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National ENERGY GLOBE Award Qatar 2019
Produced and process water (PPW) generated during natural gas extraction are disposed of by deep well injection or treated with advance technologies for reuse. To minimize environmental risk from those options, forward osmosis (FO) was applied as an “osmotic concentration” process to reduce PPW volumes using brines and seawater as draw solutions (DS). Forward osmosis (FO) is an emerging membrane technology for water treatment based on natural osmosis
Water management is one of the key global challenges faced by the oil & gas industry. It involves treating both produced water, which is coproduced during gas extraction, and process water which is generated as a byproduct during oil and gas processing. Those wastewater streams, produced and process water (PPW) from gas fields, are typically low in salinity (less than 5,000 mg/L).
Experiments were conducted using commercially available flat sheet (FS) membranes and hollow fiber (HF) membranes developed by Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (Figure 3). Those were one of the first thin film composite forward osmosis HF membranes developed worldwide and they were granted the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW). The readily available draw solution (brine from desalination plants) is discharged without water recovery and the relative low salinity feed.
The application of forward osmosis (FO) as volume reduction process for PPW from gas fields is unique and to our knowledge this is the first field/lab qualification within the gas processing industry. The research team filed a patent application on the process. Innovative hollow fiber FO membranes were used for cost–efficient validation of the concept using synthetic and real PPW. Multiple peer reviewed papers and conference proceedings were published