UV For Oil & Gas


Aquafine recognizes the challenges faced by oil and gas professionals for the design and construction of water systems for enhanced oil recovery, natural gas well fracturing and produced water reuse or disposal. The production of oil and gas often requires the disinfection of large volumes of water for reuse or injection to ensure against biofouling and plugging of shale formations. Aquafine® UV Disinfection System is mostly used for disinfection. A properly sized UV system is designed to meet a minimum of 99.9% reduction and a minimum of 30,000 micro-watt seconds (or 30mJ/cm2) at one year, the end-of-lamp life (EOL).


With the advent of new horizontal drilling technology, wells are drilled horizontally into shale formations containing natural gas. The wells are then “fractured” using as much as 5 million gallons of water per well.  This process expands the formation increasing the capacity of the well. The water is then either disposed of or disinfected and reused. The cost of disposing of the water is very high as it requires trucking from the site. Traditional disinfection by chemicals is often employed which is expensive and can be hazardous to employees. Disinfection by UV is a chemical free, low cost alternative to biocides or disposal.

Gas wells are sensitive to microbial growth which, if not treated, will plug the gas formation. The UV transmittance of the flow-back water to be disinfected can vary and can be very low pre-treatment with filtration, usually required prior to the UV. Flow-back water systems are typically trailer mounted with the pretreatment systems and the UV.


Large volumes of water are often used in oil production as well. Water is treated and injected into the well and the oil is displaced to the surface. UV is an effective treatment method for microbial control in injection water for oil production, where Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRB) growth can cause plugging of the well, reducing oil production. There are a variety of chemicals used in oil production, for many reasons – polymers, biocides, oxygen scavengers, etc. There can be interference between the chemicals limiting the choices and degree of effectiveness. UV adds no chemical interference and is more effective in disinfection than biocides.