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Important Petroleum

absorption
Espaol | English
1. n . [Geophysics]
The conversion of one form of energy into another as the energy passes through a medium.
For example, seismic waves are partially converted to heat as they pass through rock.
See: absorption band, attenuation, Q, wave
2. n . [Production Facilities]
The property of some liquids or solids to soak up water or other fluids. The natural
gas dehydration process uses glycols (liquids) that absorb the water vapor to finally obtain
dehydrated gas. In the same way, light oil, also called absorption oil, is used to remove the
heavier liquid hydrocarbons from a wet gas stream to obtain dry gas.

acid gas
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A gas that can form acidic solutions when mixed with water. The most common acid gases
are hydrogen sulfide [H 2 S] and carbon dioxide [CO 2 ] gases. Both gases cause corrosion;
hydrogen sulfide is extremely poisonous. Hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide gases are
obtained after a sweetening process applied to a sour gas.

as delivered BTU
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The number of BTUs in a cubic foot of natural gas. The natural gas heat energy (BTU) will
depend mainly on its water content at the delivered pressure and temperature conditions.

as-delivered BTU
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The number of BTUs in a cubic foot of natural gas. The natural gas heat energy (BTU) will
depend mainly on its water content at the delivered pressure and temperature conditions.

absorption oil

Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A light liquid hydrocarbon used to absorb or remove the heavier liquid hydrocarbons from
a wet gas stream. Absorption oil is also called wash oil.

adsorption
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities, Enhanced Oil Recovery]
The property of some solids and liquids to attract a liquid or a gas to their surfaces. Some
solids, such as activated charcoal or silica gel, are used as surfaces of adhesion to
gather liquid hydrocarbons from a natural gas stream. To complete the process, the solids
are treated with steam to recover the liquid hydrocarbons.

carry over
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A phenomenon in which free liquid leaves with the gas phase at the top of
a separator. Carryover can indicate high liquid level, damage of the separator or plugged
liquid valves at the bottom of the separator.

compressor
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A device that raises the pressure of air or natural gas. A compressor normally uses
positive displacement to compress the gas to higher pressures so that the gas can flow into
pipelines and other facilities.

cut oil
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A crude oil that contains water, normally in the form of an emulsion. The emulsion must be
treated inside heaters using chemicals, which will break the mixture into its individual
components (water and crude oil).

cycle gas

Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A gas that is compressed and injected back to the reservoir. In gas-condensate reservoirs,
after the liquids or condensate are recovered at the surface, the residue gas (dry gas) is
returned to the reservoir to maintain pressure. This prevents retrograde condensation, which
will form unrecoverable liquid hydrocarbons in the reservoir.

carryover
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A phenomenon in which free liquid leaves with the gas phase at the top of a separator.
Carryover can indicate high liquid level, damage of the separator or plugged liquid
valves at the bottom of the separator.

compressor plant
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A facility consisting of many compressors, auxiliary treatment equipment and pipeline
installations to pump natural gas under pressure over long distances. A compressor
plant is also called a compressor station. Several compressor stations can be used to
repressurize gas in large interstate gas pipelines or to link offshore gas fields to their
final terminals.

cycle condensate
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A condensate (liquid hydrocarbon) produced at surface from cycle gas.

cycling plant
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
An oilfield installation used when producing from a gas-condensate reservoir. In a
cycling plant, the liquids are extracted from the natural gas and then the remaining dry
gas is compressed and returned to the producing formation to maintain reservoir
pressure. This process increases the ultimate recovery of liquids.

compression ratio
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The ratio of the volume of an engines cylinder at the beginning of the compression to
its volume at the end of the compression process. For example, a cylinder with a
volume of 20 cubic inches before compression and 1 cubic inch as its final volume
after compression has a compression ratio of 20:1.

DEA unit
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A treating system used to remove hydrogen sulfide [H 2 S], carbon dioxide [CO 2 ] and
carbonyl sulfide from a gas stream. The acid gases are absorbed by the diethanolamine
(DEA), and sweet gas leaves at the top of the absorber.

desiccant
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A substance used in a gas-dehydration unit to remove water and moisture. The
desiccant can be liquid, such as methanol, glycol (ethylene, diethylene, triethylene, and
tetraethylene). Desiccants also can be solid, such as silica gel or calcium chloride
[CaCl 2 ]. The most common gas-dehydration system (glycol dehydrator) uses liquid
desiccants such as diethylene, triethylene and tetraethylene, which are substances that
can be regenerated. Regeneration means that the water absorbed by these substances
can be separated from them. Some liquid desiccants such as methanol or ethylene
cannot be regenerated. Solid desiccants are also used for gas dehydration. They are
placed as beds through which wet gas is passed. The main limitation of the use of solid
desiccants is that they absorb only limited quantities of water. When the
desiccant saturation point is reached, the solid desiccant must be replaced. Another
limitation is that sometimes water cannot be removed from it.

drip
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A small vessel in a pipeline to receive water and heavy hydrocarbons that drop out of
a gas stream. Drips are normally installed in the lower points of flow lines and must

be blown periodically to remove liquids.


