Industry Article: If Your Desalter Doesn’t Fit, You Mustn’t Quit

30% higher desalting efficiency and 50% reduction in demulsifier usage

If your desalter doesn’t fit, you mustn’t quit

Publication Date: 10/04/2015

The emulsions now being used by refiners increase crude oil conductivity and produce what is referred to as a “rag” layer inside the desalter. Conventional AC electrostatic desalters, used for several decades by most refineries, cannot provide the power needed to desalt these types of emulsions. Beyond substantially reducing the refinery’s throughput, this lack of power allows contaminants to build up in the desalter and other processing units, increasing defouling maintenance. Additionally, when certain types and amounts of shale oil are blended into emulsions, a number of chemistry issues can develop that have the potential to foul processing units and degrade a desalter’s performance.

Schlumberger has a technology that enables refiners to retrofit their existing PETRECO BILECTRIC AC desalters with medium-power, high-frequency power units that produce a higher electrostatic force, creating improved coalescence of water droplets. These larger droplets of reduced salinity separate more quickly from the crude oil, improving desalting efficiency. The BILECTRIC HF desalter upgrade also allows higher operating temperatures and pressures and enables the electrostatic process to be optimized for other emulsion characteristics: oil conductivity, oil/water interfacial tension, density, and viscosity.

Refiners realize several processing benefits: higher process rates in existing desalters, improved desalting of difficult-to-treat crude slates, reduced dosage of demulsifiers, lower crude oil salinity, and reduced washwater consumption. From an operational standpoint, refiners will gain greater operational flexibility and experience fewer maintenance-related interruptions in their processing.

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BILECTRIC HF High-Frequency AC Desalter

BILECTRIC HF High-Frequency AC Desalter
The BILECTRIC HF high-frequency AC desalter is ideal for desalting challenging crude slates, including low-API and conductive crude oils.
Visit BILECTRIC HF Desalter page