Using Separon™ Desanders: A Case Study in Waterflood Injection

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 09:00

For over 25 years, Exterran® Water Solutions has built a legacy of performance, reliability and expertise across the globe. Its technologies, solutions and services safely and responsibly treat produced water, ranging in volumes from 1,000 to over 1 million barrels of water per day. Exterran Water Solutions has a range of technology-based products, including the Separon™ line of primary filtration and separation products that help its customers optimize resources, increase production and improve their bottom line.   


The client, a large European oil and gas company working in the US, needed a solution to preserve the porosity and permeability of its underground formations. Formation plugging can greatly reduce the ability of an injection well to receive injected fluid. This is why keeping sand out of injection well systems is critical to optimize efficiency. It also reduces repairs and replacements for expensive pumping systems. The constant sand wear was leading to bi-weekly shutdowns to allow for repairs and maintenance.


Over 50 Separon™ Desanders were installed to curb soaring labor and maintenance costs (installations were performed by the previous owner of the technology and equipment in place). Automatic Purging Systems were added to most of the desanders to regularly flush the separators of collected sand during their 24-hour-a-day operation. As shown in the diagram above, well water was pumped directly to the desanders from turbine pumps at approximately 20,000 barrels per day. The desanders efficiently removed sand, silt and fine clays before discharging the water downline to an injection pump station. At each station, polishing filters removed extremely fine particles (less than 10 microns in size) and high-performance injection pumps converted line pressure from 100 psi to 2,000 psi for injection into the ground. The water swept the oil deposits toward producing wells, contributing to their recovery. 



By leveraging innovation, the client was provided with an environmentally efficient and sustainable solution to improve its bottom line. The company confirmed the desanders protected its systems in several ways:

  1. Sand settlement in the pipelines was greatly reduced and good flow characteristics were maintained.

  2. System performance was no longer inhibited by sand.

  3. Polishing filters were protected from plugging and excessive wear.

  4. Injection pumps were protected from abrasive wear, expensive repairs and replacements.

  5. Limestone formations below the surface were kept free of sand that otherwise would have clogged the area around the injection wells.

“We expect to eventually install these desanders on all our freshwater wells for this project. They cured our major sand problems, maintenance now is comparatively nil and the cost savings are appreciable,” a spokesman for the client said (photograph of final configuration seen above).