Challenges in Oil & Water Separation

There are a lot of challenges in Oil & Water Separation. A normal problem is that the operator has challenges due to stable emulsions causing oil water separation problems

There are a lot of challenges in Oil & Water Separation. A normal problem is that the operator has challenges due to stable emulsions causing oil water separation problems and difficulties to meet the oil specification with respect to water & salt content in the oil, and the oil content in the produced water. Increased chemical consumption (demulsifier) and energy consumption (in the heat exchangers) are well known ways to try to overcome the separation problems, however, this will have a huge impact on the operational costs. In the worst cases it is impossible to reach the design capacity and the operators have to decrease the throughput to meet oil export quality.

Our experience shows that the high pressure drop in some of the flowlines from the wells to inlet header will generate distribution of very small water droplet in the oil phase which will have an impact on the efficiency of oil water separation in the three phase separators “The separation of the oil and water in the three phase separators is based on sedimentation velocity described by Stokes law”.

With emulsion problems inside the production separator, it is difficult for operators to monitor & maintain proper interface levels, and high amounts of oil in water outlet as well as Water/Oil carryover in gas stream are well know problems.

By introducing the VIEC technology, the separation process will always be improved. The advantage of this improved separation can be realized in several possible ways like e.g. higher liquid production, better oil quality, better water quality, and improved control, reduced chemical consumption or reduced heating requirement. It is the Operator’s choice to decide which benefit to focus on.

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