See: blowing the drip, flowline
2. n . [Production Testing]
The water and heavy hydrocarbons that condense from the gas stream and accumulate
in the lower points of the flowlines.

dry bed dehydrator


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A device that removes water and water vapor from a gas stream using two or more
beds of solid desiccants, such as silica gel or calcium chloride [CaCl 2 ]. Wet gas is
passed through the solid material, which absorbs the water, and then dry gas is
collected at the top of the device. The main limitation of this device is that the solid
desiccant absorbs only limited quantities of water. When the desiccant saturation point
is reached, it must be replaced and sometimes water cannot be removed from it.

defoaming plates
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
In a separator, a series of inclined parallel plates or tubes to promote coalescence, or
merging, of the foam bubbles liberated from the liquid.

desulfurize
Espaol | English
1. vb . [Production Facilities]
To remove sulfur or sulfur compounds from an oil or gas stream.

drip accumulator
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A device used to collect water and heavy hydrocarbons that drop out of a gas stream
in a pipeline.

dry oil
Espaol | English

1. n . [Production Facilities]
A treated oil that contains small amounts of basic sediments and water (BS&W).
Dry oil is also called clean oil.

dehydrate
Espaol | English
1. vb . [Production Facilities]
To remove water from a substance. The substance may be crude oil, natural gas or
natural gas liquids (NGL). Fluid dehydration is needed to prevent corrosion and freewater accumulation in the low points of a pipeline. In the case of gas, it is especially
important to avoid hydrate formation and also to meet pipeline requirements. Typical
maximum allowable water vapor content is 7 pounds of water per million standard
cubic feet. In colder climates, this threshold value could be 3 to 5 pounds per million
standard cubic feet. Water vapor can also affect the sweetening and refining processes
of a natural gas. Dehydration of crude oil is normally achieved using emulsion
breakers, while gas dehydration is accomplished using various liquid desiccants such
as glycols (ethylene, diethylene, triethylene and tetraethylene) or solid desiccants such
as silica gel or calcium chloride [CaCl 2 ].

downstream pipeline
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A pipeline that receives natural gas or oil from another pipeline at some
specific connection point

dry bed
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A hygroscopic solid such as silica gel, calcium chloride [CaCl 2 ] or other materials
used in dry-bed dehydrators to absorb water and water vapor from a gas stream.

dry-bed dehydrator
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A device that removes water and water vapor from a gas stream using two or more
beds of solid desiccants, such as silica gel or calcium chloride [CaCl 2 ]. Wet gas is
passed through the solid material, which absorbs the water, and then dry gas is

collected at the top of the device. The main limitation of this device is that the solid
desiccant absorbs only limited quantities of water. When the desiccant saturation point
is reached, it must be replaced and sometimes water cannot be removed from it.

dehydrator
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A device used to remove water and water vapors from gas. Gas dehydration can be
accomplished through a glycol dehydrator or a dry-bed dehydrator, which use a
liquid desiccant and a solid desiccant, respectively. Gas dehydrators are designed to
handle only water and gas vapors. If liquid water or oil enters the dehydrator, the
device cannot work properly.

evaporation pit
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A hole dug to contain brine for disposal by evaporation. Some evaporation pits are
lined with plastic or asphalt to keep water from filtering through and contaminating
nearby free-water aquifers.

flare
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The burning of unwanted gas through a pipe (also called a flare). Flaring is a means of
disposal used when there is no way to transport the gas to market and the operator
cannot use the gas for another purpose. Flaring generally is not allowed because of the
high value of gas and environmental concerns.
See: flare gas
2. n . [Production Facilities]
An arrangement consisting of a vertical tower and burners used to burn combustible
vapors. A flare is usually situated near a producing well or at a gas plant or refinery. A
flare is also called a flare stack.

