Temporary desalination helps save plant operational costs
Rental Solutions & Services’ temporary reverse osmosis solution helps reduce carbon footprint and save operational costs at a major oil refinery in Bahrain
Be it as part of the day to day running of a plant or during a maintenance shutdown, companies in the refinery sector often depend upon Reverse Osmosis (RO) solutions at some point of time or other.
Choosing the right service provider can be a challenge considering the fact that different situations may require a specialized technology or design set-up. Whilst delivery time, operational costs, location and service levels are the basic criteria when choosing a supplier, companies are now putting a high importance on environmental benefits brought by suppliers.
Rental Solutions & Services (RSS), is a global provider of rental power, temporary cooling and mobile water solutions, offering equipment and flexible engineering services. As part of one of it’s projects, RSS’ water division designed and delivered a reliable and efficient temporary 2-Pass RO plant to a major oil refinery in Bahrain.
The plant, which was made up of 12 containerised RO units provided the customer with 1640m3 water per day with a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) content of less than 10 parts per million.
Quality and Quantity
The 267,000 barrel-a-day refinery has storage facilities for more than 11 million barrels with 95 per cent of their refined products being exported. To maintain output levels the refinery requires large volumes of feed-water to supply their boilers in order to generate steam or hot water for their production processes.
As part of a US$ 6 billion expansion plan, the capacity of the refinery was to be increased to 500,000 barrels-per-day while replacing some of the older production units at the same time. When the refinery’s permanent multi-stage flash (MSF) desalination plant needed major maintenance they approached RSS Water to provide a solution.
The refinery was initially faced with the challenge and expense of either building a permanent desalination plant or arranging 100 water tankers to be delivered to site each day.
The first option would have been expensive and time consuming, whilst the second option meant significant logistical challenges, a risk that water would not always meet the specific requirements, as well as causing a huge impact to the environment through the carbon footprint of an additional 100 water tankers on the road each day.
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RSS desalination solution
RSS’ proposal was to design, build and deliver a highly efficient and reliable, temporary RO desalination plant. The company’s technology includes pre treatment, low and high pressure pumps, reverse osmosis membranes and all associated chemical dosing pumps and control equipment.
All units are ‘plug & play’, with only power supply, inlet water, product water and brine discharge connections required. RSS worked closely with the refinery’s operational team to understand their critical requirements, one of which was to provide 1640 m³ of water with a TDS of less than ten parts per million (ppm), down from the original level of 45,000 ppm. TDS is the term used to describe the inorganic salts and small amounts of organic matter present in solution water.
To produce the required 1640m³ of high quality water, RSS provided a solution using a 2-Pass RO system in 12 containerized modules. This meant that 8600 m3/day of seawater were treated by the RO units (10 x 40 foot containers) for the 1st pass and 2000 m3/day of Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis units (2 x 40 foot containers) for the 2nd pass. In doing so, RSS’ solution negated the need for the refinery to use the water tankers.
“Our temporary RO desalination plant has been a huge success and I am delighted that RSS are one of the few companies in the market who are able to offer this type of solution. In this instance, the cost of our temporary desalination plant is marginal compared to the economic devastation that would have resulted from a severe drop in production at the refinery,” Brian Mason, general manager, RSS water division said.
A critical determining factor in the refinery’s decision to work with RSS was their ability to have equipment on site and operational almost immediately, reducing the delay and impact on the environment for the customer.
The company also ensured production quality was maintained by providing 24/7 on site operational support resulting in the contract being extended from 6 months to 12 months. RSS were also required to fully comply with the refinery’s demanding and comprehensive policies on Quality Management and Environmental, Health and Safety.
“Our customers receive a fast solution and only pay for equipment when it is needed,” Mason said.
RSS’ approach of providing the temporary solution enabled the refinery to continue their operations without the need to invest in a permanent desalination facility or bring 100 water tankers onto site every day. By producing water on-site RSS was able to control and guarantee the water quality.
Above all, by reducing the need for the water tankers, RSS has provided an environmentally friendly solution to an oil refinery who are committed to their environmental strategic plan in line with the requirements laid down by the Supreme Council for the Environment.