Solving Oil Water Separator Problems

Produced Water Treatment Success at Salt Water Disposal Well

Many of the produced water treatment technologies currently in use have their roots in the early 1900s. It was certainly better than simply dumping the produced water on the surface. The use of gunbarrels and other oilfield water treatment systems have made a lot of difference in the treatment of produced water. They are still not efficient enough to do a really good job of removing the oil from the produced water.

In 2014, MSR introduced a new type of produced water treatment system when we provided three large systems for removing residual oil from saltwater before it is injected into a disposal well. This produced water treatment process utilizes our coalescing media to capture the residual oil in the water.  We recently contacted one of our customers and the following is their response:

“Those things work really well and pay for themselves quickly especially when placed in a temporary situation like we had.  The one we had captured over 6,000 bbls of oil in less than six weeks.  At $90/bbl which is about what the price was then, that is a $540,000 return on a $125,000 investment in 6 weeks.  That is pretty good even by our standards. “

Oilfield Produced Water Treatment

Produced Water Treatment System outputs clean and oil free water overflowing from the water weir into the outlet end of the oil water separator.

This type of water injection treatment , removing the oil from the water before it is directed to the disposal well has many advantages:

  • The captured oil can be sold, and may sometimes constitute a large amount of oil and therefore substantial amount of money to be made.
  • Because the oil has been removed, there is less plugging of the final filter prior to the injection well, saving money on maintenance expenses, filter cartridges, and used filter cartridge disposal.
  • The separation system, by removing almost all of the oil, eliminates the possibility of substantial amounts of oil entering the well. Filter cartridges are designed for removing solid particles and are not designed for removing oil droplets, so if some really small droplets escape the upstream system, they can pass through the filter cartridges and enter the disposal strata. Because the water has been exposed to air and the surface bacteria, there can be substantial bacterial growth in the disposal zone in the vicinity of the well. This can eventually cause plugging and require additional maintenance. MSR oil water separators greatly reduce filtration costs and improve maintenance efficiency.
  • At today’s lower oil prices, it’s necessary to do everything we can to make a profit, and the combination of capturing oil that can be sold and lowering maintenance and filter costs can help.

About the Author

Kirby Mohr is the founder of MSR which is the most technical of the oil water separator companies. As an engineer, he goes beyond supplying oil water separators. He offers advice to ensure that the oil water separators provided will do the separation task you need done.

Produced water treatment system consultations available. Call 918-299-9290 or contact MSR for more information.

Additional Produced Water Treatment Resources

our detailed technical paper, presented at the International Petroleum Environment Conference. This paper describes this produced water treatment system application.