Two facilities for the extraction of natural bitumen located in El José Oil and Petrochemical complex, north of Anzoategui State in the Orinoco delta region of Venezuela will share a wastewater treatment plant designed and supplied by Napier-Reid of Markham, Ontario.
Natural bitumen is extracted and converted by a proprietary process into an industrial fuel similar to bunker fuel used in power generation plants. The fuel production process is a license of Intevep, the research and development subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).
The wastewaters are composed of oily wastewater, hydrocarbons, proprietary and contaminated rainwater from 10 different streams.
The process train consists of flow balancing, pH control, chemical conditioning with coagulants, flocculants, Dissolved Air Flotation, and biological treatment using Sequencing Batch Reactors with a Belt Filter Press for surplus sludge dewatering. The final effluent is discharged to the ocean. PH control is required as the off-specification tanks can spike at 12.0.
The Venezuelan government mandates effluent standards covering marine discharges.
The plant is fully automated and controlled by PLC. The Dissolved Air Flotation Cell is located in a hazardous area requiring all equipment in this area to be explosion-proof. The biological plant is in a non-hazardous area. All process equipment was subject to rigorous adherence to specification and independent inspection.
Napier-Reid was selected in an invited tender process in conjunction with its Colombian engineering representative. Napier-Reid is responsible for the overall process design, equipment selection, supply, start-up, and operator training. The plant started operation in 2005.