Optimization and treatment of wastewater of crude oil desalting unit and prediction of scale formation

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2019 Sep;26(25):25621-25640. doi: 10.1007/s11356-019-05632-x. Epub 2019 Jul 2.


In this article, one of Iran's southwest oil fields that produces 3200 barrels per day (bbl/d) of wastewater from oil and gas processing was investigated. Experimental analysis of oil reservoir water and desalting wastewater disposal of crude oil desalting unit was performed. First, water was treated with a reverse osmosis membrane. As a result, the purified water, with lower total dissolved solids (TDS) and pH, was a suitable candidate for injection into the adjacent wells of the crude oil desalting unit. The effectiveness and compatibility of this wastewater to the formation water of the oil field wells were simulated. Finally, we studied and identified the formation, the amount, and the type of mineral scale deposits. These are the most important problems during water injection into the wells. The analysis shows that the refined water from the reverse osmosis (RO) process was a suitable and low-cost economical option for injection in onshore and offshore fields, due to the low amount of salts, the concentration of susceptible ions in scaling formation, and the appropriate pH. This oil field, which is in the second half of life, requires enhanced oil recovery methods (EOR) for the maintenance of pressure and an increase in oil recovery.

Keywords: Desalting unit; Inorganic scale; Produced water; Reverse osmosis; Wastewater; Water injection.

MeSH terms

  • Filtration / methods*
  • Iran
  • Oil and Gas Fields
  • Osmosis
  • Petroleum / analysis*
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods*
  • Waste Water / analysis*


  • Petroleum
  • Waste Water