Testing of membrane technology for treatment of slop/flowback water at Greater Ekofisk Area (GEA)
Norwegian Techology as has a subsidiary, Norwegian Recycling Services AS (NRS) - our group structure can be seen here:
NRS is a technology provider to the Oil & Gas Industry. The main target is advancing new and improved solutions for the treatment of Produced Water, skip & ship to shore of generated drilling waste (slop, mud and cuttings), or reinjection of Liquid Waste into disposal wells offshore. NRS has ongoing operations offshore and onshore for treatment of contaminated wastewater. Continuous focus on R&D to support the Oil Industry and the demand for more environmentally friendly solutions, has brought forward a new compact treatment technology developed by NRS. The core of the technology consists of ceramic membranes, with new technology for reduced fouling, minimize erosion and increasing overall flux values. ConocoPhillips and Innovation Norway has supported the development of the Patent pending technology, and in 2021 ConocoPhillips provided GEA as offshore test installation for the full-scale treatment unit referred to as the Modular Membrane Unit (MMU).
The MMU is a modular system, with one control skid which can be expanded with several modules for increased capacity. The MMU was built to offshore standard and fitted inside a 12 feet container. The MMU was connected to the existing Liquid Waste System at GEA in February 2021. The Liquid Waste System receives incoming water from regular jetting operations, various drain-systems and flowback water from well stimulations. Standard operational practice is to reinject the volumes into a disposal well.
ConocoPhillips has for several years looked for alternatives to reinjection, and membrane technology has been identified as having the potential to meet ConocoPhillips’ requirements for discharge to sea. The MMU technology tested had systems for monitoring discharge quality, cleaning in place (CIP) and abilities to operate in auto-mode without operator intervention on set parameters. The MMU was in operation for six months at GEA, and results from the testing has been presented. The MMU had an average OiW of 1.7 mg/L (GC-FID) for discharges to sea. The MMU delivered continuous results below ConocoPhillips internal threshold for the test of 5 mg/l throughout.
After the test, membranes were removed from the tested modules and sent to the laboratory for analysis of erosion in order to evaluate the lifespan of technology.
The results from 3rd party lifespan evaluation of technology concluded no erosion or permanent fouling.