After extracting crude oil, it is taken to a refinery to remove impurities and contaminants. The remaining oil further undergoes separation to have pure liquid and gases. Natural gas is produced by removing liquid vapour from sealable gas. The best separators for such projects are high-pressure separators that can operate in three phases. Therefore, it is crucial to find manufacturers with HP separators that can extract oil, water, and gas from the main inlet stream. From there, they are moved to medium and low-pressure separators before flowing into the stock tank. India is one of the leading countries globally that is manufacturing top-notch high-pressure separators to satisfy your refinery needs.
What Is A High-Pressure Separator?
High-pressure separators are used in oil and gas production to separate oil and gas fluid components from a well stream into liquid and gaseous components. Heavy engineering equipment manufacturer also build pressure separators on offshore platforms and onshore processing facilities. They are also used upstream and downstream in compressors, gasoline facilities, gas transmission lines, and liquid facilities. Gas and oil separators are the most used equipment in oil and gas processing facilities.
High-pressure separators can handle pressure ranges from 975 to 1500 psi (6722 to 10,342 kpa).
Classification Of High-Pressure Separators
High-pressure separators for oil and gas production are classified into various categories. They include operating configuration, separator function, operating pressure, and application.
Classification By Operating Configuration
Horizontal separators are versatile vessels used in applications where gas pressure or gravity may not achieve separations. The vessels have a similar shape and design to vertical contractors with a surge drum, collection system, and tray packs. These separators can be between 3ft and 15 ft. wide and between 16 ft. to 120 ft. high.
The Vertical separators are designed for various gas and liquid flow rates. As vertical contractors are popularly used for offshore gas and oil production. They can also be used in onshore applications with low gravity to separate liquids from the gas stream. Vertical separators have a two-phase differential pressure across their bodies, allowing even liquid distribution on the top and bottom surfaces.
Spherical separators are less expensive and compact and can easily handle high vapour and liquid loads. They are also simple to operate despite having lower efficiency at low gas/liquid ratios. This explains why they are pretty uncommon today.
Classification By Function
In these units, gas is separated from the liquid, with both fluids being discharged separately. Oil and gas separators are built to extract the liquid and gas components from the hydrocarbon stream at specific pressures and temperatures.
Three-phase separators separate gas, oil, and water to discharge them separately. They have two chambers placed vertically on an annular area where radial vanes are mounted. A high-velocity fluid stream is passed through the radial vanes for jet entrainment in the lower chamber. The lower chamber collects crude oil while gas enters through the open slots in the upper chamber.
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Functions Of High-Pressure Separators
Removing Oil From Gas
High-pressure separators manage to separate oil from gas due to the density difference of the liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons. However, it is vital to use mechanical devices like “mist extractors” to extract liquid mist from the gas before being discharged from the separators. In addition, removing non-solution gas from the oil may also be necessary before it leaves the separator.
Removing Gas From Oil
The physical and chemical properties of the oil and its pressure and temperature conditions influence the amount of gas it contains. Changes in pressure and temperature affect the rate at which the gas separates from the oil. The volume of gas that a high-pressure separator removes from crude oil may also be influenced by the size of the separator, throughput rate, and operating pressure.
Separating Water From Oil
Producing water with oil is still a major challenge for engineers and oil producers. Since water is co-produced with hydrocarbons, separating valuable hydrocarbons from disposable water is all the more challenging. Three-phase separators can separate water from oil using chemicals and gravity separation. If the three-phase separator cannot manage separation efficiently, a free-water knockout vessel can be installed downstream or upstream of the separators.
Safety Features Of High-Pressure Separators
High-pressure separators need liquid level controllers for oil/water interface and back-pressure control valves for gas using a pressure controller. Even though these controls might be expensive, they help save operational expenses.
Some of the valves in high pressure separators include water and oil discharge control valves, block valves, drain valves, pressure relief valves, and emergency shutdown valves. The ESD valves can stay open for long periods waiting for commands.
High-pressure separator accessories include thermometers, pressure gauges, pressure-reducing regulators for gas, safety heads with rupture disks, level sight glasses, piping, and tubing.
High-pressure separators are complex equipment that should be well understood before being used. They are built with different specifications to dispense oil and gas in the desired state. Contact a separator manufacturer in India for guidance if you are considering a high-pressure separator for gas and oil production.