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Developments in Petroleum Science, 19A

surface operations in
petroleum productlon, I
FURTHER TITLES IN THIS SERIES
1 A.G. COLLINS
GEOCHEMISTRY OF OILFIELD WATERS
2 W.H.FERTL
ABNORMAL FORMATION PRESSURES
3 A.P. SZILAS
PRODUCTION AND TRANSPORT OF OIL AND GAS
4 C.E.B. CONYBEARE
GEOMORPHOLOGY O F OIL AND GAS FIELDS IN SANDSTONE BODIES
5 T.F. YEN and G.V. CHILINGARIAN (Editors)
OIL SHALE
6 D.W. PEACEMAN
FUNDAMENTALS OF NUMERICAL RESERVOIR SIMULATION
7 G.V. CHILINGARIAN and T.F. YEN (Editors)
BITUMENS, ASPHALTS AND TAR SANDS
8 L.P. DAKE
FUNDAMENTALS O F RESERVOIR ENGINEERING
9 K.MAGARA
COMPACTION AND FLUID MIGRATION
10 M.T. SILVIA and E.A. ROBINSON
DECONVOLUTION OF GEOPHYSICAL TIME SERIES IN THE EXF'LOR .ATION
FOR OIL AND NATURAL GAS
11 G.V. CHILINGARIAN and P. VORABUTR
DRILLING AND DRILLING FLUIDS
12 T.D. VAN GOLF-RACHT
FUNDAMENTALS OF FRACTURED RESERVOIR ENGINEER.ING
13 J. FAYERS (Editor
ENHANCED o n RECOVER4
14 G.MOZES Editor)
PARAFFIN PRODUCkS
15A 0 . S E R R A
FUNDAMENTALS OF WELL-LOG INTERPRETATION
1. THE ACQUISITION OF LOGGING DATA
15B O.SERRA
FUNDAMENTALS OF WELL-LOG INTERPRETATION
2. THE INTERPRETATION OF LOGGING DATA
16 R.E. CHAPMAN
PETROLEUM GEOLOGY
17A E.C. DONALDSON, G.V. CHILINGARIAN and T.F. YEN
ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY, I
FUNDAMENTALS AND ANALYSES
18A A.P. SZILAS
PRODUCTION AND TRANSPORT O F OIL AND GAS
A. FLOW MECHANICS A N D PRODUCTION
second completely revised edition
19A G.V. CHILINGARIAN, J.O. ROBERTSON Jr. and S. KUMAR
SURFACE OPERATIONS IN PETROLEUM PRODUCTION, I
19B G.V. CHILINGARIAN, J.O. ROBERTSON Jr. and S. KUMAR
SURFACE OPERATIONS IN PETROLEUM PRODUCTION, I1
20 A.J. DIKKERS
GEOLOGY IN PETROLEUM PRODUCTION
Developments in Petroleum Science, 19A

surface operations in
petroleum production, I
G.V. CHILINGARIAN
Petroleum Engineering Department, University of Southern California,
University Park, Los Angeles, CA 90089-121 1 , U.S.A.

J.O. ROBERTSON, Jr.


Earth Engineering, Inc., 4244 Live Oak St., Cudahy, CA 90201, U.S.A.

S. KUMAR
Petroleum Engineering Department, University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA 90089-121 1 , U.S.A.

Associate Editors:

T.A. BERTNESS and C.M. BEESON


Petroleum Engineering Department, University of Southern California, Los Angeles,
CA 90089-1211 , U.S.A.
with contributions from:
Moayed Yousif Al-Bassam Donald G. Knox
Axelson, Inc. Frank J. Lockhart
Donald U. Bessler Dawood Momeni
William G. Carter R.L. Pettefer
Erle C. Donaldson W.J. Powers
Clarence Dunbar K.M. Sasseen
Bruce A. Eckerson Varec, Inc.
Kern H. Guppy L.C. Waterman
W.B. Hatcher Phil Wilson
Arnold L. Johnson

ELSEVIER
AMSTERDAM - OXFORD - NEW YORK - TOKYO 1987
ELSEVIER SCIENCE PUBLISHERS B.V.
Sara Burgerhartstraat 25
P.O. Box 211, 1000 AE Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Distributors for the United States and Canada:

ELSEVIER SCIENCE PUBLISHING COMPANY INC.


52,Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017, U.S.A.

Library of Congca C ~ ~at. ~ I I ~

Chilingarisn, George V., 1929-


Surface operations in petroleum production.

