Brines produced by oil- and gas-extraction activities, known as “produced water,” are generated in the North Dakota oil fields at a rate of over 1.3 million barrels per day. Currently, this volume is almost entirely injected back into the sub-surface, which represents a growing environmental concern.
When it set out to evaluate the possibility of extracting valuable materials from brines, Triple 8 hired Barr for the conceptual design of a chlor-alkali facility in western North Dakota. The facility would use salt in produced water to manufacture caustic soda and hydrochloric acid—both of which have significant industrial markets in the region.
There are two early challenges for developing such a facility. First, no chlor-alkali facility has ever been designed for brines with the composition of produced waters in the Williston Basin of North Dakota. Barr engineers worked with Triple 8 and the University of North Dakota to characterize the water and form the basis to design the facility. Second, there is no precedent for a chlor-alkali facility in North Dakota, which means the regulatory environment is undeveloped. Barr has identified the state regulatory agencies that would be involved with permitting a chlor-alkali facility. The project is currently pursuing financing.
Senior Mechanical Engineer