Optimization and Process Control of a Reverse Osmosis Treatment for Oilfield Brines Conference Paper uri icon


  • Fresh-water resources in many of the world's oil producing region are scarce, while produced water from oil wells is plentiful, though high salinity and other contaminants make it unfit for most applications. Disposing of this water is a great expense to oil producers. This paper advances a technology developed to treat produced water by reverse osmosis and oil adsorption to render it suitable for agricultural or industrial use, while simultaneously reducing disposal costs. Pilot testing of the process thus far has demonstrated the technology's capability to produce good-quality water, but process optimization and control yet to be fully addressed are focuses of this work. We developed a computer model of the process using a dynamic simulator, Aspen Dynamics, to determine the energy consumption of various process design alternatives, and to test control strategies. We proposed process control schemes using basic feedback control methods with PI controllers. By preserving the mechanical energy of the concentrate stream of the reverse osmosis membrane, we found that process energy requirements can be reduced several-fold from that of the previously developed configuration. Copyright 2009, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

author list (cited authors)

  • Barrufet, M. A., & Mareth, B. C.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • May 2009


  • SPE  Publisher