Debottlenecking and Computational-Fluid-Dynamics Studies of High- and Low-Pressure Production Separators
- Joseph M. Lee (NATCO Group) | Rafiqul I. Khan (NATCO Group) | Daniel W. Phelps (NATCO Group)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Projects, Facilities & Construction
- Publication Date
- December 2009
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 124 - 131
- 2009. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.4 Gas Processing, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 2.2.2 Perforating, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating
- flow modeling
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- 338 since 2007
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Efficient and effective oil/water/gas separation is required for success of many production operations. A major oil producer was experiencing difficulties with the oil/water/gas separation equipment on an offshore platform and improvements were required to meet both present and future production rates. Both high-pressure (HP) and low-pressure (LP) separators on a major oil production platform were studied to determine the design limitations for foamy service and basic sediment and water (BS&W) levels. Computational-fluid-dynamics (CFD) studies were completed to show the volumetric utilization and flow-pattern improvements made with the design changes.
Both HP and LP separators showed substantial foam and poor efficiency because of poor inlet-device design, plugging, and other general vessel-design limitations. Debottlenecking efforts determined that, while the inlet device was somewhat ineffective, major improvements could be made from changes to perforated plate baffles, fluid-level adjustments, and weir placement and operations.
CFD calculations performed on both vessels indicated similar problems. The perforated plate baffles with improper design lead to countercurrent flow through the baffles, making them less effective in flow control and distribution. Fluid-level settings for the weir height affected the velocity differences between fluid layers and contributed to promotion of recirculation within the vessel, which lead to low volumetric utilization.
With adjustments to vessel internal equipment and changes to fluid-phase levels, CFD calculations showed that overall vessel volumetric utilization was improved by 22% for the HP vessel and by 38% for the LP vessel. CFD results also showed the changes to the flow patterns accompanying these improvements.
Vessels with the proposed changes were operating effectively with substantially higher throughputs and meeting the expected BS&W levels for operations of the downstream oil-processing equipment. Details about the vessel internals, flow properties, and other changes required to accomplish these improvements will be discussed.
|File Size||624 KB||Number of Pages||8|
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