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DIn oil and gas separator design, we mechanically separate from a hydrocarbon stream the liquid and gas components that exist at a specific temperature and pressure. DSeparators are classified as "two-phase" if they separate gas from the total liquid stream and "threephase" if they also separate the liquid stream into its crude oil and water components. DSeparators are designed in either vertical, or spherical configurations. horizontal,

Horizontal Separator

Vertical Separator

spherical Separator

PRINCIPLES OF SEPAEATION DThe fluid enters the separator and hits an inlet diverter causing a sudden change in momentum. The initial gross separation of liquid and vapor occurs at the inlet diverter. DThe force of gravity causes the liquid droplets to fall out of the gas stream to the bottom of the vessel where it is collected.( liquid collection section) DThe liquid collection section provides the retention time required to let entrained gas evolve out of the oil and rise to the vapor space. The liquid then leaves the vessel through the liquid dump valve. The liquid dump valve is regulated by a level controller.

. or just about anything that will accomplish a rapid change in direction and velocity of the fluids and thus disengage the gas and liquid.DThe gas flows over the inlet diverter and then horizontally through the gravity settling section above the liquid. flat plate. small drops of liquid that were entrained in the gas and not separated by the inlet diverter are separated out by gravity and fall to the gas liquid interface. As the gas flows through this section. SEPARATOR INTERNALS 1-Inlet Diverters There are two main types of inlet diverters are: i-Baffle plates ii-Centrifugal diverters DA baffle plate can be a spherical dish. cone. angle iron.

DIVERTER BAFFLE TANGENTIAL BAFFLE .

Centrifugal diverters work well in initial gas separation and help to prevent foaming in crude¶s. 2-Wave Breakers In long horizontal vessels it is necessary to install wave breakers. .DCentrifugal inlet diverters use centrifugal force to disengage the oil and gas. which are nothing more than vertical baffles spanning the gas-liquid interface and perpendicular to the flow.

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They are routed to the liquid collection section of the vessel. centrifugal force devices. or packing. vanes. droplets impinge on the plate surface where they coalesce and fall to a liquid collecting spot. DWire mesh pads are made of finely woven mats of stainless steel wire wrapped into a tightly packed cylinder. DVane eliminators force the gas flow to be laminar between parallel plates that contain directional changes. . In vane eliminators.3-Mist Extractor Mist extractors can be made of wire mesh. The liquid droplets impinge on the matted wires and coalesce.

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. they are not in common use in production operations because their removal efficiencies are sensitive to small changes in flow. In addition. These can be more efficient than either wire mesh or vanes and are the least susceptible to plugging. they require relatively large pressure drops to create the centrifugal force.DCentrifugal mist eliminators that cause the liquid drops to be separated by centrifugal force. However.

CENTRIFUGAL MIST ELIMINATORS .

The packing acts as a coalesces. .D Random packing is sometimes used for mist extraction.

THE ADVANTAGES OF EACH TYPE OF SEPARATOR: 1-VERTICAL SEPARATOR XLiquid level control not as critical. . XCheaper than vertical separator. 2-HORIZONTAL SEPARATOR XSuccessfully used in handling foaming crude. XWill handle large quantities of sand. XEasier to clean. XIs smaller plot area. XHas greater liquid surge capacity.

XSmaller diameter for a given gas capacity. XMore compact than other types .XMore economical an efficient for processing large volumes of gas. XMore flexible choice of nozzle arrangement. XBetter clean out and bottom drain features than vertical type. 3-SPHERICAL SEPARATOR XCheaper than either horizontal or vertical separator.

etc. average. sand.) Foaming tendencies of the crude oil Corrosive tendencies of the liquids or gas .SEPARATOR DESIGN PROCEDURES FACTORS AFFECTING SEPARATION The following factors must be determined before separator design: Gas and liquid flow rates (minimum. scale. and peak) Operating and design pressures and temperatures Surging or slugging tendencies of the feed streams Physical properties of the fluids such as density and compressibility Presence of impurities (paraffin.