free water knockout


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vertical or horizontal separator used mainly to remove any free water that can cause

problems such as corrosion and formation of hydrates or tight emulsions, which are
difficult to break. A free-water knockout is commonly called a three-phase separator
because it can separate gas, oil and free water. The liquids that are discharged from
the free-water knockout are further treated in vessels called treaters. Free-water
knockout is abbreviated as FWKO.

free-water knockout
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vertical or horizontal separator used mainly to remove any free water that can cause
problems such as corrosion and formation of hydrates or tight emulsions, which are
difficult to break. A free-water knockout is commonly called a three-phase separator
because it can separate gas, oil and free water. The liquids that are discharged from the
free-water knockout are further treated in vessels called treaters. Free-water knockout
is abbreviated as FWKO.

FWKO
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vertical or horizontal separator used mainly to remove any free water that can cause
problems such as corrosion and formation of hydrates or tight emulsions, which are
difficult to break. A free-water knockout is commonly called a three-phase separator
because it can separate gas, oil and free water. The liquids that are discharged from the
free-water knockout are further treated in vessels called treaters. Free-water knockout
is abbreviated as FWKO.

flare gas
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vapor or gas that is burned through a pipe or burners.

gas processing plant


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
An installation that processes natural gas to recover natural gas liquids (condensate,
natural gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas) and sometimes other substances such as
sulfur. A gas processing plant is also known as a natural gas processing plant.

gathering lines
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The pipes used to transport oil and gas from a field to the main pipeline in the area.

glycol absorber
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
In a glycol dehydrator unit, the cylinder composed of various perforated trays in
which wet gas and glycol are put in contact.

gravity segregation
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The tendency of fluids to stratify into different layers because of gravity forces. In
gravity segregation, the heaviest fluid settles near the bottom and the lightest fluid
rises to the top. Gravity segregation occurs inside reservoirs as well as in separator
facilities.

gaswell gas
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The gas produced or separated at surface conditions from the full well stream
produced from a natural gas reservoir.

gathering system
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The flowline network and process facilities that transport and control the flow of oil or
gas from the wells to a main storage facility, processing plant or shipping point. A
gathering system includes pumps, headers, separators, emulsion treaters, tanks,
regulators, compressors, dehydrators, valves and associated equipment. There are two
types of gathering systems, radial and trunk line. The radial type brings all the
flowlines to a central header, while the trunk-line type uses several remote headers to

collect fluid. The latter is mainly used in large fields. The gathering system is also
called the collecting system or gathering facility.

glycol dehydrator
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A unit used to remove minute water particles from natural gas if dehydration was not
attained using separators. A glycol dehydrator unit is usually composed of an absorber
and a reboiler. The wet gas enters at the bottom of the absorber. As the wet gas
percolates upward, it releases its water into the glycol solution and dry gas is obtained
at the top of the absorber. When the glycol solution becomes saturated with water, the
glycol solution is pumped through a reboiler, also called a reconcentrator, which boils
the glycol-water mixture and separates the glycol from the water. After separation, the
glycol can return to the absorber to contact additional wet gas.

gun barrel
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A settling tank used for treating oil. Oil and brine are separated only by gravity
segregation forces. The clean oil floats to the top and brine is removed from the
bottom of the tank. Gun barrels are found predominantly in older or marginal fields. A
gun barrel is also called a wash tank.

gaswell liquids
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The liquids separated at surface conditions from the full well stream produced from
a natural gas reservoir.

hatch
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
An opening in the top of a tank through which samples are taken or inspection is
made.

heater

Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Equipment that transfers heat to the produced gas stream. Heaters are especially used
when producing natural gas or condensate to avoid the formation of ice and gas
hydrates. These solids can plug the wellhead, chokes and flowlines. The production of
natural gas is usually accompanied by water vapor. As this mixture is produced, it
cools down on its way to the surface and also when the mixture passes through a
surface production choke. This reduction of fluid temperature can favor the formation
of gas hydrates if heaters are not used. Heaters may also be used to heat emulsions
before further treating procedures or when producing crude oil in cold weather to
prevent freezing of oil or formation of paraffin accumulations.

horizontal separator
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vessel, with its cylindrical axes parallel to the ground, that is used to separate oil, gas and
water from the produced stream. The horizontal separator can be a two-phase or three-phase
separator.

