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Modeling of Gas Multistage Separation to Increase Stock Tank Oil

Alexander. A. Khamukhin1, Eugenii V. Nikolayev2


Institute of Cybernetics, Tomsk Polytechnic University, 30, Lenina Av., Tomsk, Russia
Institute of Natural Resources, Tomsk Polytechnic University, 30, Lenina Av., Tomsk, Russia
ahamuhin@gmail.com
Keywords: Modeling; separation; crude oil; stock tank oil; heavy hydrocarbons; off gases; carryover; gas oil ratio

Abstract. The study gas multistage separation at the preliminary preparation of crude oil by means
of computer simulation was performed. The estimated carry-over saving of liquid oil components
into off gases while optimizing the separation thermobaric conditions was obtained. The decrease
by 60% carry-over will increase the stock tank oil approximately 3 kg per ton of wells production
was shown.
Introduction
Crude oil from the wells contains a lot of associated petroleum gas (APG). Typical gas oil ratio
(GOR) of Siberian oil are 100 and above m 3/ton. APG are separating by several consecutive
separators (2 to 4).
Part of a liquid oil is carried over with the gas stream at this stage due to intensive gas
evaporation. It is a loss for oil fields where there is no possibility of transporting associated gas and
the off gases to the refinery.
It is also a negative factor for facilities, applying a scheme of APG utilization using fuel
generators, because excess of heavy hydrocarbons in the fuel gas contaminates fuel equipment and
may initiate failure and damage.
The evaluation of these losses have different ways. E.g., in [1] that Belozerny and
Nizhnevartovsk refineries, processed 7 billion m3 of associated gas coming from the TNK-BP, got 6
billion m3 of dry gas, 1.76 million tons NGL (natural gas liquids ) and 235 tons of straight-run
gasoline.
These data show that APG contains liquid hydrocarbons under normal conditions (with 5 and
above carbon atoms) 0.57% of annual production of TNK-BP.
Obviously, these losses depend on: (1) temperature and pressure conditions that are implemented
in separators, (2) the fluid composition coming to inlet, (3) other factors.
Project documentation for oilfield typically contain a wide range of pressure and temperature
separation is not tied to a change in a composition of downhole products. Therefore, it do not give
advice on the optimum conditions of separation.
Some authors (both in our country and abroad) suggest that the optimal pressure and temperature
conditions a multi-stage separation may get using modeling and simulation. It will optimize the
separation process and reduce losses at the stage of preliminary preparation of oil [25].
Thus, there are real preconditions for increasing stock tank oil by reducing the carry-over of
liquid hydrocarbons from the gas stream to the flare by optimizing the separation for each
composition of the oil with modeling and simulations.
Research Objectives
Analysis of the distribution of values of GOR on consecutive separators shows too much
significance in the first separator in all cases considered. For example, in [5] distribution GOR on
consecutive separators is 1341:137:34:15 (scf/bbl) even under optimal pressures.
Thus, the most intensive gas emission happens in the first separator and, consequently, most
intense carry-over (NGL and heavier hydrocarbons) into off gases (in absolute values).

Therefore, the aim of this research was to reduce the intensity of gas emission in the early stages
of separation. The object of this study is to multistage separation at the preliminary preparation of
oil in the field.
Research Method
Multistage separation was studied by computer simulation by the Aspen HYSYS software [6]
and its own software.
Calculations were performed for various compositions of different oil fields. Thermobaric
conditions in the separator were input arguments, the minimum total carry-over of C 5 + higher into off
gases served as objective function and conditions of the project documentation were constraints.
The general scheme of the simulated multi-separation is shown in Fig. 1. This scheme is by no
means a complete description on the detailed design of any part of this process, and many details
have been omitted in order to summarize a vast subject.

Figure 1. The general scheme of the multistage separation which was simulated: Pi, Ti pressure
and temperature in the i-separator, respectively
Different models have been used as a phase state equations in HYSYS: Peng-Robinson,
Grayson-Streed-Choa-Seeder, Peng-Robinson-Twu, Suave-Redlich-Kwong, Twu-Sim-Tassone.
Mathematical models of its own programs were based on the semi-empirical data by statistical
processing of the results of laboratory experiments [7]:
Yi K i X i ,
1 ( AFi B )
10
,
P
A 6.18 10 5 P 3 1.86 10 3 P 2 4.89 10 2 P 1.0049,

Ki

B 1.79 10 4 P 3 5.16 10 3 P 2 12.59 10 2 P 1.0127,


1
1

c
273
.
15
T
i

Fi bi

where Yi , Xi composition gas and liquid phase in the separator respectively; Ki phase equilibrium
constants; A, B, bi, ci empirical coefficients by statistical processing data.

