An oil–water emulsion consists of a suspension of small droplets that will not separate into two distinct phases by gravity separation alone. One economical method of breaking an emulsion is by using a treater to add heat to the fluid which, along with settling time, aids separation.
Heating an emulsion will change the properties of the components and allow further separation of the phases to occur and produce pipe line quality oil.
Treaters may be constructed in vertical or horizontal models and are designed as to the heat input and retention time required to accomplish the separation of the oil and water components based on the flow rates of each.
If the operator does not understand these installation and operating instructions, or is unfamiliar with the equipment, then he should contact NRG Process Solutions Ltd.
2.0 DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCESS
The incoming oil, water and produced gas enter the treater/FWKO through the inlet connection at the top, firetube end, of the vessel.
These fluids are initially diverted around the firetube by the “horseshoe baffle”.
The horseshoe baffle serves these functions:
- Allows free water to break out, and thus not draw heat from thefiretube.
- It affects the primary separation of the gas, oil and free water
- Separated gas exits at the through the gas outlet connection and down through the outlet gas piping and a gas back pressure valve.
- The gas is separated through the treater, through the entire process of treating.
- There is an extensive gas oil interface, to allow extended time for gas to break out of the liquid.
- Free water flows to the bottom of the vessel to the water outlet.
- Water breaking out of emulsion after heating exits the treater through the water outlet.
OIL / EMULSION PATH
- The application of heat to the emulsion as it passes over, through and around the firetube causes rapid coalescence of water droplets and the final breaking of the emulsion.
- The cleanest portion of the emulsionflows past the firetube to the middle section of the vessel.
- From the middle section, the emulsion flows to the settling section for final polishing.
- There is a water valve incorporated into the coalescer baffle, to force emulsion up and over as it travels in the rear section.