Archive for August, 2009

Gravity Separation

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Most oil-treating equipment relies on gravity to separate water droplets from the oil continuous phase, because water droplets are heavier than the volume of oil they displace. However, gravity is resisted by a drag force caused by the droplets’ downward movement through the oil. When the two forces are equal, a constant velocity is reached, …

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Demulsifiers

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Chemical demulsifiers sold under various trade names, such as Tretolite ™, Visco™, and Breaxit™, are highly useful in resolving emulsions. Demulsifiers act to neutralize the effect of emulsifying agents. Typically, they are surface active agents and thus their excessive use can decrease the surface tension of water droplets and actually create more stable emulsions. There …

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Emulsifying Agent

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When thinking about emulsion stability, it may be helpful to realize that in a pure oil and pure water mixture, without an emulsifying agent, no amount of agitation will create an emulsion. If the pure oil and water are mixed and placed in a container, they quickly separate. The natural state is for the immiscible …

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Forming Emulsions

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For an emulsion to exist there must be two mutually immiscible liquids, an emulsifying agent, and sufficient agitation to disperse the discontinuous phase into the continuous phase. In oil production, oil and water are the two mutually immiscible liquids. An emulsifying agent in the form of small solid particles, paraffins, asphaltenes, etc., is almost always …

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Oil Treating System

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Removing water from crude oil often requires additional processing beyond gravitational separation. In selecting a treating system, several factors should be considered to determine the most desirable methods of treating the crude oil to contract requirements. Some of these factors are: 1. Tightness of the emulsion. 2. Specific gravity of the oil and produced water. …

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Horizontal Three Phase Separator Part 2

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Figure 5-3 shows an alternate configuration known as a “bucket and weir” design. This design eliminates the need for a liquid interface controller. Both the oil and water flow over weirs where level control is accomplished by a simple displacer float. The oil overflows the oil weir into an oil bucket where its level is …

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Horizontal Three Phase Separator Part 1

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Three phase separator are designed as either horizontal or vertical pressure vessel. Figure 5-2 is a schematic of a horizontal separator. The fluid enters the separator and hits an inlet diverter. This sudden change in momentum does the initial gross separation of liquid and vapor as discussed in Two Phase Separator. In most designs, the …

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Gas Lift

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We must comment a bit about gas lift systems because they are in widespread use and have a significant impact on the facility process. Figure 2-19 is a diagram of a gas lift system from the facility engineer’s perspective. High-pressure gas is injected into the well to lighten the column of fluid and allow the …

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Well Testing

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It is necessary to keep track of the gas, oil, and water production from each well to be able to manage the reserves properly, evaluate where further reserve potential may be found, and diagnose well problems as quickly as possible. Proper allocation of income also requires knowledge of daily production rates as the royalty or …

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Gas Dehydrator

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Removing most of the water vapor from the gas is required by most gas sales contracts, because it prevents hydrates from forming when the gas is cooled in the transmission and distribution systems and prevents water vapor from condensing and creating a corrosion problem. Dehydration also increases line capacity marginally. Most sales contracts in the …

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