Aramco works to ensure no groundwater will be used for industrial purposes in Khurais
New system propels 100% switchover of the industrial water consumption.
A new industrial water system installed under the Khurais Arabian Light Crude Increment Project is helping Aramco combat water scarcity by saving groundwater resources, thereby maximizing its availability for future generations.
Aligned with the Kingdom's objectives in water conservation, Khurais has ceased the use of nonpotable groundwater for plant processes after the successful startup of the system, making Khurais a leading facility in Aramco as it complies with ambitious government and company directives concerning groundwater conservation.
Conserving groundwater, treating seawater
The industrial water system is intended to treat deoxygenated seawater, which is pumped from Qurayyah seawater plant on the Arabian Gulf via 225-kilometer pipeline network. The treatment is achieved through permeable membranes using reverse osmosis to remove dissolved solids and salts.
With the startup of the industrial water system, the plant process water consumption (for crude wash water in the oil desalting plants and other utility water) will be switched to use treated seawater instead of groundwater. This is expected to save hundreds of millions of gallons of groundwater annually.
On the other hand, the high-salinity waste stream produced during the reverse osmosis process will be recycled back to the seawater pipeline for injection into the water injection wells. State-of-the-art design will minimize energy consumption by using turbochargers to recover energy that would otherwise be lost in the waste stream and by using variable frequency motors for rotating equipment.
First switchover companywide
The Khurais Industrial Water system is the first of kind in the company that provides 100% switchover of industrial water consumption from groundwater to treated seawater -- a major Khurais circular economy initiative by using fewer valuable resources in maintaining the crude quality with an emphasis on the reinjection of desalinated industrial water for reservoir pressure maintenance.
A model for others
Considering the environmental and economic benefits expected from this system, Salah A. Al-Juaidan, Khurais Producing Department manager, said this innovative design can serve as a model for other Aramco facilities and can be adopted to meet environmental goals to conserve groundwater for future generations.