Petrobras taps GE for seawater removal solution

Offshore staff

TREVOSE, PennsylvaniaPetrobras has approved GE’s new seawater sulfate removal (SWSR) nanofiltration membrane for use in water injection applications regarding sulfate removal.

The decision came after GE performed a pilot study of the SWSR membrane based on Petrobras specifications.

GE’s SWSR membrane removes sulfate to drastically reduce scale and corrosion in the injection well, which can reduce oil recovery and plug the well. It features fouling resistance due to its three-layer membrane design and smooth surface. It can be optimized for use in seawater while providing hydrodynamics, which the company says can result in longer membrane life.

According to GE, the new SWSR membrane exceeded Petrobras’ required sulfate removal threshold of 99.5%, with reported removal levels exceeding 99.8%. Petrobras verified the technical quality and performance of GE’s new SWSR membrane, based on the high sulfate rejection. This was evaluated during a five-month pilot of assisted operation with 8-in. elements, each 440 sq ft (40.8 sq m), where it reached and surpassed Petrobras’ standard for this qualification.

GE introduced its SWSR membrane in May 2015 at May’s Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

Yuvbir Singh, general manager, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water, said “Offshore oil producers use injection water to flood the field and force oil to the producing wells, but if the water is of poor quality, it causes scale and hydrogen sulfide that plugs and sours the field. Our pilot study for Petrobras shows the SWSR membrane provides operators with excellent sulfate removal and minimizes scale formation to help them optimize production.”

The new SWSR series is an advancement of GE's DK series nanofiltration membrane and provides a high transmission of sodium chloride into the permeate water to minimize operating pressures. It also offers a physical barrier for any suspended particles including bacteria, pyrogens and colloids.

GE’s new membrane can be retrofitted into existing systems or used in new systems. The new SWSR membrane also can be used in conjunction with GE’s existing reverse osmosis membranes in order to provide water for low-salinity flooding, polymer flooding, and other EOR methods.


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