Latest Research Highlights

Oil Field Water Treatment Using Algae

23 Jan, 2024 | Return|

Water is generally susceptible to various pollutants, but it undergoes treatment to make it suitable for human use. The water used in oil extraction processes poses significant challenges in the refining stages. In this respect, Dr Raeid Abed of the College of Science has conducted a research project on filtering water from oil residues by using salt-tolerant microalgae isolated from the Bisat oil field in the Sultanate of Oman. The project is implemented in collaboration with a globally integrated energy company, OQ.


The study is environmentally friendly and inexpensive compared to other chemical treatment methods. The type of algae used is characterised by the rapid disposal of oil residues. It has a range of uses, such as in biofuel extraction (gas, gasoline, and diesel) and in manufacturing various products, for example, natural dyes.


● Filter the water of an oil field in the Sultanate of Oman from oil residues using salt-tolerant microalgae.

● Utilise the produced water as a suitable environment for the production of algae, which has a high economic value.

Phases of the study 

The first phase: isolating a large group of algae in polluted waters from the Bisat oil field.

The second phase: focusing on testing the ability of algae to decompose hydrocarbons from polluted waters.

The third phase: selecting the best four algae and monitoring their growth and ability to hydrolyse oil pollutants under several factors, such as different salinity degrees and temperatures.


  • The study revealed that many microalgae have the potential to grow in produced waters. However, they lack some key nutrients, specifically for faster growth.

  • Some isolated algae proved more capable of hydrolysing oil than others.


● Urging competent companies to apply this technique in the oil fields of the Sultanate of Oman.


Prof. Raeid Abed, College of Science