German engineering firm GEA reports it has supplied its first retrofit drain water treatment plant for a drill ship. When drilling for oil, drain water collects on the platform in large volumes, which is passed into large tanks together with other waste water occurring. To comply with IMO regulation MEPC.107(49), this contaminated water must be 'de-oiled' before it can be ejected into the ocean.
Having a separation plant on board the platform is substantially cheaper and less time consuming than the alternative: sending waste products to shore for treatment and disposal. However, on-site processing brings its own challenges. For instance, drilling platforms in Alaskan waters must ensure a drain water residual oil content of less than 5 ppm.
For this purpose, engineers at GEA's Mechanical Separation business unit set about designing a plant with a high performance decanter for solids extraction as well as a separator for residual oil removal. But the special feature here is the retrofit concept: both centrifuges including peripheral equipment were delivered primed for operation in a single container. The required connecting piping between the containers was part of the scope of delivery as well. Once the customer has fitted the supply line, the skids can be put into operation directly on deck, which is as close as you can get to 'plug and play' for an industrial separator.
In addition to cost reduction, the ability to guarantee lower residual oil content allowed the operator to up the charter rate for the drilling vessel, said GEA.