OMV recently brought online a highly innovative plant for treating the water produced during oil production.

This is especially important in Lower Austria, where water amounts to as much as 93 % of daily production. This water, also called formation water, is separated from the oil and pumped back into the reservoirs to maintain or even increase the pressure. However, the cycle can only work if the produced water is highly purified.



Targeted process development

OMV and VTU co-engineered a plant with multiple process stages, designed specifically for treating the produced water in this location. The target was to reduce the oil content from 300 to 2 ppm. Because the entire oilfield operation depends on this purified water, the plant also had to guarantee 99.9 % availability.
While theoretical studies were being conducted, a variable pilot plant was also planned, built and run in order to test various process steps and combinations for separating oil, water and solids.
The final outcome was a three-stage process. The first stage is separation, featuring a parallel-plate interceptor with an innovative separation system co-developed by OMV and VTU. The second stage is nitrogen flotation and the final stage is nutshell filtration. Auxiliary systems were then planned to be added later, such as a dosing system, slop system, and sludge and nitrogen treatment.

Dipl.-Ing. Peter Piller, Project Manager OMV

Continuity, great personal commitment as well as high professional competence and a basis of trust are my attributes for the very good cooperation with VTU engineers.

Success factor: cooperation

Once the basic engineering was complete, VTU was contracted to manage the EPCM phase and thus support the entire course of the project leading to start-up.
OMV therefore benefitted from our great expertise in process engineering during all project phases. The excellent, goal-oriented cooperation with OMV project management was a crucial success factor in this project.



  • Process development incl. pilot tests
  • Basic engineering
  • Supervision of detailed engineering. Construction phase and commissioning as owner’s engineer


Facts about the plant:

  • Throughput 1200 m³/h
  • Purification from 300 ppm to
  • 2 ppm oil content
  • Process stages: innovative, self-cleaning parallel-plate interceptor; flotation; nutshell filtration
  • Auxiliary equipment: sludge treatment, nitrogen treatment
  • Plant availability: 99.9 %
  • The produced water treatment plant is a closed design with nitrogen blanketing.