(kvelopments in petroleum science ; 19)


Includes bibliographies and index.
1. Petroleum engineering. I. Robertson, John 0 .
11. Kumar, 6. (SanJay), 1960-
IV. S e r i e s .
.
111. T i t l e .

TN871.C495 1966 622 ' .336 06-29126


ISBN 0-444-42473-3 (U.S. : V. 1)

ISBN 0-444-42473-3
(Vol. 19A)
ISBN 0-444-41625-0
(Series)

0 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.,1987

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photo-
copying, recording o r otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher,
Elsevier Science Publishers B.V./Science & Technology Division, P.O. Box 330,1000 AH
Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Special regulations for readers in the USA - This publication has been registered with
the Copyright Clearance Center Inc. (CCC), Salem, Massachusetts. Information can be
obtained from the CCC about conditions under which photocopies of parts of this
publication may be made in the USA. All other copyright questions, including photo-
copying outside of the USA, should be referred to the publisher.

Printed in The Netherlands


This book is dedicated to George Deukmejian, Governor of California,
for his support of the petroleum industry.
VI

CONTRIBUTORS
M.Y. AL-BASSAM Getty Oil Co., P.O. Box 1, Mina Saud, State of Kuwait
Axelson, Inc. P.O. Box 2427, Longview, TX 75606, U.S.A.
C.M. BEESON Petroleum Engineering Department, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1211,
U.S.A.
D.U. BESSLER Tretolite, Petrolite Corporation, 369 Marshall Avenue,
St. Louis, MO 63119, U.S.A.
T.A. BERTNESS Petroleum Engineering Department, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1211,
U.S.A. (also: Consultant, 14827 La Cuarte Street,
Whittier, CA 90605, U.S.A.)
W.G. CARTER Earth Engineering, Inc., 4244 Live Oak Street, Cudahy,
CA 90201, U.S.A.
G.V. CHILINGARIAN Petroleum Engineering Department, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1211,
U.S.A.
E.C. DONALDSON Petroleum & Geology Engineering, University of
Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, U.S.A.
C. DUNBAR Senior Application Engineer, TRW Reda Pump Divi -
sion, Bartlesville, Okla., U.S.A.
B.A. ECKERSON Vanson Engineering Co., 1061-B Kraemer Place,
Anaheim, CA 92806, U.S.A.
K.H. GUPPY Petroleum Engineering Department, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1211,
U.S.A.
W.B. HATCHER Texaco, Inc., Taft, CA 93268
A.L. JOHNSON Vanson Engineering Co., 1061-B Kraemer Place,
Anaheim, CA 92806, U.S.A.
D.G. KNOX Petroleum Engineering Department, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1211,
U.S.A.
S. KUMAR Petroleum Engineering Department, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1211,
U.S.A.
F.J. LOCKHART Chemical Engineering Department, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1211,
U.S.A.
D. MOMENI Petroleum Engineering Department, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1211,
U.S.A.
VII

R.L. PETTEFER Petrolite Corporation, Petreco Equipment Group, 369


Marshall Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63119, U.S.A.
W.J. POWERS Manager Marketing Services, TRW Reda Pump Divi-
sion, Bartlesville, Okla., U S A .
J.O. ROBERTSON, Jr. Earth Engineering, Inc., 4244 Live Oak Street, Cudahy,
CA 90201, U.S.A.
K.M. SASSEEN HTI-Superior, Inc., Berry Industries Company, P.O.
Box 3908, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670, U.S.A.
Varec, Inc. VAREC Division, Emerson Electric Co., 10800 Valley
View Street, Cypress, CA 90630, U.S.A.
L.C. WATERMAN Petrolite Corporation, Petreco Equipment Group, 369
Marshall Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63119, U.S.A.
P. WILSON Kobe Inc., 3040 East Slauson Avenue, Huntington
Park, CA 90255, U.S.A.
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IX

