The technology of designing bespoke wastewater treatment systems, by balancing the scientific selection of soils and reeds, to promote the optimal environment for microbiological processing to achieve the desired level of treatment and reduce sludge accumulation. The correct design of the specialized matrix is necessary to maintain the intricate interactions between bacteria, yeasts, cyanobacteria, algae, protists, rotifers, actinobacteria, fungi and other microbes necessary for degradation of complex organic compounds, that are not provided within traditional wetland water and gravel media.
In 2003 Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company commissioned Oceans-ESU (partner of Oceans-EWS) to develop a pilot project within the Heglig Oilfield to investigate the large scale treatment of produced water using MSR Technology™.
The main contaminants of the produced water in Heglig and the wider Muglad Basin are Naphthenic Acids, Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and the BTEX suite.
Whilst it was a pilot project, the system itself was capable of treating 30,000m3/day of produced water, as such the pilot aspect of the project was only as development of a treatment model throughout the wider oilfield.
In addition to being a pilot for the remediation of produced water it contained areas for fishery and forestry as part of a whole catchment approach. The whole area had to be integrated into the catchment in order that any forestry or agriculture could have access to rainfall management to maintain these areas beyond the life of the oilfield. As a result not only was the produced water treated beyond all international standards, the area within which it was embedded began to function as a brand new ecosystem in what had been a very arid and denuded part of Sudan.
Together with the benefits to whole area in terms of a major increase in biodiversity of flora and fauna persuaded GNPOC to roll out a programme throughout all of the oilfields.
In 2005, after 18 month of continuous operation and monitoring, the pilot system was declared a success and was already handling double its design capacity As such the government office for Oil Exploration and Production Administration (OEPA) advised that the same system of treatment should be used as the standard method of treatment for oilfield produced waters throughout the Sudanese oil industry.