POREFLON Microfiltration Membrane Module

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POREFLON Membrane Module Conserves the Environment by Treating Oilfield Produced Water at the Caspian Offshore Oilfield


The Caspian Sea situated on the boundary of Central Asia and East Europe has oil, natural gas and other mineral resources as well as fishery resources and is regarded as extremely important by the surrounding countries.

Regarding mineral resources, crude oil is extracted from many offshore oilfields. Extraction of crude oil entails the discharge of oilfield produced water, which is the water injected into the oil well to extract the oil and a mixture of groundwater and crude oil.

The oilfield produced water, a byproduct of crude oil, is either released into the water or reinjected into the oil well. It contains a high level of oil since it is produced as a mixture containing crude oil. Consequently, in either of the above processes, it is necessary to remove the oil from the oilfield produced water. Various systems, including the pressure floatation system, have been employed and are in actual use to treat oilfield produced water. Although they are effective to some extent, treatment performance limitations have become an issue because water quality regulations applicable to treated water are becoming increasingly strict year by year.


In the Caspian Sea, an exceptionally important fishery resource is the sturgeon from which caviar is produced. To protect the sturgeon, regulations on wastewater flowing into the Caspian Sea have become very tight. Oilfield produced water must also comply with the wastewater regulations. As a result, oil removal performance requirements have increased to such a level that conventional treatment systems appear to be inadequate. Moreover, offshore oilfields require compact equipment to treat oilfield water in the limited available space on the oil drilling platform.

Sumitomo Electric Fine Polymer, Inc. has developed an oilfield produced water treatment system in collaboration with a water treatment engineering company and field tested it in the Middle East. By combining the pretreatment technology of the water treatment engineering company and our POREFLON Membrane Module-based filtration, we have successfully completed tests, removing oil contained in treatment water to below 1 mg/L. Since the test results and the system's compact design were highly evaluated, our membrane was adopted for oilfield water treatment at Caspian offshore oilfields in Turkmen territory. We are proud of our contribution to environmental conservation in the Caspian Sea.

At Sumitomo Electric Fine Polymer, Inc. we also conduct field tests on oilfield water treatment in China and Southeast Asia incorporating various pretreatment technologies. We intend to make optimal use of the POREFLON Membrane Module because it exhibits stable performance in the treatment of oil-contaminated wastewater to preserve the environment surrounding oil drilling sites.

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