Zurich, Switzerland – Power technology company ABB has developed a new method for cleaning oily wastewater, the largest waste product in oil and gas production, making it ready to discharge with no environmental impact.
The company said the process, developed on behalf of a national oil and gas company, has been installed at three oil and gas fields in North Africa.
Oily wastewater, also known as produced water, is brought to the surface from underground formations during oil and gas production. About seven to ten barrels of produced water are generated for each barrel of oil. The water can be highly toxic, and typically contains oil, grease, and high levels of salts, metals and trace elements.
The company said its method is a huge improvement over current water treatment methods used, and is thought to be the only treatment method that meets the rigorous requirements of proposed European legislation on produced water. The system is also compact, uses chemicals that can be easily produced on site using inexpensive base ingredients, and is built on skids and then transported to the site for easy installation.