US Companies Demonstrate New Produced Water Technology

Produced Water Absorbents, Inc., (PWA) and Pride of the Hills Manufacturing Inc. (PHMI), both from Ohio, USA, have demonstrated the ability of Osorb® media technology to be regenerated after the conditioning of natural gas streams to lower the hydrocarbon dew point.

Osorb is a regenerable granular media which removes free, dispersed, emulsified and soluble hydrocarbons and oilfield chemicals from water in both on and offshore applications. The media has a high affinity for organic compounds and no affinity for water.

For the conditioning of natural gas streams, Osorb has demonstrated the ability to capture heavier hydrocarbon components, thus lowering the dew point caused by those components as well as reducing the Wobbe Index, or heating value, of the stream.

Following a number of tests over the past 12 months, both companies have been working together to devise a custom built pressure vessel to retain Osorb while passing natural gas streams through the Osorb media bed in order to lower the hydrocarbon dew point of the gas stream effluent.

For control instruments on well sites a lower hydrocarbon dew point is important, as pressure from slip streams off the natural gas production lines is used to operate those controls on many locations throughout the industry. Heavier hydrocarbons frequently fall out during these control operations and accumulate on the petrochemical diaphragm, causing maintenance issues and related down time resulting in loss of revenue.

For production scenarios, which are larger scale applications, the treatment of the full natural gas stream may enable some operators to sell refined or better quality natural gas to a lower pressure transmission line, thus increasing overall oil, condensate, or gas production.

Early tests confirmed that Osorb could be fully regenerated with heat application and a nitrogen purge for hydrocarbon dew point reduction operations.

In July 2013, during further field tests at the Smith/Slater well pad test site in Hebron, Ohio, PWA and PHMI achieved appropriate temperatures in the Osorb media bed, which allowed for heavier components to desorb from the media and exit with the nitrogen purge. These heavier hydrocarbons, along with the lighter hydrocarbons such as pentane and hexane, were condensed in a series of drips upon exiting with the nitrogen purge.

Additional upgrades are being engineered for further regeneration and repeated capture / regeneration cycles. Once achieved, PWA and PHMI plan on implementing a bespoke system for larger scale applications and producing an efficient system for field use.

As a versatile media, Osorb can be applied in a vessel canister or injected into the flow stream, then recovered and reused. Results are instantaneous and there is no significant loss of performance after multiple capture and regeneration cycles. As a result, it is an ideal tool for cost-efficient and highly effective water treatment and natural gas conditioning.

PWA CEO Neil Poxon said: “Our work with PHMI has achieved fantastic results. They have been as committed and as confident as PWA that regeneration of Osorbis possible. The findings have also shown that the successful development of equipment for small scale use may be replicated for larger applications”.

“The regeneration capability of the Osorb media sets it apart from other water treatment techniques by not only drastically reducing the costs of media replacement, but also decreasing the amount of waste to be transported and disposed.”

PHMI R&D Engineer Thomas Becht said: “PWA’s Osorb is phenomenal at extracting gaseous heavy hydrocarbons which effectively lowers the hydrocarbon dew point of the stream. Osorb works about 500% better by weight than other media on the market. Our work with PWA has opened new possibilities for a majority of the industry we serve”.

“The Smith/Slater well pad was selected for the extremely large hydrocarbon chains (paraffin’s) present and to provide the required information needed to engineer, design and implement a complete regenerative unit for any well-site. I believe the regeneration at the pad has been a success and the testing completed gives me the confidence to have a complete regenerative unit produced and in the field in 2014.”

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