The latest from the desk of ND's editor.

Tape Gets Redder for Oil and Gas Drilling

Bureau of Land Management director Bob Abbey, who has been called upon also to serve as acting director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), has announced that, before drilling new oil and gas wells on the Outer Continental Shelf, operators will be required to submit additional information about potential risks and safety considerations in their plans for exploration or development. Exploration plans and development plans that already have been approved by MMS, including those that were approved using categorical exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act, will need to be resubmitted before any drilling of new wells.

“The moratorium on deepwater drilling that Secretary Salazar has ordered is a prudent step that will allow time for the Presidential Commission to complete its review of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and for immediate safety and environmental reforms to be implemented,” says Abbey. “Pulling back exploration plans and development plans, and requiring them to be updated with new information, is consistent with this cautious approach, and will ensure that new safety standards and risk considerations are incorporated into those planning documents. In the long term, we also need Congress to approve the administration’s proposal to fix the law that requires MMS to review exploration plans within a 30-day mandatory deadline.”

Director Abbey’s directive, which will be communicated to operators and lessees through a Notice to Lessees (NTL), will establish separate requirements for deep-water and shallow-water exploration and development plans.

A 6-month deep-water drilling moratorium implemented by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar currently prohibits drilling of new oil and gas wells in water depths greater than 500 feet. Director Abbey’s announcement today makes clear that after the deep-water drilling moratorium, any new drilling must be under an exploration plan or development plan that takes into account new safety and environmental.

Oil and gas operations in waters less than 500 feet deep may move forward if they satisfy new safety and environmental requirements identified in Secretary Salazar’s report to the president. Director Abbey’s announcement today makes clear that any new drilling in shallow water must be under an exploration plan or development plan that includes information demonstrating compliance with the new safety standards.

Layne Christensen Acquires Intevras Technologies

Layne Christensen Co. has announced the acquisition of Intevras Technologies LLC, a privately held holding company of Industrial Water Treatment Processes, located in Austin, Texas. The acquisition purchase price was $5.5 million, plus future incentives, and was funded from Layne Christensen’s current cash balances.

Intevras focuses on the treatment, filtration, handling and evaporative crystallization and disposal of industrial wastewaters. With two primary technologies, the EVRAS Evaporative System and the INTEGRA Automated Disk Filtration System, Intevras’ recent activities in the Barnett and Marcellus Shales positions it as one of the leaders in the treatment and disposal of heavy brine waters in the oil and gas markets.

Greg Aluce, Layne division president, says, “The INTEGRA filter provides solids separation to the five micron particle size, and the EVRAS technology provides mobile evaporative reduction, concentration and solidification of industrial waste streams. The capability of the INTEGRA filter to remove solids to such low levels without changing media, combined with the ability of the EVRAS units to employ waste heat in the evaporative process, is a huge plus. Additionally, a small footprint combined with mobility allow this technology to be applied to shale gas water treatment, as well as power, food and beverage and municipal applications dealing with re-use and waste minimization. This acquisition is strategically aligned with Layne’s focus on expanding our water treatment offerings and residuals management capabilities.”

Thomas Lucario, CEO of Intevras, comments, “This is an exciting time for all of us at Intevras. With James Harris, the founder and inventor of our technology, I look forward to being part of the Layne Christensen family. The resources, experience and customer base that Layne provides will help us expand our market base not only in the oil and gas industry but in other industries as well. Our goal is to make Layne the leader in Zero Liquid Discharge applications.”

Layne Christensen Co.’s water services include single-source, full-service capabilities encompassing expertise in geosciences, water well drilling, pumps, water and wastewater transmission infrastructure and water and wastewater treatment. The company offers advanced treatment technologies for the removal of arsenic, iron, manganese, radionuclides, perchlorate, nitrate and volatile organic contaminants.

Residential Treatment Market Shows Tremendous Growth

Research experts Verify Markets recently released a report on the global residential water treatment market. The market is expected to show remarkable growth, especially in Asia and Latin America. The key factors driving sales in these regions are increasing awareness levels about poor water quality, rising disposable incomes, GDP growth, higher visibility through change in distribution channels, industrialization and urbanization.

Within Latin America, multinational companies, such Whirlpool and Philips, have recently entered in this market.

The United States, Western Europe and Japan are ahead of the rest of the world in terms of maturity and technical expertise. In 2009, the largest markets were Japan, United States, China, South Korea and India, with revenues of $2.22 billion, $1.85 billion, $1.13 billion, $716 million and $588.1 million, respectively. China and India are expected to see a double-digit growth over the next 7 years.

The United States and Western Europe were the largest markets for point-of-entry (POE) products in 2009. Verify Markets forecasts that market revenue for POE products will remain flat in the coming years. The largest markets for point-of-use systems currently are in the United States, Japan, South Korea and China. Countertop units are the most popular units in most regions, globally. Followed closely are under-the-sink units.

Regional markets tend to be dominated by local participants, with the exception of U.S.-based Amway. For example, WoongjinCoway and ChunghoNais dominate the South Korean market, and the companies do not operate anywhere else. In countries like India and China, a large population base still is poor, and cannot afford ultra-violet or reverse-osmosis water purifiers. In order to cater to this lower-middle class population, several companies are launching gravity-based water purifiers. One such example is the launch of Aquasure by Eureka Forbes. According to Eureka Forbes, Aquasure, the bromine-based purifier, has been able to enter close to half a million homes in 2009. Similarly, Tata Group launched an affordable water purifier known as Tata Swach, which requires no energy or running water to operate.

A complete analysis of select markets within the global residential water treatment market can be obtained at www.verifymarkets.com. Regional and country-specific studies also are available.

TEI's Open House

Check your calendars; Oct. 5, 6 and 7 are the dates for TEI Rock Drill’s annual open house, an event that is as much fun as it is informative. The seminar presentations always are timely and pertinent; and the shop and outdoor demonstrations are just like contractors like them – very hands-on. It’s an action-packed 3 days; anyone who’s attended past events will attest to the value of the programs and the enjoyment of the festivities. Get all the details by calling 800-777-3745.