PREFACE

This book has been developed at a time when oil producers are taking a much
closer look at the economy of oilfield operation and redesign of production
technology to improve ultimate recovery. The very high cost, and risk, of the search
for new oilfields demands the reevaluation of production technology and reservoir
engineering to improve the production characteristics of existing oilfields. This book
serves the need of field production managers and engineers for a comprehensive
reference on petroleum production surface operations and technology. Teachers and
students will find that it fills the need for a text on production technology to
complement the study of reservoir engineering.
The book presents a lucid description of the physical and chemical properties of
the fluids encountered by engineers in the field. The properties, methods of
separation, measurement, and transportation of these fluids (gases, condensate
liquids derived from natural gas, crude oils and oilfield waters) are also presented.
Thus these chapters form the basis for the explanation of surface equipment, which
exploits physical and chemical properties to process the fluids in the field for their
processing and transportation. Oilfield emulsions and the chemistry of their control,
as well as the equipment and processes used for emulsion separation in the oilfield,
are discussed in the opening chapters of the book.
Following a presentation of the fluids and their process technology, a series of
chapters present a thorough discussion of every type of surface equipment that is
encountered in the myriad aspects of oilfield operations ranging from waterflooding
to new enhanced oil recovery techniques. Included are methods for pumping, water
control, production logging and corrosion control.
The book is so comprehensive that it also includes, as a third general category:
well completion and work-over operations, methods for design and operation of
underground gas storage, and a review of offshore technology. Thus, this two-volume
book on oilfield surface operations offers a complete reference for all surface
technology for the manager, engineer, teacher and student.
The preparation of this valuable book is the result of cooperation from the
experts in petroleum production who have devoted their time to the lucid expression
of the knowledge that they have acquired through experience in the evaluation and
solution of field problems, and development of economic field processes. Oil
production companies have been generous in their cooperation through assistance
and encouragement to the authors and permission to publish data, designs and
photographs.
It is hoped that this book will find a prominent place in the Developments in
Petroleum Science Series and that it will be instrumental in the improvement of the
global enhancement of oil production and ultimate recovery.

Erle C . Donaldson, Ph.D., P.E.


Petroleum and Geological Engineering
University of Oklahoma
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XI

CONTENTS

CONTRIBUTORS ........................................................ VI

PREFACE .............................................................. 1X

Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION TO SURFACE PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT


K.M. Sasseen and G.V. Chilingarian

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Gatheringsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
..... 3
..... 4
- Heater treaters, 6
...... 11

.........
. . . . . . . ..
....................... 12

Sample problems . . . ...... . .


Exchanger problem . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Solution, 21
Washtank problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Field data, 23 - Required, 23
Appendix 1.1 - Some fundamental fluid mechanics concepts and sample problems . .
Fundamental equation of fluid statics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Buoyancy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
General energy equation. . . .

Compressible flow formula . . . ... . . . . . ... .... . . ..... .. . .. .. ..... . . ........


~ 27
. . . . . . . . .... . ... . 28
Solution, 28
Example problem 2. Compressible flow ( n o d e )
Solution, 29

Solution, 31

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...... 32
Saturated hydrocarbons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Unsaturated hydrocarbons .... 35
Naphthene hydrocarbons . ........................................ 3s
Aromatic hydrocarbons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Classification of petroleums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... ..... 38
XI1

Some rules of nomenclature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39


Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Chapter 2. PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF PETROLEUM GASES AND LIQUIDS


F.J.Lockhart and G.V. Chilingarian

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Density of gases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Example2-1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Density of liquids . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Example 2-2 .... 47
Viscosity of gases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Example2-3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Viscosity of liquids . .......... 50
52
52
Example24 .......................................................... 55
55
56
56
58

Chapter 3. SEPARATION OF OIL AND GAS


F.J. Lockhart, G.V. Chilingaxian and S. Kumar

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Equilibrium flash calculations 60
Basic equilibrium relations for 60
Types of separators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Internal parts of a separator . .... ..................... 63
Factors influencing separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Separatordesi g n . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Gascapacity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Liquidcapacity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Vessel design . . . . . . . . ... .... 68
Example 3-1, 68 - Example 3-2, 70
Separator design using actual manufacturers’ field test data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Stage separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................. 71
Determination of optimum pressure f stage is atmospheric . . . . . , . 73
Determination of optimum pressures for three-stage separation (Whinery-Campbell technique) 73
Methods of successive approximations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Isothermal flash for two phases . . . 77
Lockhart-McHenry method of flash-eq 78
Example 3-3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
TheLockhartmethod . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Example3-4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Three-phase flash equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................... ..... 83
Sample problems and questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Appendix 3.1 - Raoult’s, Dalton’s and Henry’s laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Example 3.1-1 ..... 86
XI11

