Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Science &Technology: Lithium Can be Mined from Oil & Gas Well Waste Water

Could Lithium Extraction from Produced Water Mitigate the Declining Oil Price? (Oil Pro)

Depleted oil fields can end up producing vast quantities of produced water. At the current depressed oil price, widespread abandonment is already underway, however some of these facilities could become viable economic sources of vital minerals, extracted essentially at no incremental cost, save for treatment and purification.

Oil companies however, could be missing a trick. Produced water can contain appreciable quantities of salts and minerals – some of them very valuable. In the last few years, a race to find and produce Lithium has kicked off, fuelled in large part by the industry’ arch-nemesis – the EV.

South of the Salton Sea in California, where spent geothermal brines contain around 250ppm Lithium, the race is on to extract it for Tesla’s battery mega-factory in Reno. Several players are involved. However, in places like North Dakota, Wyoming, Oklahoma, East Texas and Arkansas, oilfield brines containing up to 700ppm are known to exist.

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