To facilitate the group-wide implementation of sustainable water management, Statoil developed tools in 2011 to support the identification of water-related risks and measures to avoid or mitigate these risks. The tools have been developed both as joint industry projects (JIP) and internal Statoil projects.
Statoil has participated in an IPIECA-led project to develop a tool for high-level portfolio analysis and reporting adapted for the oil and gas industry. This tool is based on the Global Water Tool originally developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Statoil has partnered a JIP project led by the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI). The aim of this project has been to develop a tool, called the Local Water Tool, for site-specific water risk assessments. The tool has been piloted by Statoil in order to provide feedback to the tool's developer, CH2M HILL. Both the Global Water Tool and Local Water Tool are feasible tools for assessing water risks relating to unconventional onshore activities.
Internal projects have included the review of Statoil's tool for early-phase risk assessment and the development of a toolbox of technologies for the treatment of low-quality, non-fresh water sources.
Statoil continues to update and further develop the environmental impact factor (EIF) tools for specific areas: discharges to the marine environment, produced water, drilling discharges, and costal discharges (in line with changes in EU regulation and new knowledge). The EIF tool for onshore discharges is used to carry out environmental risk assessments in connection with onshore activities. The tool provides an indication of the volumes of soil, surface water and groundwater that are potentially at risk of contamination, either from spills or from intentional activity at a site. It can be used to assess the potential risk from activities at a site and can help to prioritise environmental management actions.
To date, the tool has been used to assess alternatives for handling mud pits for exploration drilling in Algeria, recommend how to secure old wells at an Iraqi oilfield, and identify the remaining hypothetical risk from an oil sands steam-assisted gravity drainage method (SAGD) facility in Alberta, Canada.
Water management in Canada
Oil from oil sands in Statoil's operations in Kai Kos Dehseh is produced using SAGD, in which steam is injected to heat up the reservoir and reduce the viscosity of the oil. Water requirements will be met by using a combination of fresh and brackish water from underground reservoirs. The water is recycled to minimise the total consumption of water. Water requirements for expansion beyond the current demonstration phase will be met by brackish groundwater only. Reducing the water intensity by solvent co-injection is a major part of our technology programme. This method has the potential to reduce water use intensity by 10-25%, with a corresponding reduction in energy - and thereby carbon dioxide - intensity.
Produced water treatment
Over the past 10 years, Statoil has qualified and implemented new technology to improve the cleaning of produced water from Norway's offshore sector. In 2011, we started using the Ctour produced water cleaning technology at Snorre A. Onshore at Snøhvit, we have tested a compact flotation unit for removing benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes (BTEX) and condensate upstream of a biological treatment plant. We also installed a permanent MPPE (macro porous polymer extraction) treatment plant at Kollsnes.
Our R&D portfolio includes activities to further improve fluid expertise and transfer this expertise to the operational units to improve the performance of the cleaning technologies.