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16/03/2021 News

BIOMEM, targeting zero environmental impact

  • Oil reservoirs naturally contain a lot of water - three to five barrels on average for one barrel of oil*
  • Reinjecting produced water into the wells is always the preferred solution, but a significant quantity is nonetheless discharged into the natural environment.
  • BIOMEM is a solution based on a treatment process that uses micro-organisms to eliminate the toxic elements in produced water in under an hour!

Before being produced, the water has remained for varying periods of time in the reservoir, where it was in contact with the oil, gas and rock. These different elements therefore need to be separated. If it is not possible to recycle them, they are treated and filtered before being discharged back into the natural environment. Improving treatment technologies is a priority and a challenge to save water resources, comply with environmental regulations and meet CSR requirements.

Hydrocarbon-hungry bacteria

To tackle this major challenge, the R&D teams from the Platform for Experimental Research in Lacq (PERL) developed an innovative solution called BIOMEM. The objective? To achieve a discharge quality targeting zero environmental impact. This technique for eliminating toxic elements from produced water is based on the use of micro-organisms adapted to hydrocarbons and the salt content in the water.

A pilot was run on the Cap Lopez terminal in Gabon, applied to water with a high salt content. Results to date have met expectations, with a reduction of almost 95% in the biological oxygen demand and the elimination of organic micropollutants (benzene, toluene, phenol). And all this after just an hour’s residence time, i.e. 6 to 20 times less than a conventional process.

How does it work?

Listen to the key players in water treatment based in Lacq and Gabon, who are in the best position to explain the process: Pierre Pedenaud, Matthieu Jacob, Juste Milam Ndong, Johane Ella-Obiang, Bertrand Segues.

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*Average at Total: 1.3 barrels of water for 1 barrel of oil

  • Find out more about produced water management: HERE