Produced water treatment from a to Zinc - reducing levels of Zinc in a produced water stream


Courtesy of CETCO Energy Services


At vast depths, the ocean floor consists of layers of decaying plant and animal matter, containing chemicals like sulphate and zinc, which has built up over the years. When operators are drilling, the matter is disturbed and the various chemicals are released into the water. Since the mid 1980’s the pace of exploration, production, and development in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico has rapidly accelerated, resulting in numerous wells releasing zinc into the water environment.

Consequently, during oil recovery, subsea pipelines collect produced water that can seriously harm the environment if released back into the sea untreated.

When a major deep water operator in the Gulf of Mexico realized its produced water stream contained particularly high levels of zinc, the operator had to find a way of treating the produced water prior to discharge to avoid causing any damage to the marine environment and to ensure compliance with discharge regulations.


In order to effectively treat and discharge the fluid safely, the operator contracted CETCO Oilfield Services to provide a temporary produced water treatment system and personnel.

The equipment package incorporated a CETCO Oilfield Services patented flocculant product that was used to separate zinc from the produced water.

The innovative treatment system included personnel and equipment for 24 hour coverage to treat all of the production platform produced water until a permanent solution could be deployed by the customer. The results were a reduction of the amount of detectable zinc in the produced water to a lab undetectable level.

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