New technology demonstrated at first produced water desalination facility in the world

N.A. Water Systems, a Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies company, announced today the successful full-scale demonstration of OPUS™ technology for produced water treatment at Chevron U.S.A. Inc.’s oil production field in San Ardo, CA. Chevron U.S.A. Inc. is a fully-owned subsidiary of Chevron Corporation. This project, the first produced water desalination facility in the world that uses this unique technology, enables Chevron to expand its current area of steam-enhanced production into an idled, previously developed portion of the field.

Produced water – the water generated when oil is brought out of the ground – contains high levels of boron, silica, organics and free oil. Previously, most of Chevron’s produced water in San Ardo was injected into deep disposal wells, however, capacity was limited. OPUS™ removes contaminants sufficiently for treated produced water to be discharged into shallow groundwater recharge basins, allowing greater oil production and replenishing precious water resources.

OPUS™ (Optimized Pretreatment and Unique Separation) technology was developed through the joint efforts of Chevron and N.A. Water Systems. At the San Ardo site, the OPUS™ system is sized to treat 50,000 barrels of water per day. This technology consists of multiple treatment processes, including degasification, chemical softening, media filtration, ion exchange softening, cartridge filtration and reverse osmosis.

The overall project also included expansion of water softening facilities. The softened water is used in Chevron’s once-through steam generators, which produce the steam for oil extraction.

Following a 60-day reliability test, the water treatment facilities will be operated by Veolia Water North America, a leading operating services provider in North America, under contract with Chevron.

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