Oil Skimming Operation


SWDs receive waste water from oil and gas exploration and production activities. Waste water usually contains significant quantities of crude oil entrained in the fluid but the word “significant” can mean a large fraction or a barely perceptible trace. The amount of oil and the ability of the SWD operator to skim the oil will determine the economics of crude oil production from any given SWD. The process can be done many ways and may involve simple settling in the tank battery and enhanced settling by way of a “gunbarrel” separator or a centrifuge. The more common technologies used in the oil field are discussed below.

Skimmed oil sales add to the revenue of many SWDs around the country. Crude oil recovered from… Continue reading

SWDI Investor’s Guide – The Eagle Ford Play

July 1, 2013

Eagle-Ford-Shale-Well-Map (1)

The Eagle Ford Shale Play of south Texas is the site of massive oil and gas investment and activity. Basic statistics of the play are listed below in comparison to similar stats for the Bakken Play. Both states boast that their oil play is the biggest and busiest but no clear winner is in sight. Both are huge plays where billions of dollars are being spent and millions of barrels of oil being produced.

Play Statistics
In order to compare the size and activity of the Eagle Ford Play to other tite-oil plays around the US, please refer to the following chart:



Areal extent

Average Depth

Current Oil Prod

Producing Oil Wells

Commercial Disposal Wells

Active… Continue reading

SWDI Investor’s Guide – The Bakken Boom!

crop bakken 2

A salt water truck heading through town in the Bakken Play area of North Dakota.
Thousands of new oil wells mean more waste water must be managed in a safe manner.

Horizontal drilling of the Bakken/Three Forks has been in high gear for over ten years. These low-permeability (tite-oil) reservoirs can only be economically accessed by long horizontal wells and high-pressure/high-volume fracture treatments. The fracture treatment is vital to well economics but the placement of the well is also important – there are geological “sweet-spots” in the large reservoir. Once the appropriate completion technique is applied, the new well produces at very high rates and operators can make their investments back in a matter of months rather than years. The Bakken play is still… Continue reading

Earthquakes and Best Management Practices

SWDI Investors’ Guide – Earthquakes and Best Management Practices    April 30, 2013



Fairy Tale: A large oil and gas company operates a fully permitted disposal well on the outskirts of a city in the Heartland of America. The well has operated flawlessly for several years taking the company’s waste water and waste water from the city’s water treatment plant. Then the earthquakes start – not large but noticeable – in this city that has never known tremors. The mayor asks the company to stop injecting water, the company complies, the quakes stop. This multi-million dollar well is no longer used and the city and oil company must find other options for handling waste water.

Induced earthquakes have been mentioned several… Continue reading

The Start-Up SWD Company

SWDI Investors’ Guide – The Start-Up SWD Company April 20, 2013

April 20 Blog Dummies

Income, costs, and profits from saltwater disposal (SWD) wells fit into a complex equation. Oil and gas activity, good access, capable disposal well, and an experienced operator can combine to make an attractive start-up waste-water disposal company worthy of significant investment. This current post is a bullet list: business plan, market analysis, operational experience and due diligence issues for the careful investor considering a new start-up company.

New water management companies can start quickly anywhere in the oil patch; the bar-to-entry is low in terms of everything but money and frequently these ventures will seek start-up capital. The new venture and the prospective investor need a check list of important questions that require… Continue reading