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Energy-Efficient Water Treatment Plant Contributes 6% to Oman’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals

Oman

At a Glance

Oil drilling forced Oman to bear large fiscal and energy costs to dispose of its contaminated water. To better reuse the produced water, Oman constructed the Nimr Water Treatment Plant, which treats 760,000 barrels of produced water daily, contributing more than 6% to Oman’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Problem Addressed

The Sultanate of Oman is the largest Non-OPEC producer of crude oil in the Middle East with oil fields capable of generating over one million barrels per day.

In addition to oil, Nimr, Oman’s second-largest oil field, produces 240,000 cubic meters of water per day. Contaminated with oil and brackish with sediment, produced water is considered industrial waste and often disposed of in deep wells through an energy-intensive and expensive procedure.

With a focus on reducing waste and being more environmentally sustainable, Oman looked to implement a solution that could treat some of the water produced by the Nimr oil field and re-use it in a more productive fashion.

Oman's Nimr Oil Field used/is using a multi-stage water treatment plant to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

After a two-year period of design and construction performed by Bauer Resources, the Nimr Water Treatment Plant (NWTP) became operational in January of 2011. Considered to be the largest industrial constructed wetland system in the world, the project covers an astonishing 4.5 million square meters and continues to undergo further expansions.

After a two-year period of design and construction performed by Bauer Resources, the Nimr Water Treatment Plant (NWTP) became operational in January of 2011. Considered to be the largest industrial constructed wetland system in the world, the project covers an astonishing 4.5 million square meters and continues to grow every few years.

Initially designed to treat 45,000 cubic meters of water per day, the plant now treats 175,000 cubic meters daily. The system first pushes the water through an oil and water separator which recovers the usable oil from the water. From there, the water is distributed to a wetland facility where it’s channeled through four wetland terraces to degrade dissolved hydrocarbons. It then feeds the still brackish water into evaporation ponds to recover salt that can be later processed and used for drilling operations.

The plant uses a gravity-flow system to move the water through the various stages of treatment, which has dramatically reduced energy consumption from the deep well disposal method used previously.

In addition to reducing energy consumption, the NWTP has allowed Oman to reduce CO2 emission levels by 225,000 tons per year. Furthermore, the plant’s 2.4 million square meters of wetlands fed by the treated water have become a desert habitat for many species of birds, insects, and fish, creating a self-sustaining ecological oasis.

Outcomes

  1. The plant is treating 760,000 barrels of produced water a day at a fraction of the cost and energy consumption of conventional deep well disposal
  2. NWTP has treated approximately 980 million barrels of produced water and recovered around 500,000 barrels of oil since starting operations in 2011
  3. Treatment of water on site is very efficient, with a 99% reduction in energy consumption compared to conventional treatment facilities
  4. NWTP’s vast wetlands serve as a desert oasis for birds, insects, and fish
  5. The plant contributes more than 6% to Oman's overall greenhouse gas emission reduction goals

Something Unique

Nimr Water Treatment Plant is the largest commercially-constructed wetland system in the world

The project won the "Award of Excellence in Climate Action" at Qatar's 2019 Sustainability Summit, ADIPEC's "Best MENA Oil & Gas HSE Project" Award in 2012, and "Best Industrial Water Project of the Year" at the Global Water Awards 2011

Who Should Consider?

Entities looking to sustainably treat wastewater through less costly and energy-intensive methods

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