Techouse delivers 1,300-tonne water treatment module for Arctic oil producer

June 10, 2020
Sulfate removal unit will help protect production wells for Equinor's Johan Castberg subsea development

STAVANGER, Norway — The Norwegian technology company Techouse has passed its biggest test to date — and barely avoided corona delays. The technology company have completed the development of an all-in-one lightweight water treatment module using membrane filtration technology.

Three years after the Stavanger-based company Techouse started work on Front End Engineering & Design (FEED) on the sulfate removal unit (SRU) the module has been completed without incidents and on schedule. The system will help protect production wells for Equinor's Johan Castberg subsea development in the Barents Sea.

A new industry standard?

The sulphate removal technology provided by Techouse will remove the sulfate present in seawater before it's injected into the reservoir, reducing the potential for sulfate scaling. The compact solution consists of three major filtration systems combined in one unit with the capacity to treat more than 180,000 barrels of seawater per day, which corresponds to the expected daily oil production from Castberg.

"For Techouse, the development of this module for Castberg is of strategic importance. Delivering such a comprehensive project on time and budget takes our company to the next level. We see the opportunity for a new industry standard in water treatment technologies, and we expect to see other operators adopt this solution," says Managing Director of Techouse, Svein Helge Pettersen.

The new design provides a compact and space-saving solution for Equinor. The 1,300-tonne module is nevertheless one of the larger components to be delivered to Castberg ship, taking up half the width of the vessel that is 55 meters wide and 295 meters long.

"The module is designed to operate in harsh weather conditions. Johan Castberg is located in an Arctic climate about 240 kilometers northwest of Hammerfest, which demands extreme quality materials. The module is, among other things, prepared for the extreme cold with the possibility of heating if needed," Pettersen explains.

Early testing

The SRU consists of over 100 sequences, making it one of the most complex modules on Castberg. Techouse and Equinor are now in the process of testing the control sequences to remove any teething troubles before the module leaves the yard in Egersund this fall.

Malene Kommedal (pictured above), who is responsible test lead for Techouse explains: "A significant aspect of this delivery is the combination of three filtration systems in one compact module, controlled by one system. It is critical to have enough time to verify the performance of the solution at the yard, which allows us to make any alterations before the unit is shipped. That's especially important when testing new technology and can reduce potential delays before the start-up of production."

Barely avoided the corona-effect

The outbreak of the coronavirus could have caused significant delays in delivery. As a consequence of the pandemic, Aker Solutions decided to demobilize around 700 hired workers at the yard in Egersund.

"The pandemic meant that foreign subcontractors had to leave the yard on short notice. Fortunately, the project had come far enough that the outbreak didn't cause any project delays. Had this happened a month earlier, we would have seen a significant impact," Pettersen says.

Malene Kommedal is pleased with the project so far. "The building of the module has been an optimal project. At most 250 people have worked on the project, and it is a big puzzle to get everyone pulling in the same direction. Despite the challenging situation we are in, we managed to finalize the module on time, and above all safely. Seeing the module today is particularly gratifying," Kommedal says.

About Techouse

Techouse (formerly Halvorsen TEC), established in 2003, is a complete EPCIC supplier of water treatment packages, process plants, waste heat systems, gas turbine support systems and associated engineering services to a wide range of international oil and gas companies. Techouse is headquartered in Stavanger, with locations in Oslo and Langhus.