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Chapter 8. Separating and Treating Well Fluids. Chapter 8 Separating and Treating Well Fluids. Principles and Operation of Production Separators. ─ Gas, oil and water separation was achieved by the difference in gravity, or weight, of each fluid.

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Chapter 8
Chapter 8

Separating and Treating Well Fluids

Principles and operation of production separators
Principles and Operation of Production Separators

─ Gas, oil and water separation was achieved by

the difference in gravity, or weight, of each fluid.

─ Production separator do the same job, except they

are built to handle a continuous-flow stream and

have features to improve separation efficiency

under flow conditions.

Three general types of separators
Three general types of separators

─ Horizontal separator

─ for high-pressure and medium-pressure service

─ Vertical separator

─ for low-pressure service (generally)

─ Spherical separator

─ more compact and cheaper

─ limited separation space and liquid surge capacity

─ for low-volume remote platforms

Separation methods
Separation methods

─ Stage separation method

─ Low-temperature separation method

Stage separation method two stage separation
Stage separation method (two stage separation)

Any number of separators may be used in stage separation as long as stage operates at successively lower pressures.

Low temperatures separation method
Low-temperatures separation method

  • It is used to handle the production from high-pressure gas wells

  • Well fluids – a mixture of gas & some light liquids

  • Dehydration – the removal of water vapor from gas

Low temperature separation method
Low-temperature separation method

For high-pressure gas wells (well fluids: mixture of gas and some light liquids)

─ Dehydration to remove water vapor from gas


  • Water and oil are immiscible.

  • These two liquids will form an emulsion only

    (1) if there is sufficient agitation to disperse one liquid as

    droplets in the other , and

    (2) if there is an emulsifying agent , or emulsifier , present.

  • Emulsifying agents – asphalt 瀝青 柏油

    resinous substances

    oil-soluble organic acids.

Chapter 8

  • Stable emulsion – will not break down into its components

    without some form of treating.

  • Emulsion – tight (difficult to break) or loose (easy to break)

    Depending on –

    (1) the properties of the oil & water

    (2) the percentage of each found in the emulsion

    (3) type and amount of emulsifier present .

Water removal
Water removal


─Treatment of free-water Free water knock out (FWKO)

─Treatment of oil-water or water-oil emulsion




(4)Combination of these (heater- treater)

flow treater or emulsion treated

(5)Gun barrel or wash tank if emulsion is not stable

Application of heat
Application of heat

  • One theory assumes that very small droplets, like those found in emulsions, are in constant motion even when the emulsion itself is not rest .

    Application of heat

    (1) Heat increases the movement are makes the droplets strike each other with greater force and frequency.

    (2) Heat also reduces the viscosity – the resistance to flow – of the oil.

    Heater (加熱器)

    (1) direct heater

    (2) Indirect heater—water bath (fig5.22 P.161)

Application of chemicals
Application of chemicals

  • One theory suggests that chemical should be used strictly to neutralize the emulsifying agent.

    Thus, to break a water-in-oil emulsion,

    another emulsifying agent to produce oil-in-water emulsion

    should be added.

  • Another theory suggests the chemicals should make the film of emulsifying agent around the water droplet in a water-in-oil emulsion very rigid.

    Thus, to break rigid film

    apply heat or

    add chemical.

Heater treater

  • also called a flow treater or an emulsion treater.

  • Heater-treater (or call flow treater, or emulsion treater)

    • apply the effects of

      Chemicals, heat , settling, and often electricity

  • Any or all of the following elements may be included in a treater:

    • oil-gas separator,

    • free-water knockout,

    • heater,

    • water, wash, filter section,

    • stabilizing section,

    • heat exchanger, and

    • electrostatic field.


  • Treater can be operator at atmospheric pressure,

    often be operated under low working pressure.

     A low-pressure, second-stage separator as well as

    treating unit.

    When flow-line pressure are low, it can be used as a

    primary separator thus eliminating the need for a regular

    separator. (fig 5.25, P.164)

Treating natural gas
Treating natural gas

  • Field processing of natural gas consist of four basic processes:

  • the gas must be separated from free liquids such as crude oil, hydrocarbon condensate, water , and entrained solids,

    (2) the gas must be processed to remove condensable and recoverable H.C. vapors

    (3) the gas must be treated to remove condensable water vapor, which might cause hydrate formation

    (4) the gas must be treated to remove other undesirable components, such as hydrogen sulfide or carbon dioxide.

Treating natural gas1
Treating Natural Gas

The primary treatments for natural gas involve

(1)prevention of hydrate formation


Hydrate inhibitor: ammonia


glycol (乙二醇)

methanol (甲醇)


absorption (吸收) – Liquid 乾燥劑

adsorption (吸附) – Solid 乾燥劑

(3)The removal of undesirable components (H2O、CO)

Alkanolamine process

Iron-sponge process

Glycol/amine process

Sulfinol process

Molecular-sieve removal

Removal of undesirable components
Removal of undesirable components

  • Alkanolamine process

    -- It is a continuous-operation liquid process that uses absorption for the acid-gas removal, with subsequent heat addition to string the acid-gas component from absorbent solution.

  • Other processes that are used to removal H2S & CO2 are

    The Iron-sponge process,

    The glycol/amine process,

    The sulfinol process, and

    The molecular-sieve removal.

Chapter 8

  • Casinghead gas

    -- gas produced with oil from an oil well.

  • Residue gas

    -- any gas suitable for as commercial natural gas that comes

    from a processing plant.

  • Sweet gas

    --the content of hydrogen sulfide, other sulfur compounds,

    and carbon dioxide is low enough that gas may be sold

    commercially without further effort to remove these


  • Sour gas

    --the opposite of sweet gas.

Types of natural gas liquids
Types of Natural Gas Liquids

  • Commercial propane (丙烷)

    -- propane and/or propylene (at least 95%)

    -- vapor pressure < 215 psig at 100 0F

  • Commercial Butane (丁烷)

    -- butanes and/or Butane (at least 95%)

    -- vapor pressure < 70 psig at 100 0F

    -- At least 95% must evaporate at 34 0F or lower in a

    standard test.

  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

    -- A mixture of commercial propane and commercial butane.

    -- maximum vapor pressure < 215 psig at 100 0F

    At least 95% must evaporate at 34 0F or lower in a

    standard test.

Types of natural gas liquids1
Types of Natural Gas Liquids

  • Natural Gasoline

    --This petroleum product is extracted from natural gas


    • Vapor pressure:10-34psi

    • Percentage evaporated at 140 F: 24-85%

    • Percentage evaporated at 275 F: not less the 90%

The storage system1
The Storage System

Stock tanks (or storage tanks)

─Tank battery

─separation equipment

treating equipment tank battery

storage facilities

─stock tanks Bolted steel tank – 500 bbls or larger; assembled on location

Welded steel tank – 90 bbl to several thousand bbls; welded in a shop and then transported as a complete unit to the site

─Vapor Recovery System

─LACT (Lease automatic custody transfer) unit

Oil sampling thief – sampling method

Botlle – sampling method

Gas sampling

Chapter 8