OIW: Reducing Overboard Discharge Case Study
Produced water is an unwanted and potentially toxic by-product from the production of the world’s hydrocarbon energy reserves and is a multi-billion dollar perpetual headache for operators around the world. This is especially true for the industry’s more mature fields and production equipment, much of which is still in service, well beyond and outside its design life and specification.
Historically in many parts of the world, produced water has been discharged overboard in offshore locations and provided that local regulatory limits were observed and as long as a sheen was not observable, it was generally deemed acceptable. As the world has become more environmentally aware, specifications for environmental discharge limits have become evermore stringent. Non-compliance with the applicable regional discharge limits of oil-in-water (OIW) in produced water has the potential for lost production and financial penalties from non-compliance.
This paper details a case study where an oil producer wanted to reduce a platform’s overboard discharge of OIW from 40ppm to 30ppm to comply with newly mandated limits. Oil Plus was contracted to audit the oil producer’s production platform, and detail ways to improve the overboard discharge to comply with the new OIW discharge limits. The review of the platform audit and data collected, along with observed problems is detailed in this paper, along with recommendations made for improving the overboard produced water quality.