hydrogen sulfide
Espaol | English
1. n . [Drilling, Drilling Fluids, Production Facilities, Well Testing, Well Workover
and Intervention, Well Completions]
[H 2 S] An extraordinarily poisonous gas with a molecular formula of H2S. At low
concentrations, H 2 S has the odor of rotten eggs, but at higher, lethal concentrations, it
is odorless. H 2 S is hazardous to workers and a few seconds of exposure at relatively
low concentrations can be lethal, but exposure to lower concentrations can also be
harmful. The effect of H 2 S depends on duration, frequency and intensity of exposure
as well as the susceptibility of the individual. Hydrogen sulfide is a serious and
potentially lethal hazard, so awareness, detection and monitoring of H 2 S is essential.
Since hydrogen sulfide gas is present in some subsurface formations, drilling and other
operational crews must be prepared to use detection equipment, personal protective
equipment, proper training and contingency procedures in H 2 S-prone areas. Hydrogen
sulfide is produced during the decomposition of organic matter and occurs with
hydrocarbons in some areas. It enters drilling mud from subsurface formations and can
also be generated by sulfate-reducing bacteria in stored muds. H 2 S can cause sulfidestress-corrosion cracking of metals. Because it is corrosive, H 2 S production may
require costly special production equipment such as stainless steel tubing. Sulfides can
be precipitated harmlessly from water muds or oil muds by treatments with the proper
sulfide scavenger. H 2 S is a weak acid, donating two hydrogen ions in neutralization
reactions, forming HS- and S-2 ions. In water or water-base muds, the three sulfide
species, H 2 S and HS- and S-2 ions, are in dynamic equilibrium with water and H+ and

OH- ions. The percent distribution among the three sulfide species depends on pH. H 2 S
is dominant at low pH, the HS- ion is dominant at mid-range pH and S2 ions dominate
at high pH. In this equilibrium situation, sulfide ions revert to H 2 S if pH falls. Sulfides
in water mud and oil mud can be quantitatively measured with the Garrett Gas Train
according to procedures set by API.

header
Espaol | English
1. n . [Geophysics]
The location, acquisition and processing parameters, and other pertinent information
attached to a well log, seismic record and traces.
See: parameter, seismic record, seismic section, well log
2. n . [Production Facilities]
In a gathering system, a pipe arrangement that connects flowlines from several
wellheads into a single gathering line. A header has production and testing valves to
control the flow of each well, thus directing the produced fluids to production or
testing vessels. Individual gas/oil ratios and well production rates of oil, gas and water
can be assigned by opening and closing selected valves in a header and using
individual metering equipment or separators.

heater treater
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vessel that uses heat to break oil-water emulsions so the oil can be accepted by
the pipeline or transport. There are vertical and horizontal treaters. The main
difference between them is the residence time, which is shorter in the vertical
configuration compared with the horizontal one.

lean glycol
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
In a glycol dehydrator, glycol that has been boiled and no longer contains any water.
When the glycol is lean, it can be pumped back to the absorber for reuse

liquid desiccant
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]

A hygroscopic liquid used to remove water and water vapor from a gas stream. Some
liquid desiccants are glycols (diethylene, triethylene and tetraethylene), which are
substances that can be regenerated. Regeneration means that the water absorbed by
these substances can be separated from them. Some liquid desiccants, such as
methanol or ethylene, cannot be regenerated.

LNGC
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Abbreviation for liquefied natural gas carrier, which is a sea vessel used to transport
liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

loose emulsion
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
An emulsion with large and widely distributed droplets. A loose emulsion can be
easy to break.

liquefied natural gas carrier


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A sea vessel used to transport liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The term is commonly
abbreviated as LNGC

mist
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Small liquid droplets (moisture or liquid hydrocarbons) in a gas stream. In
separators, mist extractors are used to collect mist.

mist extractor
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A device used to collect small liquid droplets (moisture or hydrocarbons) from the gas
stream before it leaves the separator. The two most common types of mist extractors

are wire-mesh pads and vanes. Once the small droplets of liquid are collected, they are
removed along with the other liquids from the separator.

multiphase pump
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A pump that can handle the complete production from a well (oil, natural gas, water
and sand, for example) without needing to separate or process the production stream
near or at the wellhead. This reduces the cost associated with the surface facilities.
Using multiphase pumps allows development of remote locations or previously
uneconomical fields. Additionally, since the surface equipment, including separators,
heater-treaters, dehydrators and pipes, is reduced, the impact on the environment is
also reduced. Multiphase pumps can handle high gas volumes as well as the slugging
and different flow regimes associated with multiphase production. Multiphase pumps
include twin-screw pumps, piston pumps and helicoaxial pumps.

