Utilization of the off-spec polymer (Polyacrylamide)

Theme: Wealth out of Waste

Expected Pilot Duration: 3-6 Months

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Challenge Summary

An innovative solution/technology to consume/sell the off-Spec polymer, Polyacrylamide (PAM) on a sustainable basis. Volume of the waste considered for pilot: 1-2 MT of solid polymer and 50-60 KL liquid solution.

Challenge Scenario

Polyacrylamide (PAM) is used in hydrocarbon fields for Enhanced Oil recovery. Polymer solutions reduce the mobility of injection water providing longer sweeping time and hence, supports better recovery of crude oil. Polymer powder is received in solid form and then the mother solutions are prepared at Central Polymer Facility (CPF). These solutions are further diluted with injection water as per reservoir requirement (range 25-30 cP ) and injected into the reservoir to push hydrocarbons up into the well. PAM loses its active properties due to aging, weathering & after process contamination rendering it unsuitable to use for Enhanced Oil Recovery of hydrocarbons.

PAM waste is generated both in solid and liquid forms during the process. Solid polymer powder waste is generated during polymer powder transfer to silos and liquid polymer waste is generated during the cleaning activity of the mother solution.

Volume of the polymer waste: Intermittent generation of approx. 40-50 MT of solid polymer waste and approx. 350 Kl of liquid off-spec polymer annually.

Material Properties of Polyacrylamide (PAM):

  • Product: Polyacrylamide Powder
  • PH: 5-9 @5g/L
  • Melting point/freezing point: >150 degC
  • Decomposition Temperature: >150 degC

In the past, polymer waste had been sent to CETP (common effluent treatment plant), Balotra, where it has been used as a flocculant. The inconsistent and contaminated liquid polymer waste posed challenges in disposal. The original characteristics are retained in the solid form rendering it useful for alternate applications like as a flocculant in wastewater treatment plant; binding agent in paper and pulp industry etc.

Handling, storing and disposal of off-spec polymer at site for a longer period is challenging as it is fugitive in nature and requires storage facility. Presently, there is no permanent solution available for regular disposal of this off-spec polymer. Cairn looks forward to a permanent sustainable solution for disposal of off-spec polymer (non hazardous in nature), for other industrial applications therefore inviting recyclers/Traders/CETP's/Chemical recyclers & Manufacturers etc. for further reuse/recycle/recovery.

Note: On request, additional details can be shared during the evaluation and screening process.

Profile of the end users

Secondary Operations/Sales:

Scrap Sales team and production team of CPF: Scrap sales team will ensure timely lifting of off-spec polymer waste as per company scrap policy and operations team will plan resource for safe handling and loading of material for disposal

Environment team

To ensure the lawful disposal of off-spec polymer and all legal authorizations are in place by the vendor to store, handle, transport and recycle/disposed the polymer waste.

Solution Requirements

Possible alternate application of off-spec polymer or waste polymer can be explored as

In water and wastewater treatment plant as an flocculant

In paper and pulp industry as an binding agent

Agricultural applications

Chemical manufacturing by using it as an additive or raw material.

Other applications can be further explored

Extraction of the active ingredients in the liquid waste or suitably diluted for alternative applications

Loss of active ingredients resulting in inconsistent quality of waste

Transportation of small quantities of waste from cairn premises to vendor site.

The solution provided must be in compliance with regulatory requirements as per Environment protection rules and an environment friendly option.

Expected Outcomes

1. Quantified Metrics & Outcomes:
Operational KPIs/Metrics Current Value Expected Target Value
Waste utilization (Qty) No Utilization For Pilot 1-2 MT of solid polymer 50-60 KL liquid solution
2. Qualified Outcomes:
Current State Target State (Expected)
Opportunity based disposal Sustainable solution
3.  ESG Impact:
ESG Metrics Expected Value/State
Waste utilization Gainful utilization of waste

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