Geomembrane in Oil and Gas Application

Shandong Dajin Geosynthetics is a leading supplier in China, which focused on the production of high-quality geomembranes with over 20 years of experience. A geomembrane is an effective impermeable plastic liner to contain different liquids like water, oil, waste liquid, toxic substances, etc. It is popular to use the liner to store the wastewater in an evaporation pond and storage pond. Along with other containment equipment, the geomembrane liner will help do the project lasting over 30 years. As a kind of HDPE pit liner, geomembrane has obvious features to contain oil drilling fluids and drill cuttings thereby preventing the contamination of groundwater.

Benefits to use the pond liner in oil field:

1. Anti-seepage barrier between oil and ground, to protect the groundwater.

2. Puncture resistance.

3. UV resistance for longer service life when exposed to the sun.

4. Custom roll size according to project requirements.

5. Superior chemical resistance and largest flexibility.

6. Available thickness of 0.5 mm to 3.0 mm upon request.

What is the oil industry like?

The petroleum industry, also known as the oil industry or the oil patch, includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transportation (often by oil tankers and pipelines), and marketing of petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline (petrol). Petroleum is also the raw material for many chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, and plastics. The industry is usually divided into three major components: upstream, midstream, and downstream. Upstream regards exploration and extraction of crude oil, midstream encompasses transportation and storage of crude, and downstream concerns refining crude oil into various end products.

Petroleum is vital to many industries, and is necessary for the maintenance of industrial civilization in its current configuration, making it a critical concern for many nations. Oil accounts for a large percentage of the world’s energy consumption, ranging from a low of 32% for Europe and Asia to a high of 53% for the Middle East.

Other geographic regions’ consumption patterns are as follows: South and Central America (44%), Africa (41%), and North America (40%).

1. The world consumes 36 billion barrels (5.8 km³) of oil per year, with developed nations being the largest consumers.

2. The production, distribution, refining, and retailing of petroleum taken as a whole represents the world’s largest industry dollar value.

3. The oil and gas industry spends only 0,4% of its net sales on Research & Development which is in comparison with a range of other industries the lowest share.

4. Governments such as the United States government provide a heavy public subsidy to petroleum companies, with major tax breaks at various stages of oil exploration and extraction, including the costs of oil field leases and drilling equipment.

In recent years, enhanced oil recovery techniques — most notably multi-stage drilling and hydraulic fracturing— have moved to the forefront of the industry as this new technology plays a crucial and controversial role in new methods of oil extraction.

Oil storage tanks and oil refineries in oil depots store millions of liters of oil and industrial fluids, and hydrocarbons. These industrial fluids are very acid-base corrosive, and once leaked, the consequences for the surrounding land environment are unimaginable. The use of geosynthetic environmental protection materials such as geomembrane, impermeable membrane, geotextile, waterproof blanket, and geogrid to build a second isolation and impermeable layer can isolate and block land pollution caused by leakage or rupture of oil tanks. In many countries around the world, environmental protection laws and petroleum regulations need that the oil storage systems of oil depots and refineries must use HDPE impermeable membranes (high-density polyethylene geomembranes) to establish their anti-seepage main systems. Because the petroleum industry liquid is very corrosive, the use of high-quality polyethylene geomembrane with corrosion resistance, acid, and alkali resistance is the most effective and appropriate method, which not only simple construction, convenient transportation, reduce engineering costs, but also plays an irreplaceable role.

The materials that can be used in petrochemical anti-seepage engineering include clay, waterproof materials, steel fibers and synthetic fibers, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) membranes, geotextiles, sodium-bentonite waterproof blankets, etc., and the anchor trench width is usually 0.4m-1.0m, and its depth is 0.4m-1.0m. The edge is folded in a trench and fixed with stones, backfill, or cement.

Introduction of used anti-seepage materials in petrochemical enterprises

1. Natural clay

Natural clay refers to cohesive soil with few sand grains. Clay in general is formed by weathering silicate minerals on the Earth’s surface. The particles of clay minerals are fine, often in the colloidal size range, crystalline or amorphous, most of them are flaky, and a few are tubular and rod-shaped. Natural clay has poor impermeability and is generally laid at the bottom of the impermeable layer.

2. Impermeable concrete

Impermeable concrete generally refers to concrete with impermeability grade P6. According to different impermeable pressures, impermeable concrete can be divided into P6 grade, P8 grade, P10 grade, and P12 grade. The main way impermeable concrete improves its impermeability is to increase the compactness of the concrete, thereby reducing the flow of water through the channel.

As an impermeable material, impermeable concrete has the following advantages:

(1) Impermeable concrete has the two major properties of building materials and impermeable materials;

(2) Impermeable concrete raw materials come from a wide range of sources and have low prices;

(3) The construction method of impermeable concrete is simple and easy to master

(4) Impermeable concrete can improve its impermeability by adding additives or mixing with other materials;

(5) Impermeable concrete is easy to find structural defects and easy to repair.

3. Bentonite

Natural bentonite is divided into two categories: calcium-based bentonite and sodium-based bentonite. Among them, sodium-based bentonite has stronger water expansion performance than calcium-based bentonite and can expand to 15 ~ 17 times its own volume, so in practical applications, sodium-based bentonite is used.

Sodium-based bentonite as an impermeable material has the following advantages:

(1) Sodium-based bentonite can form a high-density diaphragm when exposed to water, with low water permeability and strong water retention performance.

(2) Sodium-based bentonite is a natural material, which will not cause pollution to the surrounding environment, is not easy to age or corrosion, the impermeability is not limited by the ambient temperature, and the waterproof performance is durable.  

