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25,000-bbl/day saltwater disposal well to serve the Eagle Ford

The Fortress Environmental SWD site is located between Waelder and Gonzales in Texas on Highway 97, a quarter-mile south of Interstate 10. In addition to saltwater disposal, the facility offers truck wash and frac tank washout services.
The Fortress Environmental SWD site is located between Waelder and Gonzales in Texas on Highway 97, a quarter-mile south of Interstate 10. In addition to saltwater disposal, the facility offers truck wash and frac tank washout services.

Fortress Environmental Services (FES) has opened a $9.3 million saltwater disposal (SWD) well in Waelder, Texas, to serve oil and gas hydraulic fracturing operations in the Eagle Ford Shale. The El Cruce #1 SWD well can accept 25,000 bbl/day of produced saltwater – more than 190 transport tanker trucks each day – which is pumped to a depth of approximately 8,000 ft.

The El Cruce #1 SWD is deeper and boasts a larger capacity than other SWD wells in the area, Tim Burroughs, FES Founder and EVP of Business Development, said. The volume of saltwater that needs to be disposed has of increased over the past few years as a result of growing activity in the Eagle Ford. Many of the SWD wells that have been developed in the area to meet this demand are what Mr Burroughs characterizes as “mom-and-pops.” These wells can only handle between 3,000-5,000 bbl/day of saltwater. “By noon, they’re full, and drivers are looking for other areas to go,” he said. “By offering a 25,000 bbl/day facility, we don’t fill up, and we don’t have to turn away drivers.”

The well’s depth made it an expensive undertaking for FES. “Drilling deeper, there’s more tubing, there’s more steel to be concerned with, and it requires more tank storage,” Mr Burroughs said. Also adding to the cost are the site’s truck wash and frac tank washout services. In the near future, the site will also include mud recycling facilities, he added.

The site is environmentally friendly and uses sloped concrete wash racks to capture all run-off water. Thousands of gallons of water per day are sent through a three-stage filtration system, which allows 85% of all water to be recycled.

The SWD facility provides four pull-through lanes, 8-min saltwater pump-outs, 30-min truck tank washouts and 10-min fill-ups from an onsite 50,000-bbl freshwater depot. The 8-min pump-out time is unusual, Mr Burroughs said. “I’ve seen it as much as 30 min or even three hours in the Eagle Ford,” he said.

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