Treating Oil Field Produced Water
SQU researchers have applied direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) for the treatment of oil-field produced water.
This technique could help increase the production of desalinated water and reduce the risk of depleting groundwater reserves, as well as protecting them from contamination by discarded water.
The study was conducted by Dr. Muhammad Al-Abri, Dr. Suleiman Al-Obaidani and Engineer Moza Al-Salmi. The obtained results indicated the great potential of DCMD to treat hypersaline oil-field produced water with an overall rejection of salts higher than 99.9%, and that of total organic carbon (TOC) greater than 93.3%. This was due to the presence of volatile organic compounds in oil-field water. A simple washing of the membrane with de-ionized water was found to be an effective method for cleaning the membrane and restoring the permeate flux, indicating the absence of irreversible fouling.
The study was a partnership between SQU, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the Middle East Water Research Center in the Sultanate and Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.