BOOK_CONTENT
From Surface Production Operations: Design of Oil Handling Systems and Facilities, Volume One, Third Edition

Introduction

This chapter discusses the concepts, theory, and sizing equations for the separation of two immiscible liquid phases (in this case, those liquids are normally crude oil and produced water). The separator design concepts presented in Chapter 4 relate to the two-phase separation of liquid and gas and are applicable to the separation of gas that takes place in three-phase separators, gas scrubbers, and any other device in which gas is separated from a liquid phase.

When oil and water are mixed with some intensity and then allowed to settle, a layer of relatively clean free water will appear at the bottom. The growth of this water layer with time will follow a curve as shown in Figure 5-1. After a period of time, ranging anywhere from 3 minutes to 30 minutes, the change in the water height will be negligible. The water fraction, obtained from gravity settling, is called "free water." It is normally beneficial to separate the free water before attempting to treat the remaining oil and emulsion layers.


Figure 5-1: Growth of water layer with time.

"Three-phase separator" and "free-water knockout" are terms used to describe pressure vessels that are designed to separate and remove the free water from a mixture of crude oil and water. Because flow normally enters these vessels directly from either (1) a producing well or (2) a separator operating at a higher pressure, the vessel must be designed to separate the gas that flashes from the liquid as well as separate the...

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Topics of Interest

Introduction Chapters 4 and 5 discuss the concepts for determining the diameter and length of two-phase and three-phase vertical and horizontal separators. This chapter addresses the selection of...

Introduction The job of a production facility is to separate the well stream into three components, typically called "phases" (oil, gas, and water), and process these phases into some marketable...

Metering station is an important part of oil field. It is responsible for the three-phase metering of the liquid, oil and gas of each well, and provides oil reservoir engineering information for oil...

Introduction When hydrocarbons (crude oil, condensate, and natural gas) are produced, the well stream typically contains water produced in association with these hydrocarbons. The produced water is...

Overview Absorbent: Liquid used to remove specific components from a gas stream. Common examples are TEG to remove water; absorption oil to recover heavy hydrocarbons from natural gas; and amines to...