What is the Separator?

A pressure vessel used for separating well fluids produced from oil and gas wells into gaseous and liquid components.  The separator maybe horizontal, vertical or spherical, the most common used is the horizontal separator.

Why we use it?

the crude well produced from the well is mixture of water, oil and gas, in order to export it to the pipeline quality or to the refinery facility , we have to remove the gas and water from oil , also the solids and impurities have to be remove , so the separators remove the gas , water , solids and other impurities from the crude oil in order to sale it or send it to refinery facilities to produce other products such as (Kerosene , Naphtha ..etc).

Types of separators

There are 3 types of separators: 

1.Vertical Separators. 
2.Horizontal Separators.
    a. Mono Tube
    b. Dual Tube. 
3.Spherical Separator.

These separators commonly separate 2 phases or 3 phases from each other, for example liquid separated from gas by 2 phase separators, where water and gas is separate from oil by 3 phase separators. The number phases is refer to the number of fluids leaving the separators not number of phases entering the separators. So the 2 phase separator has 2 outlets, and 3 phases separator has 3 outlets.

 Parts of the Separator.

1.     Primary Separation section: the fluids flowing with high velocity inside the horizontal pipes and enter the separator, when the fluids enter the separation vessel the velocity decreased because the separation vessel diameter is larger than the pipe diameter. A tool called “inlet diverter is placed in front of the inlet nozzle which will cause a rapid change in the direction and velocity of the flowing fluids and cause the gas coming out of the solution (separation), there are many types of “inlet diverter” the most commonly are listed below:

Baffle Plate

Tangential Baffle

 2. Settling Section: the part composed of open wide part in the bottom of the separation vessel, most of the liquid is separated from gas by gravity force, where the velocity of the liquids should be in velocities allow separation.
3. Mist Extractor: in this section the remaining droplets of water in the gas will be separation as a final separation before the gas leave the vessel.

Classification of the separators

Oil and gas separators may be classified according to application as test separator, production separator, low temperature separator, metering separator, elevated separator, and stage separators (first stage, second stage, etc.).

Test separator:  A test separator is used to separate and to meter the well fluids. Test separators can be vertical, horizontal, or spherical. They can be two-phase or three-phase. They can be permanently installed or portable (skid or trailer mounted). Test separators can be equipped with various types of meters for measuring the oil, gas, and/or water for potential tests, periodic production tests, marginal well tests, etc.

Production Separator: A production separator is used to separate the produced well fluid from a well, group of wells, or a lease on a daily or continuous basis. Production separators can be vertical, horizontal, or spherical. They can be two-phase or three-phase. Production separators range in size from 12 in. to 15 ft in diameter, with most units ranging from 30 in. to 10 ft in diameter. They range in length from 6 to 70 ft, with most from 10 to 40 ft long.

Low-temperature separator: A low-temperature separator is a special one in which high-pressure well fluid is jetted into the vessel through a choke or pressure reducing valve so that the separator temperature is reduced appreciably below the well-fluid temperature. The temperature reduction is obtained by the Joule–Thomson effect of expanding well fluid as it flows through the pressure-reducing choke or valve into the separator. The lower operating temperature in the separator causes condensation of vapors that otherwise would exit the separator in the vapor state. Liquids thus recovered require stabilization to prevent excessive evaporation in the storage tanks.

Metering separator: The function of separating well fluids into oil, gas, and water and metering the liquids can be accomplished in one vessel. These vessels are commonly referred to as metering separators and are available for two-phase and three-phase operation. These units are available in special models that make them suitable for accurately metering foaming and heavy viscous oil.

Separation Process

The separation process is a physical process where the liquid separated from gas by gravity forces without any chemical reactions.

"Separator (Oil Production)". N.p., 2017. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.