(411a) Control Emulsions, Suspensions, and Solids Separation with Inline Particle Size Measurements In Dark Crude Oil

Hydrocarbon pipeline flow is typically a complex multi-phase system comprised of bubbles, droplets, and particles including asphaltenes, waxes, gas hydrates, emulsions, and inorganic particles. To control separations, flow, and process efficiency, analytical measurements are often applied by petroleum engineers and chemists. Yet extreme temperature and pressure conditions make offline sampling and analysis difficult and time consuming. Offline measurements can also alter or destroy multiphase components and cannot be applied to make real-time process optimization and control decisions. With the implementation of inline particle characterization technology, particle or droplet phase behavior can be measured quickly, in real time, without pulling samples. 

This paper focuses on the application of real time, in-process particle and droplet measurement tools to avoid processing problems in the following R&D and full scale production applications:

  • Controlling asphaltene and wax precipitation in dark crude oil
  • Improving oil-water and water-oil separation through in-process droplet measurements
  • Visualizing and inhibit gas hydrate formation to ensure consistent flow rates
  • Improving oil/sand tailings settling rates and optimizing flocculent and chemical surfactant effectiveness