During the production and treatment of natural gas, the water used is cleaned and discharged to sea. Although there are currently no legal limits for dissolved hydrocarbons, NAM is continuously striving to further improve its environmental performance. As a result of the installation of the MPPE (Macro Porous Polymer Extraction) unit, the amount of hydrocarbons discharged from the platform into the North Sea has become negligible.
“Akzo Nobel’s MPP Systems specializes in separation technologies for water treatment. The patented MPPE technology is a flexible method to separate hydrocarbons from process water, wastewater or groundwater. A guaranteed removal percentage of 99.9999 percent is feasible for aliphatics, aromatics, chlorinated hydrocarbons and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),” said Dick Meijer, General Manager of MPP Systems. “Compared with traditional processes such as air stripping with activated carbon, steam stripping, and biological purification, MPPE technology is highly competitive.”
MPPE technology is based on extraction. Porous polymer spheres act as carrier for nontoxic and biodegradable extraction medium that absorbs and extracts hydrocarbons from water. The miniscule plastic spheres are capable of reducing contaminant concentrations in water by a factor of more than 1 million, which means that concentrations of thousands ppm (parts per million) can be lowered to below 1 ppb (parts per billion). This is done in only one cycle.
Aside from clean water for recycling or discharging, the water purification unit also yields almost 100% pure hydrocarbons suitable for reuse.
More than 20 systems have been installed or under construction in the United States, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. All systems carry an operational lifetime performance guarantee. The first MPPE unit for NAM Offshore, on platform K15A, has been operating successfully since November 2002.