Appendix 3.11 - Illustration, accessories, gas capacities, settling volumes, and specifications for:
(1) vertical low-pressure separators; (2) vertical high-pressure separators; (3) horizontal low-
pressure separators; (4) horizontal high-pressure separators; and ( 5 ) spherical separators . . . . 87
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

Chapter 4. OIL FIELD EMULSIONS AND THEIR ELECTRICAL RESOLUTION


L.C. Waterman, R.L. Pettefer and G.V. Chilingarian

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Theory of emulsions

Electrical treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115


Electric dehydrators .... 118
Automated dehydration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Sample questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Acknowledgements . ....
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124

Chapter 5 . CHEMICAL RESOLUTION OF PETROLEUM EMULSIONS


D.U. Bessler and G.V. Chilingarian

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Nature of emulsions 125
125
Role of the emulsifier. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Stability of emulsions 126
Crude oil production. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Reduced-temperature treating 130
Chemical resolution process . . 131
Action of demulsifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Operating procedures 133
Chemical injection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Agitation 133
Heating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Settling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Mechanical systems 134
Free water knock
- Vertical heater treater, 136 - Horizontal heater treater, 136 - Electrical dehydration,
136
Resolution of oil-in-water emulsions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Trouble shooting . 137
Chemicalinjection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
138
Freewaterknockout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
Flowsplitters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
Heat exchangers 140
Gunbarrels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
Heatertreaters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
Chemelectric treater . . . . . . .... 141
Producedfluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
XIV

Waste oil treating systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142


Treatmenttanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Heating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143

............ 144
............ 144

Stokes’law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Sample questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Appendix 5.1 - Derivation of Stokes’ law equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
References . . . 147

Chapter 6. VAPOR RECOVERY


Varec. G.V. Chilingarian and S. Kumar

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...................... 149


Evaporation loss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...................... 149

Equipment required
Design of vapor recovery systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Storage pressures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
Vent valve pressure settings . . . . . . . .

Valve flow capacity ................................... 165

Fast payouts from vapor recovery systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166


Example (A) - System payout from vapor recovery only

................ 168
................ 169
......................................................... 169
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
...... 170

Chapter 7. NATURAL GAS AND NATURAL GAS LIQUIDS


B.A. Eckerson. A.L. Johnson and G.V. Chilinganan

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
Naturalgas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Gas processing plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Gas specifications . ........................ 182

Acid gas content ....... ........ 182

Water content ..................... 183


xv
Carbon dioxide and air . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
Hydrogen sulfide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
Specific gravity ..................................... 184
Heating value . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ........... 184
Gas measureme ............................ 184
Natural gas liquids .................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
184
Ethane, 185 - Propane, 185 - Butane, 185 - Butane-pr
gasoline, 185
.................................................... 185
...................... 185
185
........... 188
189
189
....................... 190
Adsorption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ........... 191
Refrigeration processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Absorption . . . . . 193
198
198
200
................................................. 201
.................. 202
204
Ethylene recovery plant problem ............................ 204

..................................................... 205
....................... 206
Description of natural gaso
................................... 209
210

Chapter 8. OIL AND GAS TRANSPORT


S. Kumar and G.V. Chilinganan

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .............. 211


Fundamentals of flow in pipes . . . . . .............. 211
Allowable working pressure of pipeline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
Horsepower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ........................ 213
Friction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Friction head loss in fittings and connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
Principles of pumping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
Pumping mechanisms. . ............................................... 219
Measurement of perform e . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .... 219
Oil pipeline transportation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Example 8-1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ........................ 224
Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
Increasing flow capacity of pipelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
(1) Complete loop, 226 - (2) Partial loop, 226
Example8-2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .... 227
XVI

Solution, 227 - Booster pump stations, 228 - Branching pipelines, 228


Nonisothermalflow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230
Fundamentals of heat transfer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . , . . . , . . . . , . . 230
Conduction, 231 - Convection, 232
Application of heat transfer concepts to buried pipelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . 234
(1) Estimation of thermal constants from soil properties, 234 - (2) Estimation of thermal
constants by direct measurement, 234
Examples-3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236
Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . 236
Steady-state flow in buried pipelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . 237
Examples-4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
Solution ................................... 239
Viscosity, 244 - Density, 246 - Kinematic viscosity, 247 - Specific heat, 247 -
Thermal conductivity, 247
Example 8-5 ............................................ 247
Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248
Transient (unsteady state) flow of oil in buried pipelines 249
Heating up of a cold line by introduction of hot oil,
Transportation of heavy oils in pipelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
Pipeline transportation of natural gas 254
Physical properties of gases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254
Gas compressibility, 254 - Density, 256 - Viscosity, 258 - Specific heat, 259
Gasflowfundamentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
Weymouth approximation, 262
Mean pressure evaluation ..................................... 263
The hydrate point for hyd 265
Gas transmission systems . . . . . . . . . , . . 266
System of parallel lines, 266 - Lines in series, 267
Example8-6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268
268

