ANAEROBIC BIOLOGICAL TREATMENT OF PRODUCED WATER

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During the production of oil and gas, large amounts of water are brought to the surface and must be disposed of in an environmentally sensitive manner. This is an especially difficult problem in offshore production facilities where space is a major constraint. The chief regulatory criterion for produced water is oil and grease. Most facilities have little trouble meeting this criterion using conventional oil-water separation technologies. However, some operations have significant amounts of naphthenic acids in the water that behave as oil and grease but are not well removed by conventional technologies. Aerobic biological treatment of naphthenic acids in simulated-produced ... continued below

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18 pages

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Gallagher, John R. July 31, 2001.

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Description

During the production of oil and gas, large amounts of water are brought to the surface and must be disposed of in an environmentally sensitive manner. This is an especially difficult problem in offshore production facilities where space is a major constraint. The chief regulatory criterion for produced water is oil and grease. Most facilities have little trouble meeting this criterion using conventional oil-water separation technologies. However, some operations have significant amounts of naphthenic acids in the water that behave as oil and grease but are not well removed by conventional technologies. Aerobic biological treatment of naphthenic acids in simulated-produced water has been demonstrated by others; however, the system was easily overloaded by the large amounts of low-molecular-weight organic acids often found in produced waters. The objective of this research was to determine the ability of an anaerobic biological system to treat these organic acids in a simulated produced water and to examine the potential for biodegradation of the naphthenic acids in the anaerobic environment. A small fixed-film anaerobic biological reactor was constructed and adapted to treat a simulated produced water. The bioreactor was tubular, with a low-density porous glass packing material. The inocula to the reactor was sediment from a produced-water holding pond from a municipal anaerobic digester and two salt-loving methanogenic bacteria. During start-up, the feed to the reactor contained glucose as well as typical produced-water components. When glucose was used, rapid gas production was observed. However, when glucose was eliminated and the major organic component was acetate, little gas was generated. Methane production from acetate may have been inhibited by the high salt concentrations, by sulfide, or because of the lack, despite seeding, of microbes capable of converting acetate to methane. Toluene, a minor component of the produced water (0.1 g/L) was removed in the reactor. Batch tests were conducted to examine naphthenic acid biodegradability under several conditions. The conditions used were seed from the anaerobic reactor, wetland sediments under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, and a sterile control. The naphthenic acid was from a commercial source isolated from Gulf Coast petroleum as was dosed at 2 mg/mL. The incubations were for 30 days at 30 C. The results showed that the naphthenic acids were not biodegraded under anaerobic conditions, but were degraded under aerobic conditions. Despite poor performance of the anaerobic reactor, it remains likely that anaerobic treatment of acetate, toluene, and, potentially, other produced-water components is feasible.

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18 pages

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OSTI as DE00791058

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  • Other Information: PBD: 31 Jul 2001

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  • Report No.: FC26-98FT40320--23
  • Grant Number: FC26-98FT40320
  • DOI: 10.2172/791058 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 791058
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc715315

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • July 31, 2001

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  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • March 11, 2016, 12:34 p.m.

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Gallagher, John R. ANAEROBIC BIOLOGICAL TREATMENT OF PRODUCED WATER, report, July 31, 2001; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc715315/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.