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Seabox to lead subsea sulphate removal and low salinity project

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Oilfield Technology,

Seabox will lead a joint industry project with Az ACG Ltd (The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic - SOCAR), Suncor, SIPCO and two oil majors, with the support of the Research Council of Norway, that will bring advanced subsea water treatment one step closer to full scale field development.

Injection of sterile and ion-optimised water, such as reduction of sulfate and salinity, into reservoirs has received much attention in the oil and gas industry due to the expected positive effects for oil production. Removal of sulfate ions from the injected water also have positive effects on applications with serious scaling and H2S challenges. However, the downside of this advanced water treatment method is that it has traditionally been very costly and has required a large treatment facility on topsides.

The results from Seabox’ previous test clearly demonstrated that the combination of SWIT (Seabox’ proprietary Subsea Water Intake and Treatment technology) and subsea membranes could become a technological game-changer for production of low salinity and sulfate free water for injection purposes. Based on these promising results and the positive feedback from the industry, Seabox and several oil majors have started an extensive technology qualification process.

“Costs of offshore field developments have soared significantly in recent years. This joint industry project (JIP) is designed to develop a more cost effective alternative to today’s heavy and expensive topside water treatment plants,” says Helge Lunde, CEO of the Norwegian subsea technology company Seabox.

Seabox has spent the past ten years developing its subsea water intake and treatment (SWIT) technology. The company recently completed a pilot seabed test of the SWIT-system in combination with a membrane process plant for sulfate and salt removal, sponsored by the industry.

“Highly convincing test results from the former JIP have triggered this new project. This is also reflected in the level of oil companies involved,” says Helge Lunde, who underlines that the door is still open for other participants to join.

The new JIP will see Seabox complete a conceptual design of a complete subsea SWIT and membranes plant capable of producing any quality water from surrounding seawater on the seabed. A key objective is to secure maximum longevity for important components in order to prolong intervention intervals.

As part of the JIP, Seabox will also identify technology components available in the market and suitable for a use in the SWIT plant. In addition to this, Seabox will conduct a gap analysis to identify and close the technology gaps on components that are not already tested and qualified to international industry standards.

It is expected to finalise the JIP in second half of 2015.

“Our next step will be detailed engineering for a SWIT system that is part of a full scale field development. Oil companies want more cost-effective subsea technologies, so we know that there is a requirement in the market for our SWIT technology,” adds Helge Lunde.

Adapted from a press release by David Bizley

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