GE aids in produced water treatment for heavy oil recovery facilities

May 12, 2006
To pretreat de-oiled produced water, many SAGD facilities have shifted from conventional methods, using warm or hot lime softening, filtration, and WAC ion exchange, to GE Water's falling film vertical tube evaporators to produce steam generator feed water. This alternative is simpler, more cost-effective, and reliable. It also reduces steam generation system size and complexity as other de-oiling steps are eliminated. A paper on the topic is to be presented at a Calgary conference June 13-15...

GE's Evaporator technology provides high quality boiler feedwater from produced water for SAGD Heavy Oil Recovery facilities.

TREVOSE, PA, May 12, 2006 -- GE Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Company, offers its innovative falling film vertical tube evaporator technology for Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) heavy oil recovery facilities. To pretreat de-oiled produced water, many SAGD facilities have recently shifted from the conventional methods of using warm or hot lime softening, filtration, and weak acid cation (WAC) ion exchange to using falling film vertical tube evaporators to produce steam generator feedwater. This alternative approach to produced water treatment is simpler, more cost-effective, and more reliable. It also reduces the size and complexity of the steam generation system as the lime softener, filtration, WAC exchange systems and other de-oiling steps are eliminated.

The use of falling film vertical tube evaporators is essential in the evaporative approach to produced water treatment and the recovery of high quality boiler feedwater. These evaporators utilize proprietary and patented technology to provide distillate of sufficient quality, allowing them to be used in drum boilers in lieu of once-through steam generators (OTSG). Compared to OTSG, drum boilers require higher purity feedwater, produce blowdown as low as 1-3%, and produce 100% quality steam without the need for external separators. In addition, drum boilers are less expensive and require less electrical energy and natural gas to operate.

The emergence of evaporators, followed by conventional drum boilers as the preferred produced water treatment and steam generation process, evolved over several years of proven performance in the heavy oil recovery industry. Currently, there are approximately 14 produced water evaporators operating or under construction in Alberta, Canada and overseas. There are three installed at the Suncor Firebag Stage 2 facility in Alberta, and a fourth in fabrication. These evaporators operate side-by-side with a "traditional" produced water facility using WLS/WAC. There are also two installed at the Deer Creek Energy (Total) Joslyn Phase II facility, located in northern Alberta, which uses the evaporative produced water treatment process in conjunction with conventional drum boilers. At least a dozen more installations are planned, and construction is anticipated in the next few years.

A paper will be presented on this topic at the Petroleum Society's 7th Canadian International Petroleum Conference in Calgary, AB, Canada, June 13-15, 2006. Authored by W.F. Heins and D.J. Peterson of GE Water & Process Technologies, the paper provides operational facility data, including distillate quality, heat transfer information, fouling rates, cleaning frequencies, and energy and chemical consumption.

GE Water & Process Technologies (, a unit of General Electric, is solving some of the world's most pressing water challenges by providing industrial, agricultural and potable water, while lessening our dependence on fresh water sources. Technologies to accomplish this include desalination, advanced membrane, separation solutions, and water reuse and wastewater management and process technologies. GE delivers value to customers by improving performance and product quality, reducing operating costs and extending equipment life.

Also see: "GE, Dow Jones announce winner of ECOnomics Challenge award"


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