Why Effective Demulsifier Treatment Depends on Your Demulsifier Selection

Written by Albert Lam on . Posted in Blog, Clean Ideas, Water and Waste Oil Treatment

Effective Demulsifier TreatmentThe role of a demulsifier is not something commonly discussed over dinner. But in the petroleum industry and water treatment facilities, it is a key component in their operation. Having an effective demulsifier treatment process can save millions of dollars every year in operation costs – but only if the right demulsifier is chosen for the job.

Demulsification is usually about separating crude oil and water, though demulsifiers can be used to break up other emulsions too. It is an essential part of everyday operations in the petroleum industry, where water must be extracted from oil before it can be refined.

Separating emulsions is best done using a mixture of chemicals, with the resulting demulsifier (also known as an emulsion breaker) actively separating the molecules of water and oil, drawing apart for easy removal.

Of course, effective demulsifier treatment process depends on cost-efficiency too, with the topside operation needing the oil and water to be separated as quickly as possible. This way, the dry oil can be exported all the faster, while the water is cleaned to acceptable environmental levels before being discharged.

The faster the process of separating crude oil and water is completed, the lower the operating costs.

Choosing the Right Demulsifier

It is important to note that an effective demulsifier treatment depends on a number of factors, not least the strength of the demulsifier. If the emulsions are not very stable, a demulsifier can prove very effective, but if the level of stability is high then it can be very difficult for the emulsion breakers to get their job done.

There are 5 key factors that dictate just how stable the emulsion is, and therefore how strong the demulsifier needs to be. These are:
  1. Crude Oil Physical, Chemical Properties
  2. Production Temperature
  3. Distance Between Reservoir and Topside
  4. Reservoir and Separator Agitation (Turbulent Flow)
  5. Presence of Solid Contaminants
Identifying the right chemical mix for the most effective demulsifier treatment takes a little time, with the ‘bottle test’ used to see the results of set combinations on samples of the crude oil emulsion. Doing this test onsite is important as the exact operating conditions are factors that have to be taken on board too.

Once the best results are observed, the ideal emulsion breaker is finally known. It is then injected on a continuous basis upstream of the first stage production separator.

When it comes to separating crude oil and water, the demulsifier works by either causing the oil droplets to clump together; massing the water droplets together; and by dropping the water.

The Demulsifier Range from Velocity Chemicals

At Velocity Chemicals, we provide a range of demulsifiers and specialty chemicals specifically designed for separating crude oil and water emulsions that can occur during crude oil production and processing.

Our selection of specially formulated demulsifiers are ideal for oil and gas production systems and desalting units, and can also reduce residual hydrocarbon content in water to acceptable levels for disposal.

And because of our experience in the field, and expertise in the laboratory, we can formulate emulsion breakers to the precise blend to ensure the most effective demulsifier treatment wherever it may be used.

Has the above information on effective demulsifier treatment sparked your interest? Call or email us to find out how you can receive a FREE sample of our best-selling demulsifier, BUNKER BREAKER II!

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