Initially founded under the name Epcon Offshore AS in 1999, the company has been fully operational since 2001 and was acquired by M-I SWACO in February 2006, when it changed its name to M-I EPCON. The acquisition provided M-I SWACO with access to industry-leading produced-water treatment technology.
M-I SWACO has achieved a position of leadership in several key areas within the oilfield, anticipating and responding to what operators and drilling contractors require for the entire lifecycle of their wells.
M-I EPCON is a rapidly expanding division that is based in Porsgrunn, Norway. It has developed its own treatment technology designed to optimise the removal of hydrocarbons, hydrophobic substances, aromatic compounds and small particles from produced water. One of the advantages of the EPCON CFU technology is that it removes high levels of BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene), PAH and Phenols, alongside the oil dispersed in the produced water. The economic benefit of recovered oil is easy to understand and count, but clear water doesn’t always mean clean water. Particularly as the oil industry must be accountable for its pollution levels and set new, challenging targets in response to environmental, ecological and operational issues.
The EPCON CFU technology has been developed and tested jointly with oil companies in the North Sea, and today it is a proven technology in treating produced water and one of the preferred choices of oil operators. The company has a total of 28 installations at 20 sites worldwide, and through these 28 installations there is a total flow of 2.814.000 bwpd. Among the oil producing companies currently using the EPCON CFU technology are Chevron UK, Exxon Mobil (UK & Canada), Total E&P (UK & Cameroon), StatoilHydro, Marathon Oil, Vermillion, Talisman and ConocoPhillips China.
Hans Angman, managing director of M-I EPCON, discusses the company’s key customers: “Our major clientele sits within the oil and gas industry and we have also noticed engineering companies being much more alert of our technology these days. It appears that there has been a change from the operators side, they are saying ‘this is our preferred technology, but we want you to deliver the full package,’ and that is what we see happening from now until the future.”
Hans continues, outlining the company’s recent developments: “We have won contracts in Asia with Conoco Phillips, here in Norway with StatoilHydro and have also completed successful tests in Brazil. We additionally have contracts in West Africa and in the Middle East.
“To deliver in the Asia-Pacific region, Middle East and West Africa has been a new challenge for us. We had to adapt the way we work with regards to culture and communication issues and we have found it has been beneficial for us to stretch our own system, optimising how to manage an allotment of projects such as these.”
Hans explains what the company has been undertaking to overcome such obstacles: “In particular, we have allotted responsibilities to the local teams of M-I SWACO, and as they have not done this type of job before, they have come to us for training and we provide support from Norway while our representatives regularly visit Asia.”
M-I EPCON has also recently completed three contracts for produced water treatment packages in the North Sea. StatoilHydro’s Kristin/Tyrihans, Gjøa and the Veslefrikk PW upgrading The Veslefrikk platform is a floater located in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.
Hans explains further: “Veslefrikk, which should be completed around November 2008, was a particularly important contract for the company. It is a large unit built by a new supplier and the project has turned out to be very successful, with only the documentation left to complete. The Gjøa project has also been one of our most triumphant projects. We successfully completed this on-time and to budget, as it ran smoothly throughout the whole process.”
M-I EPCON is now expanding globally, securing contracts outside the North Sea. It continues to develop strong customer relationships and establish itself as the preferred supplier of third generation produced-water treatment systems to the oil and gas industry.
Hans concludes: “M-I SWACO is a joint venture, 60 per cent owned by Smith International, Inc. and 40 per cent owned by Schlumberger Limited, giving us access to an extensive support system we can tap into that will help us to strengthen in the coming years.”
M-I EPCON AS
Industry: Specialists in produced water treatment for the oil and gas industry