The production of heavy oil under primary or secondary recovery, like that of conventional petroleum fluids, is accompanied by a large volume of produced water. The disposal of that water can be expensive as the produced water contains contaminants including total dissolved solids (TDS), total suspended solids (TSS), oil, and grease. In addition, most heavy oil reserves occur in shallow and unconsolidated sandstone formations, which produce a considerable amount of sand. The disposal of the produced sand can also be expensive. The major contaminants in that sand stream are hydrocarbon and chloride.

In this paper, the results of a systematic characterization of the produced water and sand, along with the evaluation of available options for treatment and ultimate disposal, are presented. In addition, a membrane process for water treatment and a flotation process for sand treatment are presented. The results indicate that the membrane process was successfully used to reduce the contaminants in the produced water and, hence, reduce the volume of water to be disposed of. In this process, 90% of the TDS was rejected. The flotation treatment was also successfully used to reduce the contaminants in the produced sands. In this process, more than 99% of the unbound hydrocarbons and chlorides were removed.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.