By A Staff Reporter -
MUSCAT — Petroleum Development Oman’s (PDO) effort in the management of produced water was given a major boost by the inauguration of an innovative project at Nimr oilfield yesterday.
Nimr Reed Beds project was opened at a special ceremony held in Nimr, Wilayat al Jazer, under the auspices of Shaikh Mohammed bin Marhoon al Maamari, State Adviser, as part of the projects that are inaugurated during the Sultanate’s 41th National Day celebrations.
The majority of oil producers all over the world are challenged by the great volumes of water they produce along with the oil — PDO is no exception. “This associated water poses several challenges to all oil producers, and especially when fields reach maturity,” PDO’s Managing Director Raoul Restucci said at the ceremony.
“The produced water is contaminated with oil and other pollutants and much of it has a salinity higher than seawater, making it unusable for domestic or agricultural purposes,” he added.
At the Nimr oilfield in the southern part of its concession area PDO and its partner Bauer and Sarooj implemented an innovative solution to the area’s significant water production. After several years of trials the large-scale Reed Beds project came on stream at the end of 2010, with a second phase now in final completion.
Reed plants naturally absorb oil and other contaminants and a giant water treatment farm measuring 2.4 million square metres of reed beds was constructed. The farm is capable of treating 45,000 cubic metres per day of produced water and phase two will soon increase this to 95,000 m3/day.
“The treated water provides re-use opportunities and reduces deep water disposal costs and associated gas consumption,” said Raoul.
According to the project’s engineers, the venture provides a much lower cost and sustainable solution to a major produced water challenge, and will save an estimated 12 billion cubic feet of gas over the next decade.
Additionally the project results in increased recovery of oil, skimmed from large separation pools. “Over the last nine months of operation the project has collected and returned to the company over $4 million worth of skimmed oil.
Previously, produced water, with oil concentrations of up to 150 parts per million, was injected in deep water disposal wells. After the oil is skimmed, the water is routed by simple gravity through some 2.5 million square metres of reed bed plantations which further remove oil and other contaminants, before reaching the final evaporation ponds, where PDO can extract salt for use in our drilling operations,” concluded Raoul. Moreover the project’s innovative method of preserving the environment was recently recognised when PDO received the Regional Clean Sea Organisation’s Environmental Excellence Award.
“This was preceded by another global award the project achieved earlier in the year. The US-based Global Water Intelligence’s Award classified the project as the best produced water utilisation project in the world for 2010-2011” said PDO’s External Affairs and Communications Manager Suleiman bin Mohammed al Mantheri.
He added, “The project’s model which the company showcased last month in a global conference on Safety and Environment held in Abu Dhabi attracted a lot of interest from various conference participants who approached PDO for more details on the project.”
“The model is now displayed at PDO’s EcOman Centre where the public can also learn more about life styles that can help preserve the environment,” he stated.