Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and Chevron Technology Ventures, a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc. (CTV), announced a new agreement to advance solutions to produced water issues. Under the Cooperation Agreement, DOE will provide technical expertise to CTV on the Chevron Tech Challenge for Produced Water, which seeks to develop cost-effective produced water management solutions applicable to U.S. oil and gas extraction.

Produced water refers to the water that is co-produced with oil and natural gas from both conventional and unconventional (shale and tight) resources. When treated, produced water can be reused to offset water needed for many purposes, including agricultural use, mineral extractions and processing, and reuse in oil and gas production. Currently, treatment of produced water is challenging for many reasons, including difficult and/or expensive technologies for processing this water, and transporting the water for treatment. Therefore, it is often more cost-effective to dispose of produced water than to treat and use it. As a part of its comprehensive treatment program, the current Chevron Tech Challenge seeks to find technologies that can serve as alternatives to current disposal approaches.

Under the Cooperation Agreement, DOE’s FE will:

  • Share with CTV relevant technical expertise to inform CTV’s selection of the prize winner, which could include advice on technology, current market and technology trends, and other technical topics. Only public information will be shared by FE under the Cooperation Agreement.
  • Provide subject matter experts to help answer technical questions that may arise during CTV’s judging process.
  • Seek out other cooperative opportunities with CTV over time, which may include collaboration under a broader, water-related Grand Challenge DOE is currently developing.

“Collaboration between FE and industry is critical to the continued development of cost-effective solutions to oil and natural gas challenges,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. “The Department’s cooperation with Chevron Technology Ventures will provide important perspectives and ideas for overcoming produced water challenges.” Through this cooperation, DOE and CTV agree to share technical expertise and related information, keep each other apprised of related efforts, and seek out other potential collaboration opportunities over time.

While DOE may provide technical expertise in the review of applications, it will have no role in judging the applications or determining prize winners. FE will inform the development of additional elements of the Chevron Tech Challenge prize, which could also include advice on technology, current market and technology trends, and other technical topics. All proposals in response to the Chevron Tech Challenge must be submitted to CTV. For additional information or to submit an entry, visit the project website at Chevron Tech Challenge.