High Temperature De-Oiling of SAGD Produced Water

Authors: Vicki Lightbown (Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions), Wade Bozak, Brenda Bozak (RJ Oil Inc.), Nathan Miller (Pengrowth Energy), Heather Herring (Laricina Energy Ltd.)

Source: This paper was prepared for presentation at the World Heavy Oil Congress held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, March 23 – 27, 2015

Water use and greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta’s oil sands are growing provincial and global concerns. For this reason, steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operators are looking for alternative technologies to increase water recycle rates while minimizing the greenhouse gas footprint of the water treatment process.

In 2013, RJ Oil Inc. (RJ), in collaboration with Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES), Pengrowth Energy and Laricina Energy, undertook a five month pilot plant trial to evaluate its novel de-oiling technology configured for high temperature, high pressure operation at a SAGD facility. Recylced water is typically cooled to approximately 80°C to 90°C for treatment. The study’s objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of the RJ de-oiling technology at elevated temperature (>120°C). It is expected that not cooling and re-heating the water during the course of its treatment will have significant cost and energy savings for SAGD water treatment.

The pilot was successfully completed. The technology was able to de-oil produced water at high temperatures (120°C to 135°C) and high pressures (550 kPag). Treated produced water containing an average of less than 20 ppm oil was achieved during testing after three stages of de-oiling followed by filtration regardless of the inlet feed oil content.

To realize the full energy savings of high temperature treatment, complementary polishing and hardness and silica removal technologies that operate above 120°C need to be identified.

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