oil and gas separator


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vessel that separates the well fluids into gas and total liquid. A twophase separator can be horizontal, vertical or spherical. The liquid (oil, emulsion)
leaves the vessel at the bottom through a level-control or dump valve. The gas leaves
the vessel at the top, passing through a mist extractor to remove the small liquid
droplets in the gas. Separators can be categorized according to their operating pressure.
Low-pressure units handle pressures of 10 to 180 psi [69 to 1,241 kPa]. Mediumpressure separators operate from 230 to 700 psi [1,586 to 4,826 kPa]. High-pressure
units handle pressures of 975 to 1,500 psi [6,722 to 10,342 kPa]. Gravity segregation is
the main force that accomplishes the separation, which means the heaviest fluid settles
to the bottom and the lightest fluid rises to the top. Additionally, inside the vessel, the
degree of separation between gas and liquid will depend on the separator operating
pressure, the residence time of the fluid mixture and the type of flow of the
fluid. Turbulent flow allows more bubbles to escape than laminar flow.

pipeline
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A tube or system of tubes used for transporting crude oil and natural gas from
the field or gathering system to the refinery

pipeline gas
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A sufficiently dry gas that will not drop out natural gas liquids (NGL) when entering
the gas pipeline; also, gas with enough pressure to enter high-pressure gas pipelines.

pipeline patrol
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
An inspection of a pipeline to check for leaks, washouts or other abnormal
conditions. A pipeline patrol is commonly performed using airplanes.

pressure storage tank


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A tank designed for storing volatile liquids such as gasoline and liquefied petroleum
gases (LPG), which generate high internal pressures. A pressure storage tank is
commonly spherical. Other types include spheroidal or hemispherical vessels. Some
pressure storage tanks can support several hundred pounds per square inch of internal
pressure. A pressure storage tank is also called a pressure-type tank.

pipeline capacity
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The quantity (volume) of oil and gas required to maintain a full pipeline. The static
capacity of a pipeline is usually expressed as a volume per unit length (for example,
bbl/ft). Nevertheless, the fluid volume passing through a pipeline in a specific time
period will depend on initial pressure, flow characteristics, ground elevation, density
and delivery pressure.

pipeline oil
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Oil whose free water, sediment and emulsion content (BS&W) is sufficiently low to

be acceptable for pipeline shipment.

raw natural gas


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Gas produced from the well, unprocessed natural gas or the inlet natural gas to a plant.
The raw gas still contains natural gas liquids (condensate, natural gasoline
and liquefied petroleum gas), water and some other impurities such as nitrogen, carbon
dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and helium. The raw gas must be processed in a gas
processing plant to make the gas commercial.
2. n . [Production Testing]
Gas coming directly from the wellbore containing nonhydrocarbon contaminants and
hydrocarbons that can be liquefied.

retention time
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The amount of time a liquid stays in a vessel. The retention time assures that
equilibrium between the liquid and gas has been reached at separator pressure. The
retention time in a separator is determined by dividing the liquid volume inside the
vessel by the liquid flow rate. The retention time usually varies between 30 seconds
and 3 minutes. If a foaming crude is present, the retention time could be increased by
four times its normal values.

roll a tank
Espaol | English
1. vb . [Production Facilities]
To agitate a tanks contents with gas or air injected through a roll line. This procedure is
performed to settle out impurities or obtain a more homogeneous mixture of the
chemicals added to oil, such as when chemicals used to break emulsions. The
procedure is also used to mix chemicals before a stimulation treatment of an oil or gas
well.

roll line
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A thin, perforated pipe placed around the internal circumference of a tank. The

purpose of the roll line is to agitate the contents of a tank.

residence time
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Another term for retention time, the amount of time a liquid stays in a vessel. The
retention time assures that equilibrium between the liquid and gas has been reached
at separator pressure. The retention time in a separator is determined by dividing the
liquid volume inside the vessel by the liquid flow rate. The retention time usually
varies between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. If a foaming crude is present, the retention
time could be increased by four times its normal values.

rich glycol
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
In a glycol dehydrator, glycol that contains water released by wet gas while
percolating upward in the absorber.