269
................................................ 269
273
273
Sampleproblems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276

Chapter 9. DESIGN OF FLOWING WELL SYSTEMS


S. Kumar, K.H. Guppy and G.V. Chilingaian

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279
Reservoir fluid flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
Example 9-1, 280 - Find, 280 - Solution, 280 - Example 9-2, 282 - Find, 282 -

286
................................................. 286
289
Example 9-4, 289 - Find, 289 - Solution, 289
Multiphase flow in directional wells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
Example 9-5, 290 - Solution, 290
XVII

Horizontal flow in surface flowlines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291


Horizontal flow correlations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Working pressure traverse curves for horizontal flow . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Example 9-6, 292 - Solution, 292
Inclined or hilly terrain multiphase flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
Example 9-7, 293 - Solution, 293
Flowthroughchokes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
Example 9-8, 295 - Determine, 295 - Solution, 295
The overall production system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
Example 9-9, 297 - Solution, 297
.
Vertical correlation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298
Horizontal correlation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298
Sample problems . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .............................. 299
Appendix9.I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 300
Appendix 9.11 - Introduction to chokes . , . . .. 323
References . . . . . . . . ................................................... 326
Chapter 10. WELL TESTING
S. Kumar and G.V. Chilingarian

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327
Drillstem testing . . . . . . . . . . 327
Component parts of a conv ............................... 329
Anchor shoe, 329 - Perforated anchor pipe, 329 - Pressure recorders, 329 - Packers,
331 - Equalizing valve,331 - Tester valve, 332 - Choke, 332 - Shut-in valve, 332 -
Circulating valve, 332 - Other components, 332
Drillstem test procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333
Qualitative drillstem test interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336
Buildup and drawdown test fundamentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
Solution to the diffusivity equation for infinite reservoirs 343
Pseudosteady state flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344
Radius of drainage and stabilization time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 346
Drawdown test ................ 347
Multiple-rate drawdown testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350
Example 10-1,351 - Given, 352 - Solution, 352
Pressure buildup test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 353
Example 10-2, 355 - Solution, 355
Buildup following a long producing time .... 356
Equivalent producing time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 356
Drawdown and buildup tests in gas wells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 357
................ 359

365

testing, 367 - Vertical interference tests, 368 - Injection and fall-off tests, 368 - Well
test analysis in the presence of a gas phase, 369
Sample questions and problems . . . . . . . . . . . 369
References ... 370
Chapter 11. PRODUCTION LOGGING
S. Kumar and G.V. Chilingarian

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
Logging devices 373
XVIII

High-resolution thermometer . . . . . . ..................................... 374


Gradiomanometer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..... 374
Inflatable packer flowmeter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 376
Continuousflowmeter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377
Fullbore spinner flowmeter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 377
Caliper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. ........... 378
Manometer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. ........... 380
Radioactive tracer surveys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
(1) Velocity-shot method. 380 - (2) Timed runs (controlled-time method). 381 - (3)
Differential injection method. 383
Miscellaneous tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 383
Interpretation of flowmeter logs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384
Monophasicflow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384
In-situ spinner calibration. 385
Polyphasicflow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 386
......................... 387
s. 387 - Triphasic flow types. 388
Flowparameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388
Spinner response in diphasic flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389
Interpretation of the gradiomanometer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
Temperature surveys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Dynamic conditions . ............ ... ....................... 393
Static conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 393
(1) Lost circulation. 393 - (2) Cementing. 393 - (3) Fracturing. 395 - (4) Pr
396 - (5) Fluid injection. 397
Appendix 11.1 - Production logging (field examples) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 401
Example 11.1-1 - PCT survey in a gas well . . . . . . . .......................... 401
Example 11.1-2 - Completion evaluation: initial flow profile . . . . . . . . . 401
Conclusion. 402
Example 11.1-3 - Evaluation of completion: monitoring of acidizing . . . . 403
Example 11.1-4 - Evaluation of completion: monitoring the perforati
completion in a gas well . . . . . 404
Example 11.1.5 - Diagnosis of ater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 408
Example 11.1-6 - Diagnosis of a well problem: gas channeling behind liner . . . . . . . . . . . . . 408
Example 11.1-7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411
Production logs. 411 .Quick-look interpretation. 412 - Quantitative interpretation. 412
- Conclusion. 412
Sample problems and questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 412
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413

