Petrobras adopts nanofiltration membrane for sulfate removal after trial

Sept. 21, 2015
Brazil’s state-owned oil and gas company Petrobras has approved GE’s new seawater sulfate removal (SWSR) nanofiltration membrane for use in water injection applications regarding sulfate removal...

Brazil’s state-owned oil and gas company Petrobras 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.

During this pilot study, the SWSR membrane significantly exceeded Petrobras’ required sulfate removal threshold of 99.5% with reported removal levels exceeding 99.8%.

This was evaluated during a five-month pilot of assisted operation with 8” elements, each 440 square feet, where it reached and even surpassed Petrobras’ standard for this qualification.

GE said: “It also has exceptional fouling resistance due to its three-layer membrane design and smooth surface. It can be optimised for use in seawater while providing superior hydrodynamics, resulting in longer membrane life.”

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 minimise operating pressures. It also offers a physical barrier for any suspended particles including bacteria, pyrogens and colloids.

GE added that the membrane 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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