Separator
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A cylindrical or spherical vessel used to separate oil, gas and water from the total fluid stream
produced by a well. Separators can be either horizontal or vertical. Separators can be classified
into two-phase and three-phase separators (commonly called free-water knockout). The twophase type deals only with oil and gas, while the three-phase type handles oil, water and gas.
Additionally, separators can be categorized according to their operating pressure. Low-pressure
units handle pressures of 10 to 180 psi [69 to 1241 kPa]. Medium-pressure separators operate
from 230 to 700 psi [1586 to 4826 kPa]. High-pressure units handle pressures of 975 to 1500 psi
[6722 to 10,342 kPa]. Gravity segregation is the main force that accomplishes the separation,
which means the heaviest fluid settles to the bottom and the lightest fluid rises to the top.
Additionally, inside the vessel, the degree of separation between gas and liquid will depend on
the separator operating pressure, the residence time of the fluid mixture and the type of flow of
the fluid. Turbulent flow allows more bubbles to escape than laminar flow.

solid desiccant
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A solid, such as silica gel or calcium chloride [CaCl 2 ], used in a gas-dehydration unit to

remove water and moisture. The desiccants are placed as beds through which wet gas is
passed. The main limitation of the use of solid desiccants is that they absorb only limited
quantities of water. When the desiccant saturation point is reached, the solid desiccant must
be replaced. Another limitation is that sometimes water cannot be removed from it.

spherical separator
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A ball-shaped vessel used for fluid separation. A spherical separator can be used for twophase or three-phase separation purposes. Spherical separators are less efficient than either
horizontal or vertical cylindrical separators and are seldom used. Nevertheless, their
compact size and ease of transportation have made them suitable for crowded processing
area

spot sample
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A sample of liquid or sediments obtained at a specific depth inside a tank using a thief or a
bottle. Spot samples are analyzed to determine the gravity of the oil and BS&W content of
the fluid in the tank.

stage separation
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
An operation in which the well stream is passed through two or more separators that are
arranged in series. The first separator is called first-stage separator, the second separator is
called second-stage separator and additional separators are named according to their position
in the series. The operating pressures are sequentially reduced, so the highest pressure is
found at the first separator and the lowest pressure at the final separator. The objective of
stage separation is to maximize the hydrocarbon liquid recovery and to provide
maximum stabilization to the resultant phases (liquid and gas) leaving the final separator.
Stabilization means that considerable amounts of gas or liquid will not evolve from the final
liquid and gas phases, respectively, in places such as stock tanks or gas pipelines.
Additionally, stage separation reduces the horsepower required by a compressor, since the
gas is fed at higher pressures.

STB

Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Abbreviation for stock tank barrel.

stock tank
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A storage tank for oil production after the oil has been treated

stock tank barrel


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A measure of the volume of treated oil stored in stock tanks. A stock tank barrel is
commonly abbreviated as STB.

strap
Espaol | English
1. vb . [Well Completions]
To measure a running string or assembled components while running in or out of the
wellbore.
2. vb . [Production Facilities]
To measure the dimensions of an oil tank, such as external diameter and height, using a
steel tape. Once the measurements are recorded, they may be used to prepare tank tables,
which describe tank capacity.

strapping tape
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A graduated tape use to measure, or strap, producing tanks. The measurements are used to
generate a tank table, which describes tank capacity.

surge tank
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vessel placed in a flowline through which liquids or gases are flowed to neutralize

sudden pressure surges.

sweetening
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A process used to remove hydrogen sulfide [H 2 S] and carbon dioxide [CO 2 ] from a gas
stream. These components are removed because they can form acidic solutions when
they contact water, which will cause corrosion problems in gas pipelines. In a sweetening
process, different types of ethanolamine can be used, including monoethanolamine (MEA),
diethanolamine (DEA), diglycolamine (DGA) and methyldiethanolamine (MDEA).
Hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide are absorbed by the ethanolamine and sweet gas leaves
at the top of the absorber. The ethanolamine is heated and acid gas (hydrogen sulfide and
carbon dioxide gases) and water vapor are obtained. The water is removed while the acid
gas can be flared or further treated in a sulfur recovery unit to separate out elemental sulfur.
Finally, the lean ethanolamine is returned to the absorber.

synthetic natural gas


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A gas obtained by heating coal or refining heavy hydrocarbons. Synthetic natural gas is
abbreviated SNG.

tank
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A metal or plastic vessel used to store or measure a liquid. The three types of tanks in an
oil field are drilling, production and storage tanks

tank battery
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A group of tanks that are connected to receive crude oil production from a well or a
producing lease. A tank battery is also called a battery. In the tank battery, the oil volume is
measured and tested before pumping the oil into the pipeline system.

