Two PhD positions on Chemical Characterization and Environmental Impact Assessment of Produced Water from Offshore Installations

Friday 16 Oct 20

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Individual research projects 

The Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre (DHRTC), Technical University of Denmark (DTU), invites applicants for two PhD positions on chemical characterization and environmental impact assessment of produced water. These two positions are closely linked within the same project and is part of a larger project portfolio relating to management of produced water from Danish North Sea Chalk reservoirs. DHRTC was established by the Danish Underground Consortium and DTU in 2014 as part of a national strategy for energy, the research Centre is an ambitious, targeted effort to improve recovery of hydrocarbons from the Danish North Sea sector. When crude oil is produced large amounts of water is produced along with the petroleum fluid. This water is contaminated from contact with crude oil and production additives. DHRTC has initiated a research program with a focus on solutions to the ambition of zero harmful discharge through improved produced water management.  The solutions developed in this program will target industrial and environmental challenges with produced water management and further be applicable to water treatment technology, geothermal energy and subsurface storage technologies in general.


Project 1 – Characterization of dissolved crude oil constituents in crude oil
This project will focus on the detailed characterization of specific target compounds and compound classes by spectroscopic techniques (IR and UV) and high resolution mass spectrometry (2D GC-TOF-MS and LC-HRMS). The goal is to understand the type of constituents that are present in the water phase in produced water from oil fields with particular focus on surface active compounds, including production chemicals, that are most active at interfaces or surfaces and are potentially challenging for disposal and discharge to sea. Produced water is the dominant waste generated in the offshore oil and gas industry. It contains both inorganic, e.g. heavy metals and radioactive material, and organic compounds in the form of dissolved and/or dispersed oil. Samples of produced water from off-shore wells will be available for the project and the focus will be on the analytical challenges with these complex samples to extract quantitative information about the individual species, particularly polar species in solution.

Project 2 – Improved environmental impact assessment of petroleum constituents in produced water 
This project aims at developing an improved assessment tool for quantifying environmental impact from offshore oil production. The project will target the dissolved petroleum constituents in produced water, which are separated from the oil stream and are discharged to sea. In many cases the volume of produced water exceeds the produced oil volume and this water contains varying amounts of petroleum constituents and remnants of production chemicals, many of which fall into chemical classes that are of potential concern for further treatment of produced water (e.g. surfactants, phenols, poly-aromatics, metals and oil droplets in water (OIW)). The project will initially focus on analytical characterization of petroleum constituents in produced water, together with Project 1, with the aim of improving the basis for environmental impact assessment of produced water. An improved environmental impact assessment relies on monitoring of the actual concentrations of pollutants in the PW in order to compare with threshold values and toxicology studies which are ongoing as part of the produced water project portfolio. The second goal of the project will be on identifying key contaminants in produced water which can potentially be monitored off-shore in situ measurements, and eventually on-line in the production stream and identifying and testing appropriate real-time monitoring techniques.

The project will involve close collaboration with partner laboratories at DTU Environment and with the produced water monitoring projects ongoing at DHRTC. 

Applicable for all scholarships

Qualifications
Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree in environmental, physical or analytical chemistry or similar fields. 


Exceptional skills and interest in analytical experimental, physical and analytical chemistry; 

  • Experience with and interest in environmental chemistry;
  • Experience from MSc level with high resolution mass spectrometry, IR spectroscopy, chemometrics and separation techniques (especially for Project 1);
  • Some knowledge of environmental science and environmental impact assessment desirable (especially for Project 2);
  • Strong interest in applied research;
  • Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment;
  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English;

Approval and Enrolment 
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

We offer 
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms 
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years, starting from 1 February 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here. 

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Karen Feilberg, email: klfe@dtu.dk,  tel.: +45 9351420. 

You can read about the scientific basis for the centre’s activities here: www.oilgas.dtu.dk/english/Research

Application 
Please submit your online application no later than 30 November 2020 (local time)
Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet herein the right hand column)

In the field “Please indicate which position(s) you would like to apply for”, please indicate which project you are applying for (title from the above list of PhD projects or individual research projects).

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. 

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered. 

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

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