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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Water reuse: Preserving our most precious resource

  • By
    portrait of Mat Ovenden
    Mat Ovenden, Manager, Communications, M&M
    portrait of Richard Gannon
    Richard Gannon, Global Business Development Manager, Water and Pipeline
  • 15 February 2021

Produced water has created an impending supply risk for oil and gas producers because of escalating costs to manage the wastewater derived from accessing shale gas.

As demand continues to rise for natural gas as a transitional energy source worldwide, the volume of produced water is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years. Volumes are expected to rise even further as gas fields mature and water-to-oil ratios increase.

Existing thermal treatment technologies for high total dissolved solids (TDS) produced water makes treating that water economically challenging for oil and gas producers.  

Simultaneously, access to useable water to support essential health and hygiene needs, food production, and economic development for communities worldwide is becoming more and more scarce.

Sustainable development and environmental resilience are dependent on access to reliable, safe, and clean water, which, in turn, offers the opportunity for communities to thrive.

As a global community, we must shift the way we think about how we access and use our finite water reserves worldwide.

Low Energy Ejector Desalination System (LEEDS)

Our commitment to delivering reusable, clean water at an economically viable cost led to the development of Bechtel’s Low Energy Ejector Desalination System (LEEDS) (patent pending) process.

This thermal water treatment process can treat highly saline aqueous streams such as produced water with salinity ranging from 4% to 20%.

Following rigorous literature reviews, computational modeling, bench-scale testing, and a successful pilot unit test, Bechtel’s LEEDS technology is now available on the market

With a highly efficient ejector, LEEDS can treat or clean produced water for reuse and resale at a lower overall cost, making it a viable financial option for oil and gas producers.

This patented process delivers four key goals for our customers in the oil production and water midstream markets:

  • Reduced costs per barrel of produced water desalination treatment;
  • Efficient, environmentally friendly approach to dealing with produced water generated during oil and gas production​;
  • Reduced volume of produced water that is re-injected into saltwater disposal wells;
  • Eliminates existing clean aquifer water demand for fracking.

LEEDS can transform produced water into four 100% reusable, end-marketable products:​

  • Distilled water (reused in drilling activities, agriculture, and surface water replenishment)​
  • Fertilizer/struvite (agriculture products)​
  • 10-pound brine (multiple industrial applications)​
  • Calcium carbonate for use in agriculture and road construction.

With a wide variety of common applications, the LEEDS technology can support stand-alone wastewater volume reduction and Zero Liquid Discharge (liquid-free waste) processes.

LEEDS is also applicable to other industries that need to treat highly saline aqueous streams, such as industrial byproduct effluent. It can clean water at a cheaper cost than most other conventional solutions, making it a viable financial option for mining operations, industrial customers, and oil & gas producers.

Bechtel is proud to work with its customers and local communities to implement LEEDS as a viable, innovative solution to water scarcity risks for industrial projects.


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