Schlumberger

PERFORM Demulsifiers

Break emulsions to improve performance

Demulsifiers help ensure that the residual water and salt content in the crude and the oil content of the separated water meet required specifications. They disrupt the ordered structure of the natural surfactants that stabilize the emulsion, allowing the dispersed droplets to coalesce as they collide to form larger droplets that move to the oil/water interface.

When developing a cost-effective demulsifier for a specific application, we investigate a wide range of factors, including location, nature of the oil, environment, and limitations of the equipment and facilities. Each item is thoroughly evaluated to minimize operational disruption and cost. 

Use tailored design for optimal results

A single-component demulsifier chemistry will rarely address all the required performance aspects. Consequently, the following additional elements are taken into account during demulsifier development:

  • Solvents keep intermediates and active ingredients in solution and help deliver them to the emulsion interface. They also help make crude components such as paraffins more soluble.
  • Alcohols stabilize a demulsifier where individual components might otherwise separate and can be used to winterize the demulsifier for cold-climate application.
  • Flocculants are characterized by nonionic surfactants that congregate droplets so that they combine when in close proximity.
  • Coalescers effectively disrupt the stabilized film by causing water droplets to combine on collision.
  • Water droppers cause coalescing droplets to combine rapidly, forming a continuous phase. They are critical for short-residence systems, such as offshore applications, where weight and space are at a premium.
  • Wetting agents alter the interfacial tension of fluids so that solids can move into the water phase. These solids include sands, clays, scales, naphthenates and carboxylates, bitumens, and other insolubles that collect at the interface.

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