tank bottoms

Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The settlings -- sediment, dirt, oil emulsified with water and free water -- that accumulate in
the bottom of storage tanks. The tank bottoms are periodically cleaned up and settlings can
be disposed of or treated by chemicals to recover additional hydrocarbons. Tank bottoms are
also called tank settlings or tank sludge.

tank calibration
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Measurement of the dimensions of an oil tank, such as external diameter and height, using a
steel tape. Once the measurements are recorded, they may be used to prepare tank tables,
which describe tank capacity.

tank dike
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A structure constructed around an oil tank to contain the oil in case the tank collapses. The
volume or space inside the tank dike should be greater than the volume of the tank. A tank
dike is also called a fire wall.

ULCC
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Abbreviation for ultralarge crude carrier.

vapor recovery unit


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A system composed of a scrubber, a compressor and a switch. Its main purpose is to recover
vapors formed inside completely sealed crude oil or condensate tanks. The switch
detects pressure variations inside the tanks and turns the compressor on and off. The vapors
are sucked through a scrubber, where the liquid trapped is returned to the liquid pipeline
system or to the tanks, and the vapor recovered is pumped into gas lines.

wet gas

Espaol | English
1. n . [Geology]
Natural gas that contains less methane (typically less than 85% methane) and more ethane
and other more complex hydrocarbons.
Antonyms: dry gas
See: condensate, dry gas, fluid contact, hydrocarbon, natural gas
2. n . [Production Facilities]
Natural gas that contains water.
See: dehydrate
3. n . [Production Testing]
Natural gas containing significant heavy hydrocarbons. Propane, butane and other liquid
hydrocarbons can be liquefied.
See: hydrocarbon

vertical separator
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vessel with its cylindrical axes perpendicular to the ground that is used to separate oil,
gas and water from the production stream. The vessel can be a two-phase or threephase separator.

test separator
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vessel used to separate and meter relatively small quantities of oil and gas. Test separators
can be two-phase or three-phase, or horizontal, vertical or spherical. They can also be
permanent or portable. Test separators sometimes are equipped with different meters to
determine oil, water and gas rates, which are important to diagnose well problems,
evaluate production performance of individual wells and manage reserves properly. Test
separators can also be called well testers or a well checkers

TAPS
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Abbreviation for Trans-Alaska Pipeline System

tanker

Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A ship designed to transport crude oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), liquefied natural gas
(LNG), synthetic natural gas (SNG) or refined products. Tankers with 100,000 deadweight
tons of capacity or more are called supertankers (very large crude carriers or ultralarge crude
carriers). A tanker is also called a tank ship.

tankage
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The capacity of all the tanks in a field

tank table
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A table that shows the tank capacity in barrels as a function of the liquid level inside the
tank. A tank table is also called a tank capacity table or gauge table.

hief
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A device that can be lowered into a tank to obtain samples (liquid or sediments) at different
depths. The samples are analyzed to determine the gravity and BS&W content of the fluid
into the tank.

thief hatch
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
An opening in the top of the stock tank. The thief hatch allows tank access for a thief or
other level measuring devices

three phase separator


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vessel that separates the well fluids into gas and two types of liquids: oil and water. A

three-phase separator can be horizontal, vertical or spherical. This type of separator is


commonly called a free-water knockout because its main use is to remove any free water
that can cause problems such as corrosion and formation of hydrates or tight emulsions,
which are difficult to break. A free-water knockout is commonly called a three-phase
separator because it can separate gas, oil and free water. The liquids that are discharged
from the free-water knockout are further treated in vessels called treaters. Free-water
knockout is abbreviated as FWKO.

tight emulsion
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
An emulsion with small and closely distributed droplets. A tight emulsion can be difficult
to break.

very large crude carrier


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A supertanker with a capacity between 100,000 and 500,000 deadweight tons. The term is
commonly abbreviated as VLCC.

two-phase separator
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vessel that separates the well fluids into gas and total liquid. A two-phase separator can be
horizontal, vertical or spherical. The liquid (oil, emulsion) leaves the vessel at the bottom
through a level-control or dump valve. The gas leaves the vessel at the top, passing through
a mist extractor to remove the small liquid droplets in the gas.

two phase separator


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vessel that separates the well fluids into gas and total liquid. A two-phase separator can be
horizontal, vertical or spherical. The liquid (oil, emulsion) leaves the vessel at the bottom
through a level-control or dump valve. The gas leaves the vessel at the top, passing through
a mist extractor to remove the small liquid droplets in the gas.
Alternate Form: oil and gas separator, two-phase separator

treater
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A vessel used to treat oil-water emulsions so the oil can be accepted by the pipeline or
transport. A treater can use several mechanisms. These include heat, gravity segregation,
chemical additives and electric current to break emulsions. There are vertical and horizontal
treaters. The main difference between them is the residence time, which is shorter in the
vertical configuration compared with the horizontal one. A treater can be called a heater
treater or an emulsion treater.

