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Hydrocarbon vapor is more commonly found in produced water than one might think, especially when a new well comes online. When a new well flows to the separator for the first time, the operator will spend many days dialing in the operational settings to achieve optimum separation. Until that is accomplished, an abnormal volume of oil will carry over into the produced water tanks. Even once the operational conditions are optimum, hydrocarbon vapors will still entrain in the produced water.

The lighter the hydrocarbon, the increased ability to entrain in produced water and the more “work” that is needed to separate the components. Depending on the oil’s constituents and percentage of each hydrocarbon chain, the evaporation potential for entrained vapors will differ. These are valuable vapors that could be captured and rerouted into a sales line for a profit, instead of wasted into the atmosphere to contribute to greenhouse gasses. Produced water vapors are required to be accounted for in state DEQ permits (i.e. Permit By Rule, New Source Review, General Permit). The only way to estimate those emissions precisely is to directly sample, rather than taking the risk of underestimating those emissions when choosing to take a percentage of production oil vapors to represent those of the produced water emissions.

Environmental Produced Water Tanks

It is in the best interest of the operator/owner to directly measure their produced water storage facilities to accurately account for those air pollutants. The alternative is to blindly accept 1 – 10% of production VOC emission rates to represent produced water VOCs. This works well for low production sites, but is risky for moderate to high production sites when 10% equates to around 6tpy VOCs.

OTA takes the guessing out and diminishes the risks associated with wrongfully accounting for produced water VOC emissions by offering two distinctive measurements: Simulation and Direct Measurements. It is not a guessing game when the VOCs are physically sampled, and it is difficult for a state DEQ (i.e. Texas Commission Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality) to dispute raw data.

Contact OTA Compression’s sales staff at 972-835-6383 for your tank battery PTE testing.

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