MPP Systems was installed by the Dutch company AkzoNobel in 1994

The clear solution

The name originates from macro porous polymers, the material developed in the 70’s and used as controlled release agents for medical applications. In 2006 MPP was acquired by Veolia, the largest water treatment company in the world.

Most of its business activity is based around the MPP technology for extraction (MPPE) purposes, as managing director Erik Middelhoek begins: “We can remove dispersed and also dissolved hydrocarbons from water. It doesn’t matter where that water comes from, whether it is ground water, wastewater or produced water from oil and gas. We can reduce hydrocarbon levels down by 99.9999 per cent, which is beneficial to oil and gas companies who have to meet stringent legislation. They are looking for proven technologies that can remove dispersed but also dissolved hydrocarbons at these separation levels. MPPE is the clear solution for this process. It is robust, low in maintenance and is one of the best available options suitable for this market.”

All offshore operations allow for a direct discharge to sea after MPPE treatment as all hazardous compounds are removed. Onshore discharge often requires additional biotreatment for (non-hazardous biodegradable) COD removal. In some cases it is efficient and environmentally friendly to treat the MPPE effluent up to boiler feed water quality by adding additional treatment units as has been done at the Pluto LNG plant of Woodside in Burrup. The Pluto project clearly demonstrates the advantage of Veolia by offering an integral EPC solution for the treatment of wastewater with additional oil recovery and re-utilisation.

“Our world-wide footprint helps us enter new markets confidently so for example, we are involved in business in Korea where we utilise the support from our native Korean colleagues who are able to overcome the cultural and language barriers. It’s a great help in overcoming the language barrier that would otherwise exist,” says Erik.

In today’s market operators require equipment to be designed with a lifetime of 25 to 40 years, and be adaptable to new projects mid way through its life span. As the business expands to new areas Erik notes: “It is quite a challenge to meet these demands that have implications on cost, delivery periods, and influence the quality of materials that we purchase. Achieving this has been one of the most striking developments in the last couple of years.”

Erik recalls the company’s initial steps into the market and its continued success: “The first stringent legislation focusing on Zero Harmful Discharge (ZHD) of water was in Norway, and MPP held a relatively good position as one of the few technologies that could do the job. We had interest in the UK, Danish and Dutch shelves of the North Sea and have a couple of operations there. Today in Australia a large portion of the gas fields are being discovered and developed. Legislation there is similar to Norway with a policy to reduce the harmful discharge as much as possible. One of the sole technologies that can do that is MPPE.”

MPP Systems was preselected by Shell Global Solutions and was awarded a contract by Samsung Heavy Industries to supply an MPPE water purification unit to a Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility. The MPPE unit will be used for Shell’s Prelude FLNG project in Australia, the largest offshore floating facility ever built in the world. “It is one of the major projects we have been involved in. In June we delivered the technology to Samsung in Korea, which is installing the MPPE unit in the hull of the vessel.

“Currently we are manufacturing an MPPE unit for the Ichthys LNG project of the Japanese company Inpex. The Gas Produced Water will be treated on the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel laying next to a Central Processing Facility (CPF). The gas will be piped from here to an onshore LNG Plant in Darwin. More Australian LNG projects are in the pipeline so we expect to be in Australia for some time,” Erik adds.

The future is looking very promising for MPP Systems as Erik concludes: “The fact that MPPE enables Zero Harmful Discharge and the flexibility we offer potential clients makes us a very attractive option. We aim to deliver systems with minimal deviation to the specification. Our technology has a high removal efficiency, no waste streams, a 100 per cent oil recovery, a small footprint with low volume and weight compared to other technologies.

“We are always looking five years ahead. Shell is planning to build up to ten more FLNG vessels in the coming ten years and our work on these will remain our focus, keeping Australia and other stringent legislation developing countries in vision for the near future. We also plan to continue to work on some other interesting developments. Beyond hydrocarbons we are developing processes for the removal of other harmful components from produced water and interest in this area will increase over the next decade.”

VWS MPP Systems
Services: Waste water treatment, specialising in Macro Porous Polymer Extraction (MPPE)