The world market for clarifiers, centrifuges and cyclones to purify liquids will exceed $7.5 billion next year. The fastest growing segment will be treatment of shale oil and gas wastewater. This is the conclusion of the McIlvaine Company in the continually updated Sedimentation and Centrifugation World Markets.
The drilling activity extracting gas and oil from shale has put the U.S. on a trajectory to become the largest oil producer. This activity results in the flowback of injected fracturing fluid during the initial drilling and then the continuing extraction of produced water during the entire campaign.
There is considerable use of plate settlers, cyclones and even centrifuges to purify this water for reuse. The option to dispose of this water in deep wells is becoming less popular due to cost and regulatory restrictions. In addition, in certain regions of the U.S., water scarcity dictates the reuse option.
There are two approaches. One is mobile treatment. This works well for the initial treatment of fracturing flowback but does not address the produced water which needs to be handled on a continuous basis. The other option is centralized treatment. In North America, well over a dozen centralized wastewater treatment facilities servicing shale oil and gas drilling are now either up and producing, or in development.
The shale gas and oil extraction activity is increasing worldwide. China, Mexico and Australia are among the top ten countries in terms of shale resources but which have water stress problems.
A number of companies provide sedimentation equipment and services. Equipment providers include Hydrasep, Thermo Energy, Anguil, Evoqua, Westech, Veolia, Severn Trent, Kroff and PWTech, Kroff Well Services and Multi Chem. Service provide chemicals needed to aid in separation of the contaminants.
Picture: Sedimentation and Centrifugation Market ($ Millions) (Image: McIlvaine Company)