1-Procedures for sizing horizontal separators For sizing a horizontal separator it is necessary to choose a vessel length and a diameter.For gas capacity : that allow the liquid drops to fall from the gas to the liquid volume. This choice must satisfy the conditions: 1. Step 1: Tabulate the physical properties of the fluids to be separated . 2.For sufficient retention : to allow the liquid to reach equilibrium.

For gas capacity: . Step 4: Estimate vessel length (L) i. d and Le . that satisfy the gas capacity constraint. that satisfy the retention time constraint.Step 2: Calculate values of. Step 3: Calculate values of. vessel internal diameter(d) and effective length (Le ) .

ii. MMscfd QL =Liquid flow rate . bpd dm =Liquid drop to be separated . lb/ft3 rL = Density of liquid . min rg = Density of gas . 0R P = Operating pressure . ft T = Operating temperature. lb/ft3 . micron CD = Drag coefficient tr =Desired retention time for the liquid.For liquid capacity: Step 5: Calculate slenderness ratios (SR) ³ select a size of reasonable diameter and length for (SR) on order of 3 to 4 are common´ Where: d= Vessel internal diameter. psia Qg =Gas flow rate. in Le= Effective length of the vessel where separation occurs.

Example: Sizing a horizontal separator: Given: Gas flow rate =10 MMscfd Liquid flow rate =2000 bpd Operation pressure =1000 psia Operation temperature =600F Density of gas =3.013 cp Gas compressibility = 0.71 lb/ft3 Density of liquid =51.84 Liquid drop = 140 micron Retention time =3 min Drag coefficient =0.5 lb/ft3 Oil viscosity = 0.851 Find: Vessel length and diameter .

Solution: 1-Calculate Le and d for gas capacity 2. 42 ] .Calculate (SR) .Calculate L based on large value of Le 5. and calculate Le for gas and liquid capacity.Calculate Le and d for liquid capacity 3-Assume d. 30. 36. [ 24. 4.

81 36 .94 1.95 Liquid (Le) 14.94 6.84 12.81 6.61 4.69 6.92 5.52 6.66 1.11 0.85 6-We choose L and d based on (SR): By interpolation : SR L d 5.84 30 4 L d 2.08 2.86 L 19.48 SR=12L/d 9.33 1.88 9.08 12.d 24 30 36 42 Gas (Le) 1.

i-For length: ii-For diameter: .

Any diameter greater than the minimum required for gas capacity can be chosen. . ii.2-Procedures for sizing vertical separators In vertical separators: i.The liquid retention time requirement specifies a combination of diameter and liquid volume height.A minimum diameter must be maintained to allow liquid drops to separate turn the vertically moving gas. Step 1: Tabulate the physical properties of the fluids to be separated. iii.

Step 3: Assume diameter greater than the minimum diameter required for gas capacity . .Step 2: Calculate minimum diameter based on gas capacity . Step 4: Compute combinations of diameter (d) and height of the liquid volume (h) for variant¶s assume diameter based on liquid capacity constrain.

Step 6: Calculate slenderness ratios (SR) ³ select a size of reasonable diameter and length for (SR) on order of 3 to 4 are common´ . Where: d is the minimum diameter for gas capacity .Step 5: Compute length (L) .

5 lb/ft3 Oil viscosity = 0.84 Liquid drop = 140 micron Retention time =3 min Drag coefficient =0.013 cp Gas compressibility = 0.71 lb/ft3 Density of liquid =51.Example: Sizing a vertical separator: Given: Gas flow rate =10 MMscfd At 0.851 Find: Vessel length and diameter .6 specific gravity Liquid flow rate =2000 bpd At 40 API Operation pressure =1000 psia Operation temperature =600F Density of gas =3.

Solution: Minimum diameter for gas capacity 2.Assume diameter [24 . 42 ] 3-Compute combinations of diameter (d) and height of the liquid volume (h) . 36.30.

