Commercial Types of Gas–Oil Separator
Based on the configuration, the most common types of separator are horizontal, vertical, and spherical, Large horizontal gas–oil separators are used almost exclusively in processing well fluids in the Middle East, where the gas–oil ratio of the producing fields is high. Multistage GOSPs normally consists of three or more separators.
The following is a brief description of some separators for some specific applications. In addition, the features of what is known as ‘‘modern’’ GOSP are highlighted.
These units are used to separate and measure at the same time the well fluids. Potential test is one of the recognized tests for measuring the quantity of both oil and gas produced by the well in 24 hours period under
steady state of operating conditions. The oil produced is measured by a flow meter (normally a turbine meter) at the separator’s liquid outlet and the cumulative oil production is measured in the Crude Oil Storage tanks.
An orifice meter at the separator’s gas outlet measures the produced gas. Physical properties of the oil and GOR are also determined. Equipment for Oil Well Testing units.
Safe and environmentally acceptable handling of crude oils is assured by treating the produced crude in the GOSP and related crude-processing facilities. The number one function of the GOSP is to separate the associated gas from oil. As the water content of the produced crude increases, field facilities for control or elimination of water are to be
added. This identifies the second function of a GOSP. If the effect of corrosion due to high salt content in the crude is recognized, then modern desalting equipment could be included as a third function in the GOSP design.
Horizontal Separator has to differentiate between ‘‘dry’’ crude and ‘‘wet’’ crude. The former is produced with no water, whereas the latter comes along with water. The water produced with the crude is a brine solution containing salts (mainly sodium chloride) in varying concentrations.
The input of wet crude oil into a modern GOSP consists of the following:
1. Crude oil.
2. Hydrocarbon gases.
3. Free water dispersed in oil as relatively large droplets, which will separate and settle out rapidly when wet crude is retained in the vessel.
4. Emulsified water, dispersed in oil as very small droplets that do not settle out with time. Each of these droplets is surrounded by a thin film and held in suspension.
5. Salts dissolved in both free water and in emulsified water.
The functions of a modern GOSP could be summarized as follows:
1. Separate the hydrocarbon gases from crude oil.
2. Remove water from crude oil.
3. Reduce the salt content to the acceptable level [basic sediments and water]
It should be pointed out that some GOSPs do have gas compression and refrigeration facilities to treat the gas before sending it to gas processing plants. In general, a GOSP can function according to one of the following process operation:
1. Three-phase, gas–oil–water separation . read also Three-Phase Oil–Water–Gas Separators
2. Two-phase, gas–oil separation. read also Two-Phase Gas–Oil Separation
3. Two-phase, oil–water separation
6. Electrostatic coalescence
To conclude, the ultimate result in operating a modern three-phase separation plant is to change ‘‘wet’’ crude input into the desired outputs.
Controllers and Internal Components of Gas–Oil Separators
Gas–oil separators are generally equipped with the following control devices and internal components.
Liquid Level Controller
The liquid level controller (LLC) is used to maintain the liquid level inside the separator at a fixed height. In simple terms, it consists of a float that exists at the liquid–gas interface and sends a signal to an automatic diaphragm motor valve on the oil outlet. The signal causes the valve to open or close, thus allowing more or less liquid out of the separator to maintain its level inside the separator.
real also Valve Types.
Pressure Control Valve
The pressure control valve (PCV) is an automatic backpressure valve that exists on the gas stream outlet. The valve is set at a prescribed pressure. It will automatically open or close, allowing more or less gas to flow out of the separator to maintain a fixed pressure inside the separator.
Pressure Relief Valve
The pressure relief valve (PRV) is a safety device that will automatically open to vent the separator if the pressure inside the separator exceeded the design safe limit.
The function of the mist extractor is to remove the very fine liquid droplets from the gas before it exits the separator. Several types of mist extractors are available:
1. Wire-Mesh Mist Extractor: These are made of finely woven stainless-steel wire wrapped into a tightly packed cylinder of about 6 in. thickness. The liquid droplets that did not separate in the gravity settling section of the separator coalesce on the surface of the matted wire, allowing liquid-free gas to exit the separator. As the droplets size grows, they fall down into the liquid phase. Provided that the gas velocity is reasonably low, wire-mesh extractors are capable of removing about 99% of the 10-mm and larger liquid droplets. It should be noted that this
type of mist extractor is prone to plugging. Plugging could be due to the deposition of paraffin or the entrainment of large liquid droplets in the gas passing through the mist extractor (this will occur if the separator was not properly designed). In such cases, the vane-type mist extractor, described next, should be used.
2. Vane Mist Extractor: This type of extractor consists of a series of closely spaced parallel, corrugated plates. As the gas and entrained liquid droplets flowing between the plates change flow direction, due to corrugations, the liquid droplets impinge on the surface of the plates, where they coalesce and fall down into the liquid collection section.
3. Centrifugal Mist Extractor: This type of extractor uses centrifugal force to separate the liquid droplets from the gas.
Although it is more efficient and less susceptible to plugging than other extractors, it is not commonly used because of its performance sensitivity to small changes in flow rate.
1. Petroleum and Gas Field Processing – H. K. Abdel-Aal and Mohamed Eggour.
2. Oil & Gas Production Handbook.