Dec. 24, 2021


Ulrich Emmer

Oman

Ulrich Emmer

Managing Director, BAUER Nimr LLC

BAUER Nimr's water treatment plant has proven to be extremely successful and is a significant milestone in having a more sustainable oil and gas industry in Oman.

BIO

Ulrich Emmer is the Managing Director of BAUER Nimr LLC in Muscat. He studied civil engineering at the Technical University of Munich and holds a university diploma. He started his career in Germany with Bauer Spezialtiefbau in the construction sector. He spent most of his professional career in the Middle East, advancing from a project manager up to executive level for various subsidiaries of the Bauer Group. He also worked on construction projects in Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Africa in senior positions. In 2019, he joined the environmental sector as the Managing Director of BAUER Nimr.


How does BAUER Nimr contribute to the sustainable future of the Sultanate?

The first is the Nimr water treatment plant (NWTP), a flagship project for Bauer Nimr and PDO in Oman. NWTP is a biological water treatment facility, with an area of 1,300ha, or the size of 1,800 soccer fields. Each day, we have the capacity to treat 175,000cbm of produced water, which is equivalent to the sewage of a city of 1 million people. It is a big achievement for the oil and gas industry here to make it more sustainable on its environmental impacts. Apart from that, we offer treatment of sewage water from cities as well. Another service Bauer Nimr provides is waste management to collect the waste to avoid dumping it into in an uncontrolled manner. So it can be disposed of in an organized way. We offer that with both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Additionally, soil remediation to clean contaminated soils is another service we render, which also reduces the negative impact on the environment. Further, treatment of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) is part of our portfolio. NORM comes mainly from oil drilling operations; for example, the drill rods and cuttings bear traces of a slight natural radioactivity, so they need to be treated together with the soil cuttings in order to take away the hazards. We are also conducting research on bio-saline agriculture to reuse the water that comes from Nimr to determine if it can be used for irrigation in farms. Another important part of our strategy is Omanization, and we are not only fulfilling the requirements but even exceeding them. In that way, we also support the country by employing Omani nationals and training them for the future.

How important are partnerships with public institutions and private companies across the Sultanate in helping BAUER achieve its goals?

Partnerships are extremely important for us because the majority of environmental projects require tailor-made solutions. The solutions have to be developed with the client. Usually, we carry out a desktop research project, then a field trial, and then we transfer the results on a larger scale to resolve the issues. We are grateful to PDO because in 2008 when the Nimr water plant was given the green light, it was a huge step for PDO as such a plant has never been built and operated before. PDO believed in the system and process, and it has proven to be extremely successful. We started on Phase I with 45,000cbm, Phase II with another 50,000cbm, and now in Phase III we have the capacity to treat 175,000cbm. Oman is a role model worldwide in this aspect. This was not due to PDO alone, but also with the help of the environmental authorities. Oman is keen to have a sustainable approach to the environment. In addition, communications and good relationships with be'ah, Haya, OQ, and so on are important to discuss and implement new ideas to reduce adverse impacts on the environment

How do you advance the local economy by investing in local research projects?

The reuse of water is one of the main subjects at the moment in Oman, because usable water as a resource is getting tight and 120,000cbm of treated water are coming out of the wetlands every day, so just evaporating it does not feel right. That is why we have the agriculture research project, and we are searching for ways with PDO to scale it up. For example, we can improve ICV by providing this water to local SMEs so they can build a farm with salt-resistant crops like Kuwaiti trees, cotton, castor or salicornia for biofuel production. BAUER in cooperation with SBRC was the first company to provide biofuel for a flight between Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam. Such research creates job opportunities and revenues, especially in remote areas where employment opportunities do not happen often. Another point is tourism, which Oman wants to push. There are beautiful landscapes in the country, and we can provide solutions for wastewater treatment in camping and glamping sites. The ReedBox is a mini wetland in a container and has been successfully used in camps for the oil and gas industry for sewage treatment. It is mobile and can be set up and running in 24 hours. The treated water can be used for irrigation after it is treated. This also will help Oman diversify from the oil and gas sector.

How are you applying research and innovation to adapt to an ever-changing reality?

Bauer Resources has competence centers in different areas of the world. The wetland competence center is located in Muscat, so all projects regarding wetlands are channeled here to Oman, and our team works on solutions with potential clients. BAUER Nimr has all the required expertise in design, environment, and botany to provide that service. We have another competence center in the UAE for waste management, soil remediation, and NORM treatment. The important thing is to always keep in touch with the clients to understand their needs related to their environmental targets and further see what we can work on to improve our current solutions. With regard to our objectives, one of our visions is the concept of a circular economy. On the example of the Nimr Wetland. The biomass produced there can be composted to produce biogas, which can be used for power generation. You can also use compost for agriculture as a fertilizer and use the water for shrimp farming. All of this creates market value and reduces CO2 emissions. The objective of the circular economy is mainly to not produce waste and reuse everything originating from the original facility.