Reliable and secure treated water (ERTC)

The downstream oil and gas industry faces a number of challenges: emissions and environmental targets, changes in supply and quality of feedstock, and minimal time for planned maintenance and shutdowns.

Mark Dyson
Veolia Mobile Water Services

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Article Summary

With ageing and potentially more risk around installed assets, all these factors have made it more difficult to operate continuously, meeting today’s production demands in a reliable and secure way.

Veolia Mobile Water Services’s asset rental may be an attractive solution to support and complement existing assets, ensuring the provision of treated water at all times, even in the event of an emergency or a planned interruption for maintenance or refurbishment. This service provides a unique contingency plan, so that you can have ‘peace of mind’ in the event of an unforeseen or planned requirement and rely on being fully operational with the desired level of security and protection at all times.

An evolving offering
A lot has changed since mobile water services were first introduced into the market. Originally, they were simply ion exchange resins mounted inside trailers, which could be transported to a site to provide a temporary supply of high purity water. However, needs have diversified, generating demand for a broader range of available physical and chemical technologies, from pretreatment by clarification and filtration to reverse osmosis, absorption, ultrafiltration and ancillary equipment.

The modular design allows a variety of process configurations to be combined, making it possible to treat a town’s mains, borehole, river and reservoir water, and even wastewater resources.

The equipment’s portability enables it to be positioned to make the best use of the available space, eliminating or reducing the need for building infrastructure to house it. Any number of units can be operated in parallel or in series to provide the required flow rate. In addition, these modular units can be easily exchanged over time for the latest, updated technology, ensuring that a company’s water treatment systems remain at the cutting edge and benefit from the most cost-effective, available solution from its mobile water services supplier.

Emergency provision
Companies can benefit from mobile water services in the event of emergencies. Business continuity is defined as “the capability of the organisation to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident” (Source: ISO 22301:2012).Unplanned downtime affects reputation and credibility. It results in loss of revenue and increased pressure on the plant to meet production quotas once it becomes operational.

Typical emergency water treatment plant disruptions include defective equipment or controls, failure of the permanent water treatment plant, changes to the raw water supply, and downstream equipment failures or issues. A temporary water treatment system is a good solution in an emergency and can sustain a continuous supply of treated water for all unanticipated scenarios. Having a reliable plan in times of disaster is critical, and mobile water services are helping companies to develop these plans so that they can respond quickly and effectively when a water-related emergency does arise.

Case study: A leading international oil and gas company was experiencing trouble at one of its refineries – a contaminated condensate return was having a negative impact on the steam cooling process. The next planned shutdown was not scheduled until 2021, so the company required a four-year temporary solution for condensate polishing. A framework agreement for rapid and flexible asset deployment had been developed with Veolia Mobile Water Services, which was able to step in and provide a containerised solution delivering up to 70 m3/h of treated water with a conductivity of <0.1 µS/cm. This intervention avoided costly downtime, and the refinery now benefits from 100% reuse of its condensate.
Planned maintenance and turnarounds

Many downstream oil and gas facilities may need to plan for maintenance of existing water systems, and mobile water services can be brought in to cover equipment servicing, ensuring that production or business processes can continue and avoiding costly downtime. In some instances, a facility may need to cope with seasonal or unexpected changes to its raw water supply. For example, bacterial and algal growth, or increased levels of suspended solids during a period of high rainfall, can lead to reduced throughput and long-term damage to existing equipment.
Refineries will often schedule turnarounds on a four-year cycle, which involves a total suspension of operational activities. A turnaround that exceeds its timeline or budget can be financially disastrous, so it is essential that an efficient, reliable water supply is available as needed. In these instances, mobile water services can be brought in to support all maintenance and cleaning activities.

Case study: A multinational oil and gas company had scheduled a turnaround, and during the subsequent start-up phase the refinery needed an extra backup supply of demineralised water – 100 m3 /h in operation and 100 m3 /h in standby – running in parallel to its own demineralised water plant. Veolia Mobile Water Services provided a four-trailer configuration to guarantee the water supply and meet the water specifications, including a conductivity of <0.1 µS/ cm and <10 ppm of SiO2. This short-term intervention offered a reliable and secure backup which, as a plan and agreement was already in place, was able to offer fast deployment and commissioning.

Multiyear Service
Veolia Mobile Water Services offers pay- as-you-go multiyear contracts, which may help to improve financial planning, thanks to predictable, regular payments that are covered by the operational budget, removing the need to raise capital. A number of organisations are choosing long-term hire in instances where capital investment in a permanent plant may not meet their requirements, for reasons such as payback over the lifetime of the project.

There are numerous benefits that mobile water services can bring to the downstream oil and gas industry. As awareness grows, we can expect to see more mobile water services being implemented throughout the industry, supporting financial planning, ensuring business continuity, and helping to maintain resilient and effective water treatment plants.

Did you know Veolia offers pay-as-you-go multiyear contractswhich may help to improve financial planning?

This short article originally appeared in the 2018 ERTC Newspaper, produced by PTQ / DigitalRefining.

For more information contact: mark.dyson@veolia.com

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