Trans-Alaska Pipeline System


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
An 800-mile [1287-km], 48-in. [122-cm] pipeline that transports more than 1 million
barrels of oil from Deadhorse (near Prudhoe Bay) to Valdez, Alaska, USA. The TransAlaska Pipeline System was completed in 1977 and it is often abbreviated as TAPS.

battery
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
The installation of similar or identical units of equipment in a group, such as a separator
battery, header battery, filter battery or tank battery.

low-by
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A phenomenon in which free gas leaves with the liquid phase at the bottom of
the separator. This condition may indicate a low liquid level or improper level control
inside the separator.

bottomhole heater
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A device installed at the bottom of a well to increase the temperature of the fluid coming
from the reservoir. Bottomhole heaters are used in low API gravity crude oils to reduce the

fluid viscosity, thus reducing the high friction forces normally associated with these types of
fluids

British thermal unit


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A measure of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one
degree Fahrenheit. British thermal unit is abbreviated as BTU.

battery site
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A portion of land that contains separators, treaters, dehydrators, storage tanks, pumps,
compressors and other surface equipment in which fluids coming from a well are separated,
measured or stored.

blowing the drip


Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Opening the valve on a drip to allow natural gas to blow or clear the pipe of all liquids.

brine
Espaol | English
1. n . [Geology]
Water containing more dissolved inorganic salt than typical seawater.
See: connate water, formation water, fresh water, interstitial water
2. n . [Drilling]
Saline liquid usually used in completion operations and, increasingly, when penetrating
a pay zone. Brines are preferred because they have higher densities than fresh water but lack
solid particles that might damage producible formations. Classes of brines include chloride
brines (calcium and sodium), bromides and formates.
See: aquifer, completion fluid, producing formation
3. n . [Drilling Fluids]
A general term that refers to various salts and salt mixtures dissolved in an aqueous solution.
Brine can be used more strictly, however, to refer to solutions of sodium chloride. We prefer
to use brine as a general term. The emulsified calcium chloride [CaCl 2 ] solution (or any
other saline phase) in an oil mud is referred to as "brine" or "brine phase." The oil/brine

ratio, abbreviated OBR, is used to compare solids content and salinities of oil muds. Clear
brines are salt solutions that have few or no suspended solids.
Synonyms: clear brine
See: balanced-activity oil mud, bromide brine, calcium bromide, calcium carbonate, calcium
chloride, carboxymethyl hydroxyethylcellulose, cesium acetate, drill-in fluid, formate, guar
gum, hydrometer, hydroxyethylcellulose, hydroxypropyl starch, PVT, synthetic/brine
ratio, undersaturated fluid
4. n . [Well Completions]
A water-based solution of inorganic salts used as a well-control fluid during the completion
and workover phases of well operations. Brines are solids free, containing no particles that
might plug or damage a producing formation. In addition, the salts in brine can inhibit
undesirable formation reactions such as clay swelling. Brines are typically formulated and
prepared for specific conditions, with a range of salts available to achieve densities ranging
from 8.4 to over 20 lbm/gal (ppg) [1.0 to 2.4 g/cmo]. Common salts used in the preparation
of simple brine systems include sodium chloride, calcium chloride and potassium chloride.
More complex brine systems may contain zinc, bromide or iodine salts. These brines are
generally corrosive and costly.
See: producing formation
5. n . [Production Facilities]
Water containing salts in solution, such as sodium, calcium or bromides. Brine is commonly
produced along with oil. The disposal of oilfield brine is usually accomplished by
underground injection into salt-water saturated formations or by evaporation in surface pits.

BTU
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
Abbreviation for British thermal unit.

blanket gas
Espaol | English
1. n . [Production Facilities]
A gas phase maintained above a liquid in a vessel to protect the liquid against air
contamination, to reduce the hazard of detonation or to pressurize the liquid. The gas
source is located outside the vessel.