Technical Paper: 2-Prong Approach for Improved Operating Range of Electrostatic Crude Oil Treaters

Society: OTC
Paper Number: 26348
Presentation Date: 2015
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Floating production facilities are very sensitive to equipment weight and footprint. New electrostatic technologies have enhanced the dehydration and desalting processes for crude oil by increasing the electrostatic field strength of the treaters and improving treater hydraulics, enabling the use of compact and lighter equipment with a larger operating window.

Topsides processes on offshore platforms include a series of process vessels for separation of oil, water, and gas, with separate polishing processes for the separated gas and produced water phases. The wider the operating window and the higher the process efficiency for each process step, the fewer the number of process steps required and the more compact the separation train.

This paper describes a two-prong approach to the crude oil dehydration process, providing an increased operating window for more effective crude oil dehydrators and desalters. Thus fewer and more compact process vessels can be used while still maintaining the required process performance. The paper also includes special considerations for slosh suppression, instrumentation, and operating procedures, in addition to case histories with examples of compact equipment installed on floating production, storage, and offloading facilities (FPSOs); spars; tension-leg platforms (TLPs); and semisubmersibles.

This two-prong approach for crude oil dehydration and desalting combines high bulk-water-removal efficiency in the initial step and a high dehydration efficiency in the second step, providing multiple benefits, including

  • an increased operating window in terms of crude oil inlet water cut and API gravity
  • lower capex because of smaller and more effective electrostatic treaters
  • reduced opex resulting from lower operating temperature, reduced demulsifier dosage, and less dilution water for desalting. 

Further benefits include high-frequency and amplitude modulated electrostatic fields, improved electrode configurations and materials, as well as improved fluid distribution inside the electrostatic treaters.

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Crude Oil Dehydration and Desalting

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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