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Pilot-scale project for wastewater volume reduction from oil & gas field operations completed

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Qatar University
Since its inception in 1977, Qatar University (QU) continues to serve as Qatar’s primary institution of higher education and has become today a beacon of academic and research excellence in the region.
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  • Pilot-scale project for wastewater volume reduction from oil & gas field operations completed
    Image: Qatar University

Wastewater management remains a global challenge to the oil and gas (O&G) industry. In Qatar, the regulations imposed by Qatar Petroleum require 50% reduction in liquid discharge from all oil and gas processing facilities. Therefore, this project was aimed to address this challenge by implementing the low-energy technology “Osmotic Concentration (OC)” which is based on the natural osmosis phenomenon principles for volume reduction of this wastewater.

ConocoPhillips Global Water Sustainability Center (GWSC) research team demonstrated the proof of concept for the OC process at bench-scale level in 2016. The bench-scale system proved the technology feasibility for 50% volume reduction of wastewater. Therefore, the promising outcomes encouraged scaling up the project into higher level. Consequently, the investigation of OC technology at pilot-scale level is proposed as a joint project between Gas Processing Center (GPC) at Qatar University and ConocoPhillips GWSC. The project named “Osmotic concentration for reducing injected wastewater volumes in Qatar”, launched in 2018 and funded by the Qatar National Research Fund, demonstrated the technical viability of the technology, resulting in 75% reduction of the disposal volume with minimal environmental impact, and at a much lower cost as compared to the state of the art technology that is currently being implemented in the field.

The pilot scale of the project was completed on October 1, 2020, with a virtual meeting organized by the GPC and attended by various managerial and technical dignitaries, including Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdulla Al-Thani, Chief Engineering & Projects Officer, Qatargas; Dr. Khalid Naji, Dean, College of Engineering; Qatar University, Prof. Muftah El-Naas, GPC Director; Todd Creeger President of ConocoPhillips, Qatar; and other dignitaries from Qatar University, Qatargas, and ConocoPhillips. The research team led by Dr. Mustafa Nasser from Qatar University and Dr. Samer Adham from ConocoPhillips GWSC presented the main outcomes of the project and also spoke highly of the project team and the successful demonstration of an emerging technology that has direct application in the State if Qatar. The head of the Qatargas delegation, Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdulla Al Thani, asserted that Qatargas is delighted to be part of this project and look forward to more future collaborations with Qatar University.

In his comment, Dr. Khaled Kamal Naji, Dean, College of Engineering, Qatar University,(QU-CENG) said, "CENG supports all forms of collaboration with Qatargas in the academic, research and community service levels. This collaboration will be added to the series of cooperation initiatives that the college has experienced with Qatargas before. A number of PhD students from Qatargas are currently pursuing their graduate studies at CENG”.
Also, Prof. Muftah El-Naas, GPC Director, highlighted the successful collaboration between the Center at Qatar University and Qatargas, as well as other industrial partners in the State of Qatar.

Todd Creeger, President of ConocoPhillips Qatar, stated “ConocoPhillips is a proud partner in Qatargas and we are pleased to have GWSC collaborate with GPC in this important project in support of capacity building in Qatar”
Attendees congratulated the research team (Rem Jalab, Abdelrahman Awad, Dan Cortes, Mashael Al-Maas, Joel Matar) on their efforts on making the research a success story.