Total solution for pure water in the Netherlands

The oil from the Schoonebeek oilfield in the Netherlands is viscous and fairly heavy which made extraction very difficult for a long time. The client NAM (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij BV) decided to resume extraction by the end of 2007 and to employ a new technology whereby steam was injected into the ground. 

Transport of pure water for storage tank

The steam reduced the viscosity of the oil so that it can be pumped up with significantly more success. The challenge of this project, which was technically and commercially evaluated since 2005, was to provide very clean water for the steam generation as well as to use water from non-natural sources.

The solution was to set up an ultra pure water plant directly next to a sewage treatment plant to use the purified sewage and produce with most modern technology highly purified water. The capacity requirement for this ultra pure water plant was 10.000 m³ per day. The scale of production and the combination of various purification technologies made this plant worldwide unique. Therefore the project was called „NieuWater“.

AGRU has already been approached in the early stage of project evaluation and design for technical support. One of the main challenges of this project was also related to apply the correct piping system which was capable to handle the installation conditions as well as providing the mechanical performance and high cleanliness. 

Ultra pure water plant

For the interconnection pipes of the various treatment stages - such as ultra filtration (UF), biologically activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis (RO) and electro-deionisation (EDI) - PP-Pure (grey polypropylene random copolymer in high purity quality) was applied. The piping system was welded by IR fusion technology whereby AGRU provided the welding equipment (SP 110-S, SP 315-S).

Special technologies have been developed for this project by AGRU and the contractor for the transport of the 20 m long pipe sections to reduce the amount of joints in the field and to ensure highest cleanliness during the outdoor welding on-site.

AGRU has developed a unique installation technology.

A specially designed mobile cleanroom container for welding of pipes and a new IR fusion trench welding machine were the key elements for reaching the purity and pipeline integrity as required for this project.

Transfer pipelines

As the ultra pure water plant was set up in a distance approximately 7 km away from the oil field where the steam was generated a transport pipeline had to be installed to transport the ultra pure water to the point of use. Together with the client PP-R pipes (PP-Pure) in OD 280 mm SDR 17.6 were selected because of their excellent performance in regard to

  • Flexibility
  • Suitability for underground installation
  • Excellent performance parameters for the transport of ultra pure water (surface roughness <0,8 µm, low leach-out values)
  • Excellent weldability
  • Two pipelines have been installed parallel by applying IR fusion technology.

Ultra pure water storage tank

As the ultra pure water has to be stored to ensure sufficient capacity for the steam generation a large concrete tank (>10,000 m³) was constructed at the oilfield site.

To assure the highest cleanliness as well as leak tightness during the storage of ultra pure water in the concrete tank the tank was lined with grey PP-R AGRU-SURE GRIP concrete protective liners (3 mm).

Many years of experience

AGRU was selected as system supplier because we could provide a total solution for the transport and storage of ultra pure water by applying the PP-Pure piping system as well as the PP-R concrete protective lining for the storage tanks.

Technical assistance at the system layout, supervision on-site as well as the supply of the latest state of-the-art IR technology were further assets of AGRU to meet the requirements of the client - a reliable system. Since 2010 the ultra pure water plant, the transfer pipeline and the concrete protective lined storage tank are in operation.

The client

Statement from the client: “For NieuWater the production of ultra pure water is a new kind of business...”

In the preliminary evaluation and planning (2005/2006) a global comprehensive survey by the department of technology and design of NieuWater was executed to select the optimum materials for the 7 km long transfer pipelines.

Important considerations for the system selections were:

  • Lifetime > 25 years
  • Low leach-out
  • Installation in the field must be possible without flanges
  • Piping system with optimal surface quality to avoid deposits (easy cleanable)
  • Pipelines should be cleaned with „soft balls“ (plugs)
  • Minimum number of welds along the pipe sections supplied (20 m)!
  • Convincing (clean) production
  • Good logistics
  • Good packaging during transport

AGRU has developed a construction method in collaboration with Vink and NieuWater which was used for this very project. AGRU has proven its expertise in this area.

Leach-out data from research and existing projects was available from AGRU. Because of these facts NieuWater had great confidence in the collaboration with AGRU and Vink. Combined with a cost effective pricing the AGRU PP-R system was a logical step for a durable and reliable design.