Application of circular economy in oil and gas produced water treatment

Marwa M. Waly*, Slobodan B. Mickovski, Craig Thomson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
129 Downloads (Pure)


The circular economy (CE) is a promising model in industrial waste management, offering viable long-term resource sustainability. The rising costs of the oil and gas industry make circularity a reliable approach for saving materials, money, and energy. In recent years, attention has risen to the need to apply CE within oil and gas produced water (PW) treatment. The most common treatment practice for PW is based on mechanical treatment, with optional disposal of treated water into deep wells. However, this procedure consumes a lot of energy, increases operational costs, and causes environmental risks. This research aims to propose sustainable treatment technology promoting circularity by introducing a novel nature-based solution to treat PW. The main research objective is to develop a circular model for PW treatment by investigating the treatment of PW using constructed wetlands (CWs) to sustainably reduce the amount of waste in oil and gas fields. Additionally, investigate the use of industrial wastes as filtration materials for CW systems. In this study, eight different laboratory-scale CWs models were designed and tested. The CWS operated in two different types of flow directions: vertical (VF) and horizontal flow (HF). The main filter media for the CW system included aggregates, activated carbons, plastic, and shredded tires. The study investigated the removal rates of Total suspended solids (TSS), Total dissolved solids (TDS), Oil and Grease (OG), and Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) from the PW. Testing the CWs, it was found that the results of the PW treatment were promising, with the potential for more future shredded tires and plastic applications. All systems were effective at removing contaminants from produced water, with the highest recorded removal efficiencies of 94.8% TSS, 33.7% TDS, 90.2% OG, and 98.4% TPH. The research results were efficient and promoted the circular use of CW in PW treatment in addition to the possibility of reusing the treated effluent in agriculture and irrigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2132
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • circular economy
  • life cycle assessment
  • constructed wetland
  • sustainability
  • environment
  • resilience enhancement
  • industrial waste management
  • nature-based solutions
  • produced water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Energy
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Decision Sciences
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Building and Construction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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