NEL’s recent work on issues related to produced water, has highlighted three key areas of industry interest. These will be taken forward as focus areas for future research and collaborations, including potential JIPs. They are the development of subsea water quality measurement devices, on-line monitoring for regulatory reporting purposes and testing of water cut measurement devices.
“These are areas of work that have been highlighted through our Produced Water Club, through the workshop events and webinars we run and through past JIPs,” says Environmental Consultant, Dr. Ming Yang. “The development of solutions in these areas will help the oil and gas industry move forward more sustainably while delivering benefits worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
According to Ming, subsea separation and produced water re-injection (PWRI) or discharge is a key enabling technology for oil exploration and production. However, much of the technology that has been developed to measure water quality in such applications needs further development.
“We have seen significant industry interest in R&D in this area,” says Ming. “However, most of the technologies that have been developed still only have a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 3. There is a definite need to continue development, to bring the technology fully into the field.”
With respect to on-line monitoring, Ming explains that there has been no case in the whole of the North Sea where results from an online oil-in-water monitor have been utilised for reporting purpose. “With the development of subsea applications and unmanned installations,” he says. “There is a clear a need to make this happen.”
“We’ve highlighted a real need to assess industry issues linked to the testing of online, continuous water cut measurement devices,” says Ming. “Industry trends show that such devices are having to measure higher water cuts at lower flow rates, which can affect measurements. This and other challenges need to be properly understood and addressed.”