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Design optimizes

production facility
A proposed design can improve a production facility that
handles sour crudes containing saline water. The design
provides low crude oil shrinkage during stabilization and
optimizes H2S removal, particularly in summer.
A project in the Middle East used the design, and this article
discusses a case study for the design based on a similar
Middle East crude and the same product specifications and
ambient temperatures as in the actual project.
The case discussed has slightly different oil shrinkage values
and cost savings than the actual project, but the final
conclusions are the same.
Production facilities
For more then a decade, companies have based the design of
production facilities for sour crude oil associated with saline
water cut on the integration of desalting, production, gas
gathering, and compression units.
Such integration has the advantage of further vapor recovery
(control of rpv over upper and lower bounds), use of very lowpressure gas instead of flaring, H2S removal, and energy
waste minimization all in one plant.
These production facilities have an optimized design based
on capital and operating costs that meet oil stabilization and
H2S-removal requirements.
These facilities typically have three-stage separation in which
the third stage is a column with the dual-purpose function of
H2S removal and crude stabilization.
In these designs, the recommended desalter location is
between the second and third-stage separators. This location
minimizes the energy required for reboosting the pressure at

the desalter, achieves maximum recovery, and prevents


fouling on stabilizer trays due to salt precipitation.
These facilities typically have used only a small proportion of
the associated gas from crude stabilization as fuel gas while
the rest is flared. Increases in gas prices, however, are now
encouraging oil companies to gather most of the associated
gas from the facilities and either inject it or use it for fuel.
Refineries also are dictating more stringent oil specifications
in terms of salinity and H2S content, and these requirements
have led upstream operators to modify many production
facilities as well as use those specifications to design new
projects.
Modifications include incorporating desalting, gas
compression, and injection within or downstream of the
production units. During the past decades, some projects
have integrated all these units (production, gas gathering,
injection, and desalting) to minimize the required energy as
well as increase on-spec oil production.
This article summarizes design aspects and benefits of an
integrated production facility when it is fed by a saline and
H2S-rich crude oil. An improvement to this new integrated
system is then proposed and evaluated against test cases.
Production facilities
Most conventional production facilities include a multistage
separation scheme based on sweet crude. The scheme
typically has three stages of separation, each with a different
operating pressure.
The hydraulic requirements of providing free flow towards
storage or production tanks without the need for installing
excessive pumping equipment usually determines the thirdstage pressure. The design normally bases the first and
second-stage pressures, however, on linear optimization
techniques.