Research Results
Many calculations were performed with different crude oil compositions and with different
models. All models have shown approximately same results with a few differences.
We had performed regular reducing the temperature in the first and second separators to reduce
the intensity of gas emission. The restrictions of the partial pressure of gases in the tank oil was
must to comply with GOST Russian Federation. The maximum partial pressure of gas vapor at the
standard temperature is not above 500 torr.
As an example, Table 1 shows the simulation results of the proposed scheme for the Samotlor oil
field (reservoir AB4-5). This table compares the two versions: with a constant (unregulated)
temperature (Sample 1) and temperature-controlled separators (Sample 2).
Table 1.
Reservoir fluid and off gases compositions (Samotlor oil field, reservoir 4-5)
Reservoir
fluid
composition
[Mol %]
1
Carbon
Dioxide
Nitrogen
Methane
Ethane
Propane
i-Butane
n-Butane
i-Pentane
n-Pentane
6+higher
Including
5+higher

Sample 1
Off gases composition [Mas %]
Separator Separator
Separator
1
2
3
0.25MPa
0.24 MPa 0.23 MPa
T=30C
T=30C
T=30C

Sample 2
Off Gases composition [Mas %]
Separator Separator Separato
1
2
r3
0.25 MPa
0.24
0.23
T=10C
MPa
MPa
T=20C
T=30C
7
8
9

0.47

2.70

2.41

2.48

2.90

2.88

3.11

0.08
32.73
0.55
1.2
1.26
1.33
1.45
0.9
60.03

0.31
72.17
2.07
5.18
3.99
5.16
2.34
1.81
4.27

0
71.95
2.09
5.36
4.14
5.37
2.42
1.87
4.39

0
71.04
2.16
5.54
4.28
5.54
2.50
1.93
4.53

0.34
78.39
2.18
4.82
2.73
3.81
1.29
1.05
2.49

0
73.28
2.33
5.89
3.76
5.16
1.87
1.50
3.33

0
66.60
2.52
7.03
5.01
6.75
2.60
2.06
4.32

8.42

8.68

8.96

4.83

6.70

8.98

Similar calculations were performed for six different models of phase state. Table 2 presents data
on the carry-over saving of C5 + higher into off gases at each stage of separation for different models of
phase state.
Table 2
Carry-over saving of 5+ higher (Sample 1 Sample 2)/ Sample 1 [%]
Model
1
2
3
1.
Semi-empirical
42.64
22.81
0.22
2.
Peng-Robinson
46.27
23.51
3.97
3.
Grayson-Streed-Choa-Seeder
41.54
20.86
3.99
4.
Peng-Robinson-Twu
45.61
23.35
4.23
5.
Suave-Redlich-Kwong
46.12
23.52
4.19
6.
Twu-Sim-Tassone
45.71
23.15
4.21
As can be seen from Table 2, the different models of the phase state of a multicomponent
mixture show approximately similar results. This ensures the accuracy of the calculations.
The main carry-over saving achieved in the first separator (over 40%), as was stated in the
objectives of this study. All models also showed a positive effect (over 20%) in the second

separator. There is a negative effect in the third separator, but it is a little significant as compared
with a positive effect in the first and the second separator.
There is a monetary value of this savings. Approximately, we have about 60% of the total
savings carry-over of C5 + higher components. Sum total it into off gases is about 8%, therefore, about
5% by mass from off gases included in the stock tank oil.
Let the density of gas is approximately one kg/m3 and GOR 60 m 3 per ton. Then we'll have
additionally a 3 kg per ton of wells production more. Russian oil industry can obtain about 1.5
million tons of additional oil, or about $ 1 billion (at the world price of $ 100 per barrel) due to this
add. This solution provides an additional positive effect reducing greenhouse gas emissions also
about 1.5 million tons per year.
Conclusion
The study gas multistage separation at the preliminary preparation of crude oil by means of
computer simulation was performed. The estimated carry-over saving of liquid oil components into
off gases while optimizing the separation thermobaric conditions was obtained. The decrease by
60% carry-over will increase the stock tank oil approximately 3 kg per ton of wells production was
shown. Russian oil industry can obtain about 1.5 million tons of additional oil, or about $ 1 billion
(at the world price of $ 100 per barrel) due to this add.
The main problem in the implementation of the proposed method is the need to full automation
the process of oil treatment and the cost of heat exchangers and compressor equipment to maintain
optimum temperature and pressure conditions in each separator.
It should be noted that this study aided to design the new method of preliminary oil preparation
at oil fields [8].
Acknowledgment
This study was supported the State task Nauka of Tomsk Polytechnic University, led by
Michael A. Sonkin. In addition, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to students and
colleagues of our university.
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[2]
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[4]
[5]

[6]
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[8]

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