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Heater Treater

Heater Treater

Water droplets suspended in oil create what is called an emulsion. The Emulsion
Treater was designed to separate crude oil from water and foreign material. In other
words, break the emulsion and separate the good oil from the water, sand, and other
sediment produced with it.

Most emulsion treating problems can be solved by some combination of the following:

1. Chemical Injection- The purpose is to introduce a chemical into the wellstream

that will neutralize the emulsifying agent and weaken the film surrounding the
water droplets. The location of the injection point is critical, and it should be
located far enough away to allow adequate mixing.
2. Separation of Gas and Free-water- Removal of the gas reduces turbulence and
agitation in the free-water knockout and settling sections allowing quiet
separation of the water from the emulsion. Removal of the free-water eliminates
unnecessary heating of that water, reducing the heat load on the heating
equipment and cutting treating cost.
3. Application of Heat- Heat produces three effects on oil emulsion: (1) it increases
the effectiveness of the chemical, (2) it reduces the viscosity of the oil and
emulsion, and (3) it weakens the film making it easier for water droplets to settle
4. Filtering- If heat does not reduce the emulsion it is often necessary to provide
some filtering media which offers a large surface area that water can collect and
merge and settle out.
5. Settling- Adequate retention time must be provided to remove small water
droplets from the heated oil.

How It Works:

The well stream enters at the top into the gas separation section where there is a diverter
which deflects the liquid stream onto the side walls which causes it to spread in a thin
film so both free gas and solution gas are released quickly. The fluid then hits the
diaphragm plate and flow through the downcomer to the spreader underneath the fire
tube. The oil and emulsion is broken into small streamlets by the perforated tray spreader
and move up through the hot water section. This action breaks the larger part of the
emulsion. The water released falls back to the bottom section. The final traces of water
are gravity separated through the quiet settling section above the filter bed. The treated
oil then exits the oil outlet. The warm gas from the settling section enters the gas
separation section through the equalizer pipe and mixes with the cool inlet well stream
gas. This causes condensation of valuable heavier entrained fractions which are
recovered in the oil. The gas travels through a vain mist extractor where entrained large
liquid droplets are removed and returned to the oil.

West Texas Heater Treater