversight and evolving oil and gas production techniques have changed the produced water treatment landscape. Suppliers have come and gone, and the remaining firms’ treatment, disposal and service offerings have had to adapt to the changing economics.

Gradiant’s initial focus was to commercialize its proprietary Carrier Gas Extraction (CGE) humidification/ dehumidification brine concentration technology. To accelerate acceptance of its new technology, the company adopted a service approach using build-own-operate agreements that focused on performance rather than the treatment techniques employed.

As the company continued to optimize the performance of its inaugural installation near Midland, Texas, it developed new treatment techniques, including its Selective Chemical Extraction (SCE) pretreatment process for the recycling and re-use of produced water and Free Radical Disinfection (FRD) bacterial removal process for storage pit maintenance and on-the-fly disinfection prior to hydraulic fracturing. Along the way, the company has also been selected to provide a 3.2 MGD (12,000 m3/d) SWRO plant and CGE system for a Chilean mining project.

Building upon the company’s momentum with three previous 10,000 BPD commercial recycling projects, the company has taken the next step in its growth strategy by forming Gradiant Energy Services (GES), a wholly owned subsidiary that will be responsible for its oilfield service business. And the company appears to be off to a good start, winning four new contracts, which will be delivered and commissioned in 2016. According to company co-founder Prakash Govindan, the projects include:

• a 500 bbl/d CGE brine concentration system in the Marcellus shale

• a 1.5 million bbl storage pit disinfection system in the Permian Basin

• a 10,000 bbl/d clean brine recycling system in the Permian Basin

• multiple 100 bbl/min on-the-fly disinfection systems in the Permian Basin

“Although we have tested produced water from the Marcellus shale play, this will be the first brine concentration system we have installed in the region. Using natural gas as the energy source, the CGE unit will concentrate a blended oilfield wastewater having a TDS of up to 100,000 mg/L or more, to over 250,000 mg/L. The final concentrate will be trucked away for disposal,” said Govindan, adding, “The system is designed to be fully automated, remotely monitored using SCADA and will be incrementally expanded to a final buildout capacity of 2,000 bbl/d.”

These latest contracts will be delivered by GES, while Gradiant continues to focus on international projects, supplying industrial treatment systems and developing new technology—including a soon-to-be-announced high salinity membrane technology—to add to its growing industrial treatment process portfolio.

Govindan promises to provide a steady stream of announcements over the next few months.