A major oil and gas production company contracted Veolia Water Technologies to design, build, operate and maintain a world-class water reclamation facility for produced water treatment. In this steam-flood operation, reinjection of the water was putting unwanted pressure on the formation and cooling the steam used to heat the oil, making it less efficient in oil extraction. To avoid reinjection, advanced water technology known as OPUS® II was required to generate water quality suitable for discharge to the local waterways, a habitat for Steelhead Trout.

The OPUS® II water reclamation facility was designed to treat 50,000 barrels of produced water per day (bpd) and generate high-quality effluent. About 25,000 bpd are used for steam generation. The high-quality water enhances steam purity, making it more efficient in the oil production process. The remainder is discharged to a local creek under an NPDES permit that addresses 100 parameters to ensure discharge water quality. The augmented flow in the creek improves the habitat for aquatic life.

OPUS II technology utilizes Veolia’s Turbomix® reactor and ceramic membranes, followed by its Whittier® ion exchange softener and a reverse osmosis (RO) system operated in double-pass mode at an elevated pH. The pretreatment processes ahead of the RO are designed to reduce free oil, hardness, metals and suspended solids in the feed water. Operating the RO at an elevated pH effectively controls biological, organic and particulate fouling, eliminates scaling due to silica, and increases the rejection of silica, organics and boron.

The water reclamation facility was delivered as a Design-Build-Operate-Maintain project. Under a 12-year agreement, Veolia guarantees the performance of the system for the life of the contract. Key benefits of the system are enhanced oil recovery, improved steam efficiency, high effluent quality for steam generation and other beneficial reuse, and augmented flow in the receiving stream, which preserves the habitat for aquatic life.

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