Brazil’s state-owned oil and gas company Petrobras has selected GE’s new seawater sulphate removal (SWSR) nanofiltration membrane in water injection applications.

The water treatment technology introduced by GE in May for offshore oil and gas production, SWSR removes sulphate to reduce scale and corrosion in the injection well and reduces oil recovery.

GE Power & Water engineered systems water and process technologies general manager Yuvbir Singh said: "Petrobras’s endorsement reflects the upstream sector’s demand for more effective technologies that can help protect production equipment as companies venture into deeper, more challenging production conditions.

"Offshore oil producers use injection water to flood the field and force oil to the producing wells, but if the water is of poor quality, it causes scale and hydrogen sulphide that plugs and sours the field."

The membrane has a three-layer membrane design and smooth surface, exhibits good fouling resistance and can be optimised for use in seawater.

"The new SWSR series provides a high transmission of sodium chloride into the permeate water to reduce operating pressures."

When GE performed a pilot study of the SWSR membrane based on Petrobras specification, the latter verified its technical quality during evaluation that took place during a five-month pilot of assisted operation with 8in elements, each 440ft².

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Serving as an advancement of GE’s DK series nanofiltration membrane, the new SWSR series provides a high transmission of sodium chloride into the permeate water to reduce operating pressures.

The membrane can be retrofitted into existing systems or used in new systems and also offers a physical barrier for any suspended particles including bacteria, pyrogens and colloids.

In order to provide water for low salinity flooding, the new membrane also can be used in conjunction with GE’s existing reverse osmosis membranes.

Image: GE’s new seawater sulphate removal nanofiltration membrane. Photo: courtesy of General Electric.