LightOre brings next-level filtration to North American market

In the upstream oil & gas industry, OreFilter’s diatomite earth media is suitable for treating process water, hydraulic fracturing source water and produced water containing high oil and TSS content.
Following numerous successful pilots in Russia and Europe, LightOre is bringing its OreFilter product to the North American market. The company’s 200-L/h pilot station is already lined up for trials at two sites in Canada, one of which has the added challenge of polymers in the feedwater. LightOre is also currently in discussions to potentially test the media with several member companies of Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance.
Yatin Pandit, LightOre consultant and director of business development in North America, told WiO that OreFilter can accept any amount of oil without impairing the media’s properties or performance, making it ideal for use on streams with high oil and TSS content (see table 1). With a single- or dual-stage pass, the media (of which LightOre can provide different grades depending on client needs) can remove more than 99% of oil and TSS.

Results from selected OreFilter applications

OperatorLocationHydrocarbon typeOreFilter setupInlet water qualityOutlet water quality

Tatneft

Russia

Heavy oil

Two-stage filtration at 18-22 m/h

Hydrocarbons: 20-60 mg/l

TSS: 20-35 mg/l

Hydrocarbons: 0.2-0.8 mg/l

TSS: 0.7-1.6 mg/

Aktobe Oil

Kazakhstan

Gas condensate

Two-stage filtration at 15 m/h

Hydrocarbons: 80-121 mg/l

TSS: 98.6-124.4 mg/l

Hydrocarbons: 1.1-4.3 mg/l

TSS: 0.9-4 mg/l

Rosneft

Russia

Medium-to-light oil

Two-stage filtration at 10-20 m/h

Hydrocarbons: 60-180 mg/l

TSS: 45-80 mg/l

Hydrocarbons: 1-5 mg/l

TSS: 0.5-1 mg/l

Undisclosed

Germany

Medium oil with 22% paraffin and 19% wax

Two-stage filtration at 20-22 m/h

Hydrocarbons: 320 mg/l

TSS: 50 mg/l

Hydrocarbons: < 1 mg/l

TSS: < 1 mg/l

Source: LightOre

“This media is potentially a gamechanger for O&G markets globally,” Pandit said. He explained that for a hypothetical water stream with 700 ppm of oil and 100 ppm of TSS, OreFilter can reduce both parameters to less than 5 ppm when targeting removal of medium and light oil, or less than 2 ppm in the case of heavy oil.
In comparison, a conventional induced gas flotation (IGF) unit is designed to accept a maximum of 300-400 ppm of oil, which it can reduce by 90%. Polishing with a nutshell filter is required to bring oil content below 5 ppm, but typical nutshell filters cannot handle TSS loads much higher than 30 ppm without frequent backwashing.
Therefore, Pandit says, retrofitting an IGF-nutshell filter setup by replacing the existing nutshell media with OreFilter media can reduce two operations into a single step and significantly boost cost savings and efficiencies. This is particularly appealing at a time when operators are paring back operating and capital expenditures to face the challenge of low oil prices.
“There are quite a few ancillary operations around the IGF, so if you take the IGF out of operation completely, then you are also taking the ancillary equipment out. There is gas piping, zone classification etc. for the IGF, which the operator need not be concerned about if the nutshell media is replaced with OreFilter media,” Pandit explained.
OreFilter also has a higher oil retention capacity than typical nutshell filters, requiring only occasional backwashing – and never scrubbing, due to the media’s properties (see table 2). Russia’s Tatneft has been using the product at a steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) facility since 2017 to treat 13,400 m3/d of produced water with polymers in addition to oil and TSS, and backwashes only once every six days. The operator plans to integrate OreFilter at three more sites due to its successful performance as a pretreatment step to membrane treatment.



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