Choose: Diameter=36 in Length=9.80 55.Tr (min) 3 d (in) 24 30 36 42 h (in) 86.60 28.55=10 ft .56 38.38 3.18 2.96 9.57 10.35 L=(h+76)/12 (ft) 13.69 SR=12L/d 6.55 8.79 4.48 4.

THREE-PHASE OIL AND GAS SEPARATION Three ± phase separator are designed as either horizontal or vertical pressure vessels 1-Horizontal Separator .

¡The inlet diverter contains a down comer that directs the liquid flow below the oil/water interface. . This forces the inlet mixture of oil and water to mix with the water continuous phase in the bottom of the vessel and rise through the oil/water interface. This sudden change in momentum does the initial gross separation of liquid and vapor ." and it promotes the coalescence of water droplets which are entrained in the oil continuous phase. This process is called "water-washing.PRINCIPLES OF SEPAEATION ¡Fluid enters the separator and hits an inlet diverter.

¡The weir maintains the oil level and the level controller maintains the water level. . The level of the oil downstream of the weir is controlled by a level controller that operates the oil valve.¡The liquid collecting section of the vessel provides sufficient time so that the oil and emulsion form a layer or "oil pad" at the top. ¡An interface level controller senses the height of the oil/water interface. The controller sends a signal to the water pump valve thus allowing the correct amount of water to leave the vessel so that the oil/water interface is maintained at the design height. The free water settles to the bottom.

.¡The gas flows horizontally and out through a mist extractor to a pressure control valve that maintains constant vessel pressure. This design eliminates the need for a liquid interface controller. ³Both 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 controlled by a level controller that operates the oil valve. The level downstream of this weir is controlled by a level controller that operates the water dump valve. Alternate configuration known as a "bucket and weir" design. The level of the gas/oil interface can vary from half the diameter to 75% of the diameter depending on the relative importance of liquid/gas separation. The water flows under the oil bucket and then over a water weir.

HORIZONTAL SEPARATOR [bucket and weir design] .

³It is critical to the operation of the vessel that the water weir height be sufficiently below the oil weir height so that the oil pad thickness provides sufficient oil retention time. . either the oil or the water weir is made adjustable so that changes in oil/water specific gravities or flow rates can be accommodated. ³If the water weir is too low and the difference in specific gravity is not as great as anticipated. Normally. then the oil pad could grow in thickness to a point where oil will be swept under the oil box and out the water outlet.

³To obtain a desired oil pad height. which is calculated by: . the water weir should be set a distance below the oil weir.

Setting the pressure at point A Where: Dh = distance below the oil weir. in. lb/ft3 . r0 = oil density. h0 = desired oil pad height. in. lb/ft3 rw = water density.

in heavy oil applications or where large amounts of emulsion or paraffin are anticipated it may be difficult to sense interface level. Vertical Separator .³However. In such a case bucket and weir control is recommended.

A chimney is needed to equalize gas pressure between the lower section and the gas section. Similarly. the water flows downward and oil droplets trapped in the water phase tend to rise countercurrent to the water flow. ÃThe spreader or down comer outlet is located at the oil-water interface. ÃA down comer is required to transmit the liquid through the oil-gas interface . . the inlet diverter separates the bulk of the gas. ÃThe water droplets flow countercurrent to the oil. From this point as the oil rises any free water trapped within the oil phase separates out.ÃFlow enters the vessel through the side as in the horizontal separator.

Step1: Select oil retention time (tr)0 and water retention time (tr)w .SEPARATOR DESIGN PROCEDURES 1-Horizontal Separators For sizing a horizontal three-phase separator it is necessary to specify a vessel diameter and a seam-toseam vessel length. The gas capacity and retention time considerations establish certain acceptable combinations of diameter and length. The need to settle 500-micron water droplets from the oil establishes a maximum diameter.