(3) The construction process of sodium-based bentonite is simple, the construction quality is easy to check, and the defects are easy to repair.

(4) Sodium-based bentonite has the property of water expansion and can repair fine cracks formed by vibration and settlement of concrete when used in combination with concrete.

4. Geomembranes

Geomembrane is an impermeable material formed by high-density plastic film and non-woven composite fabric, and its impermeability is determined by the impermeability of high-density plastic film. At present, the plastic film materials used in the production of geomembranes are mainly high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and the geotextile materials are polyester fiber (PET). Also, to increase the stability of geomembranes, additives such as light stabilizers and antioxidants can also be added to the polymeric material.

Geomembranes are used as impermeable materials with the following advantages:

(1) High-density plastic films have good tensile strength, corrosion resistance, stability, and water solubility.

(2) Fabrics made of polyester fiber have high tensile strength, elongation and integrity, good hydraulic characteristics, and good isolation and sealing characteristics.

(3) According to the study of the International Geosynthetics Association, under normal conditions of about 30°, the life expectancy of an HDPE geomembrane can reach 220 years.

Geomembrane (HDPE impermeable membrane) is made of high-quality high-density polyethylene virgin resin, supplemented by carbon black, anti-aging agent, antioxidant, ultraviolet absorber, stabilizer, and other auxiliary materials, and is produced by advanced equipment. All products are produced under the American GRI standard and ASTM test standard, complete specifications, smooth impermeable film and rough impermeable film, thickness 0.25mm-3.0mm, width 6m, and can be customized according to customer requirements. Meet the requirements of the anti-seepage application in municipal environmental protection, water conservancy engineering, landscape architecture, petrochemical mining, construction engineering, salt industry, agriculture, the aquaculture industry, and other industries.

Fields of application:

1. Municipal environmental protection: landfill, domestic waste landfill, hazardous waste landfill, solid waste landfill, kitchen waste landfill, construction waste landfill, incineration power station fly ash landfill, power plant ash landfill, slag landfill, slag ash dump, gangue landfill, sewage treatment plant, etc.

2. Water conservancy engineering: horizontal seepage prevention, vertical seepage prevention, and slope seepage prevention of reservoirs, artificial lakes, reservoirs, drinking water pools, landscape water systems, and dams of irrigation systems, channel projects; Impermeability of ports, docks, cofferdams, and land reclamation around the sea.

3. Agricultural aquatic products: livestock and poultry manure treatment in pig farms, chicken farms, and duck sheds, lining and seepage prevention of biogas ponds, breeding ponds, fish ponds, shrimp ponds, lotus ponds, turtle breeding ponds, lobster breeding ponds, etc.

4. Petroleum mining: protection of oil pipelines, oil storage tanks of petrochemical refineries, sludge tanks of oil wells, chemical reaction tanks, sedimentation tanks, tailings dams, hazardous waste landfills, solid waste landfill substrates, secondary lining layer seepage prevention; Slag landfill, slag ash dump, gangue landfill, ash dump, ash field, tailings dam, tailings pond, red mud pile, heap leaching tank, dissolution tank, sedimentation tank, sewage treatment plant, etc.

5. Food chemical industry: salt industry seawater desalination, salt field crystallization pool, brine pool cover, salt film, and other anti-seepage; sugar storage tanks in the sugar industry, etc.

6. Construction engineering: civil air defense system, underground pipe gallery, subway, underground garage, roof garden, sewage pipeline seepage prevention.

In terms of environmental protection and anti-seepage in the petrochemical industry and mining, HDPE impermeable membrane gradually replaces traditional concrete, plastic, and metal containers. Traditional concrete, plastic, and metal containers have a high cost, short service life, and poor anti-seepage effect, HDPE impermeable membrane is a high-performance waterproof and leak-proof product, especially its chemical resistance, acid and alkali resistance, salt, heavy oil, good molecular stability, is the chemical field and mining industry, especially harmful, toxic stacking, the storage site for seepage and leakage prevention best products.

Laying of impermeable membrane for tank foundation:

(1) Laying the basic impermeable membrane of the oil tank is a key process in the entire impermeable system. Before laying the film, the appearance quality of the HDPE impermeable membrane is unpacked and inspected, and the mechanical damage and production trauma, holes, breaks, and other defects found are recorded and repaired.

(2) Before cutting the impermeable membrane of the oil tank foundation, measure its relevant size, and then cut according to the actual cutting, and the lap width of the joint between the membrane and the membrane in the membrane laying is not less than 100mm so that the joint arrangement direction is parallel to the large slope footing, that is, arranged along the slope direction.

(3) When laying the impermeable membrane of the base oil tank, we should strive to have fewer welds, and try to save raw materials under the premise of ensuring quality. At the same time, it is easy to ensure quality. Usually, in corners and deformed areas, the length of the seam should be kept as short as possible. Except for special requirements, on slopes with slopes greater than 1:6, within 1.5 meters from the top slope or stress concentration area, try not to have welds.        

(4) The impermeable membrane of the oil tank foundation should avoid artificial wrinkles during laying, and when the temperature is low, it should be tightened and laid as much as possible.

(5) After the laying of the basic impermeable membrane of the oil tank, it should cut walking on the membrane surface, moving tools, etc., and all objects that can cause harm to the HDPE impermeable membrane should not be placed on the membrane or carried on the membrane to avoid accidental damage to the membrane.

(6) The impermeable membrane of the oil tank foundation is a flexible material, which can do any shape according to any structure of the tank ring beam and tank farm. All corners and right-angled parts should be made into rounded corners or chamfers to avoid damaging the impermeable membrane of the tank foundation when backfilling sand.

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