Decarbonising the Oil Industry

Lead Participant: Envorem Limited

Abstract

During extraction of crude oil, contaminates comprising sediments and water form an oily sludge discarded by the oil industry as hazardous waste at huge environmental and financial cost. These sludges contain circa 50% oil and approximately 1% of all crude oil production is lost in sludges, equivalent to the output of world's 19th largest oil producer, Oman.

Currently the oil industry has limited options for sludge disposal. Within UK and Western Europe, production waste sludges are incinerated and each tonne of sludge typically releases 1.5 tonnes of CO2\. In many countries outside Europe, where regulations are less stringent, waste sludges are landfilled into large open pits, creating environmental hazards for wildlife and water resources. In both cases the environmental impact is enormous and additionally, colossal volumes of valuable crude oil are wasted.

Various published papers estimate in 2013 the global stockpiles of discarded sludges exceeded 1 billion tonnes and growing at the rate of 120 million tonnes each year. With the typical cost of incineration being \>$135 USD per tonne, the available market today exceeds $200 billion.

Global Remediation Technologies Limited ("GRT") is a UK company that has developed an innovative, disruptive and green technology which both cleans these sludges and recovers the entrained oil using a natural phenomenon associated with the vaporisation of water. After extensive development, a pilot system was constructed in the UK and deployed to an Omani oilfield in early 2020\. The results unequivocally proved the concept, confirming the technology generates no carbon emissions, is substantially cheaper than incineration and additionally, recovers 99.9% of the crude oil from the sludge.

The environmental benefits are substantial; elimination of the CO2 from incineration, ending the expansion of oil pits and their disastrous ecological impact, (e.g. the tailings pits from the Canadian tar sands), and preserving instead of wasting, precious oil reserves.

The Covid-19 outbreak has severely affected the Oil and Gas Industry. BP alone has announced a $6.7Bn loss last quarter and the loss of 10,000 jobs.

GRT's value proposition to the Oil Industry is to improve environmental performance and increase oil production at zero cost whilst reducing their costs of sludge handling. Three key drivers in the oil industry boardrooms comprise:

* Reducing operating costs
* Improving environmental performance, with reduced regulatory risk
* Increasing productivity, without investment in exploration and drilling of new wells

GRT's proposition addresses these drivers, aiding the survival of BP and others by:

* Reducing waste volumes, disposal costs and operating costs
* Delivering an economic means to clean up the vast legacy of deposits without generating considerable quantities of CO2
* Increasing oil yields by circa 1% at zero cost, increasing productivity

The proposed project is to accelerate the transition of GRT's technology from proof of concept to production scale, overcoming minor remaining technical challenges, advancing designs and minimising time to market.

The oil industry has been decimated by COVID-19 and GRT's progress is stalled. Innovate UK supporting GRT would be of direct benefit the environment, the oil industry and UK's drive to Net Zero.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Envorem Limited, London £111,598 £ 99,880

Publications

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