With the upstream oil and gas sector seeking new water treatment technologies as companies move into deeper waters, Brazil’s state-owned oil and gas company Petrobras has approved General Electric’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 says the Petrobras endorsement is a significant one for GE as well as the broader oil and gas industry as upstream companies look to Petrobras as the leader in deploying enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and sulfate reducing unit (SRU) technologies.
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 also has exceptional fouling resistance due to its three-layer membrane design and smooth surface. It can be optimized for use in seawater while providing superior hydrodynamics, resulting in longer membrane life.
For example, GE’s new SWSR membrane significantly exceeded Petrobras’ required sulfate removal threshold of 99.5 percent with reported removal levels exceeding 99.8 percent.
Petrobras verified the technical quality and high performance of GE’s new SWSR membrane, based on the high sulfate rejection (above 99.5 percent). This was evaluated during a five-month pilot of assisted operation with 8-inch elements, each 440 square feet, where it reached and even surpassed Petrobras’ standard for this qualification.
GE introduced its SWSR membrane in May. GE says the membrane positions it as the only company to offer chemicals and membranes for the Brazilian and global SRU markets, providing operators with a single source of contact for chemicals, membranes and services.
Earlier this month GE announced that Southern California Edison is expanding its desalination plant on California’s Catalina Island using GE’s desalination technology that will convert seawater into clean drinking water.