Technical Paper: Compact Electrostatic Treaters for Floating Offshore Production Facilities

Society: OTC
Paper Number: 24303
Presentation Date: 2013
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Floating production facilities are very sensitive to equipment weight and footprint. New electrostatic technologies have enhanced the dehydration and desalting process for crude oils by improving treater hydraulics and increasing the electrostatic field strength of the treaters.

Efficient vessel hydraulics are essential for achieving maximum dehydration performance and efficient utilization of the treater vessel volume. Not only is the oil distribution critical, oil collection is equally important for maintaining treater dehydration and desalting performance. A new distributor can increase the treater utilization from low 50% to 95%, enabling the use of smaller and lightweight treaters for crude oil dehydration and desalting.

Crude oil dehydration and desalting performance decreases as the crude oil conductivity increases, whether this is caused by an increase of heavy solids, asphaltenes, or polar organic components; the electrostatic field strength reduces significantly. One method for maintaining the electrostatic field strength is to use a high-frequency electrostatic field to quickly replenish the effective charge and reduce its decay. Modulating the voltage amplitude has also proven to be effective for increased dehydration performance.

Another treater improvement is the use of composite electrodes, which increases the water tolerance of the treater and also improves the treater dehydration performance.

This paper describes compact (lightweight and reduced-footprint) electrostatic treaters and how these technologies can reduce capex and opex for offshore crude oil treating facilities. The role of vessel hydraulics, electrode materials, and electrostatic field strength in maintaining efficient dehydration and desalting performance will also be discussed.

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Crude Oil Dehydration and Desalting

NATCO DUAL POLARITY electrostatic treater
Cameron provides a range of electrostatic technologies to effectively remove unwanted salts and water from crude oil and thus combat fouling, corrosion, and loss of catalyst activity. Visit Dehydration and Desalting page on the Cameron website