(ho)max .Step2: Calculate maximum oil pad thickness. allow the water droplets to settle out time (tr)0 . Step3: Calculate the fraction of the vessel cross sectional area occupied by the water phase. Step4: Calculate maximum diameter for oil pad thickness constraint .

Step5: Calculate combination of d and Le for d less than dmax that satisfy the oil and water retention time constraint Step6: Estimate vessel length Step7: Calculate slenderness ratios (SR)=(12L/d) ³ select a size of reasonable diameter and length for (SR) on order of 3 to 5 are common´ .

013 cp Oil Retention time =10 min Water Retention time =10 min Find: Vessel length and diameter .07 (water phase) Oil viscosity = 0.Example: Sizing a Horizontal Three-Phase Separator Given: Gas flow rate =5 MMscfd Oil flow rate =5000 bpd Water flow rate =3000 bpd Operation pressure =100 psia Operation temperature =900F Oil =300API Specific gravity =1.

Calculate maximum oil pad thickness 3-Calculate maximum diameter for oil pad thickness constraint .Solution: 1-Calculate difference in specific gravities 2.

Calculate combination of d and Le .4.

49 1.55 2.d(in) 60 70 80 90 100 Le(ft) 31.07 30.75 14.82 5.15 (12L/d) 8.67 18.36 L=(4/3Le) (ft) 42.18 17.70 15.91 23.56 23.30 3.Possible choices [ 80 in x 24 ft] .42 5.02 11.

. Step 1: Calculate minimum diameter from requirement for water droplets to fall through oil layer.2-Vertical Separators BA minimum diameter must be maintained to assure adequate gas capacity. BThe height of the three phase separator is determined from retention time consideration. Use 500micron droplets if no other information is available.

Step 2: Calculate minimum diameter from requirement for oil droplets to fall through gas. Use 100-micron droplets if no other information is available. Step 3: Choose the larger of the two as minimum diameter Step 4: DSelect oil retention time (tr)0 and water retention time (tr)w DEstimate the height of oil pad (h0) and height from water outlet to interface (hw) for various diameter (d) .

Step 5: Estimate the vessel length (L) Step 6: Select a size of reasonable diameter and length.= Difference in specific gravities dm= Liquid drop to be separated .bpd m = Viscosity . Where: Qw= Water flow rate . .bpd Q0= Oil flow rate . cp DS.G. Slenderness ratios (12 L/d) on the order of 1. microns.5 to 3 are common.

MMscfd CD= Drag coefficient P=Operating pressure. min (tr)w= Water retention time. min d= Vessel diameter . in hw= Height from water outlet to interface. psia rg=Density of gas . in (tr)0= Oil retention time. in L= vessel length. 0R Z= Gas compressibility Qg= Gas flow rate. ft .T= Operating temperature.lb/ft3 h0= Height of oil pad.lb/ft3 rl=Density of liquid.

89 Find: Vessel length and diameter .6 Specific gravity of water =1.Example: Sizing a Vertical Three-Phase Separator Given: Gas flow rate =5 MMscfd Oil flow rate =5000 bpd Water flow rate =3000 bpd Operation pressure =100 psia Operation temperature =900F Oil =300API Gas specific gravity =0.84 Drag coefficient =0.07 Oil viscosity = 10 cp Oil Retention time =10 min Water Retention time =10 min Gas compressibility = 0.

Solution: 1. . Calculate liquid and gas densities.

Calculate minimum diameter to satisfy gas capacity constraint.Calculate difference in specific gravities.2. . 3.

Calculate minimum diameter for water droplet settling.4. 5-Estimate the height of oil pad (h0) and height from water outlet to interface (hw) .

6 2.2 17.3 72.2 2. .Choose a reasonable size: A 90-in. X 18-ft or a 96-in.3 64.4 17.1 L (ft) 18.2 SR=12L/d 2. and h0 + hw for diameters greater than minimum diameter d (in) 84 90 96 102 h0 + hw (in) 94. X 17-ft size would be a reasonable choice.7 17.0 7.6.5 82.4 2. Compute combinations of d.

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