The use of heavy polymer flooding for chemically enhanced oil recovery is becoming more important as more focus is being put into the economics of extracting oil from reservoirs. The use of heavy polymer flooding can potentially create unique challenges for produced water treatment due to both the increase in viscosity and lack of charge neutralization of the particles. This potentially causes emulsions to form along with neutrally buoyant droplets and suspended solids. This makes treatment with traditional produced water treatment technologies, such as gravity settling, flotation, or walnut shell filtration, very difficult.

Siemens has developed PerforMediaâ„¢ oil removal media, which is synthetic and capable of removing 5x more oil before requiring a backwash than standard walnut shell media. After extensive testing on produced water containing no EOR chemicals, Siemens partnered with SNF, a major chemical supplier, to test the impact of heavy HPAM polymers on produced water treatment. Previous studies have shown that conventional water treatment technologies lose significant efficiency in the presence of heavy polymer. However, PerforMedia has shown the ability to treat a viscous produced water and deliver an effluent that is suitable for re-injection with minimal upstream pre-treatment.

Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
Shane Wiercinski
R&D Project Manager
Siemens Water Solutions
Rothschild, Wisconsin