Definition - What does Saltwater Disposal mean?
Saltwater Disposal is a technique used for the disposal of saltwater and brine which are produced along with the crude oil and natural gas during the production process. Saltwater disposal is conducted by oil and gas producers by developing a disposal well, which is known as a saltwater disposal well, abbreviated as SWD. These wells are specifically developed to handle and manage saltwater or oilfield brine.
Petropedia explains Saltwater Disposal
Saltwater is a byproduct produced along with crude oil and natural gas. When hydrocarbons are produced from the reservoir, they are not in their purest form, i.e., they have some impurities such as moisture, water, sand, pebbles, etc., which need to be separated from hydrocarbons. Thus, during oil and gas treatment, chemicals are used and the impurities are separated out. Also, the water is separated and this leftover water is called saltwater or oilfield brine which is hazardous if left on the ground. Thus, as per policies enforced by the Environment Protection Agency on oil and gas organizations, they need to treat the saltwater in a non-environment damaging way. As per EPA policies and regulations, it is mandatory to dispose the saltwater by injecting it through a saltwater disposal well. The saltwater being highly saline is disposed in a way that does not come in contact with underground aquifers. It is disposed beneath the underground porous rocks that are not productive of oil or gas, and sealed above and below by unbroken, impermeable strata.