Chapter 12. GAS LIFT


J.O. Robertson, Jr., G.V. Chilinganan. W.G. Carter and S. Kumar

Introduction 415
Review of gas lift fundamentals 416
Pressure gradients . . . . . . . 416
Derivation of pressure at bottom of gas column . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 416
Energy utilized in lifting fluids 420
Types of gas expansion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 420
Isothermal expansion. 420 . Adiabatic expansion. 421 . Polytropic expansion. 421
Volume of gas necessary for gas lift . . . 421
XIX

Gas lift efficiencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


(a) Leakage, 422 - (b) Entrance and discharge losses, 422
(d) Friction losses, 422 - (e) Back pressure at discharge, 422
Kick-off pressure (without valves) . . . . . . .
Gas volumes necessary for gas lift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fluid velocity in eductor tube . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Average density of fluid in eductor tube . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Principles and methods of gas lift


Gas lift terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Types of gas lift . . . ....................................... 431

Spacing between gas lift valves . . . .


Continuous flow gas lift (unbalanced
Example 12-1 . . . .

Given, 446 - Solution, 447


Intermittent gas lift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Kick-off valves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ............. 453


Flow type valves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Differential valves .............................. 454
Mechanically-controlled valves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Pressure valves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
...................................... 456

..................... 460

.............................. 461

Sample problems and questions


References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Chapter 13. PLUNGER LIFT


C.M. Beeson, D.G. Knox, M. Al-Bassam and G.V. Chilinganan

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 467
History . . . . . . ..................... 468
Free-cycling plunger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 8
Cycle-controlled expanding plunger .................................... 468
Equipment developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 469
Type M plunger lift Christmas tree . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 469
Turbulent-seal plunger ...................... 473
Tandem plunger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
Segmented retractable pads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
Removable footpiece .............................. 474
Taylor Type K cycle controller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
xx
Time cycle controller with attachments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 475
Electronic controller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 475
Early prediction methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 475
Well data for cycle-controlled expanding plunger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 476
Least squares equations for plunger lift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 476
Description of plunger lift and need for equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 476
Equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 483
Net operating pressure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 484
Gas-liquid ratio gradient . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 484
Pressurebuildup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 484
Maximum production rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ........ 484
Method of obtaining equations for gas and pressure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 485
Wells with 2.in . plungers .................... ...................... 485
Wells with 2.. in. plungers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...................... 486
Method of obtaining equations for maximum production rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 487
Constructing plunger lift nomographs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .... 488
Need for nomographs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 488
Method of constructing nomographs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 488
Estimating average pressure at point where gas enters tubing. 488 - Derivation of
operating line for 2.in . plunger, 489 - Derivation of operating line for 2f.in . plunger, 490
- Mathematical operations by nomographs. 490 - Derivation of supplementary operat-
ing line for 2.in . plunger. 493 - Derivation of supplementary operating line for 2f.h .
plunger, 494
Method of testing effects of various well conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 495
Tailpipe, 495 - Water cut, 496 - Oil gravity, 496
How to use plunger lift nomographs ..................... 496
Purpose of nomographs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 496
Nomograph instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497
Step I, 497 - Step 11, 498 - Step 111, 498 - Step IV, 498 - Step V.A, 498 - Step V.B,
500
Plunger lift nomographs and examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505
Typesofexamplewells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505
Nomograph examples . . . ................. 505
Accuracy expected from res ............................................. 507
Plunger lift applications . . . . . . . . . . . ............... 510
Use of equations and figures without 510
Types of oil wells suitable for plunger lift ..................... 510
General considerations, 510 - Capac
How to determine if a well is a possible plunger lift candidate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 512
Use of Figs. 13-10 and 13.11, 513 - Well depends entirely on formation gas, 515 - Well
has gas available from some outside source, 515
Intermittent flowing and plunger lift system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 515
Equipping wells at start for intermittent flowing and plunger lift (free piston) system . . . . . . . 515
Tubing program, 515 - Christmas tree, 516- Well starting, 516 - Cycle controller for
intermittent flowing, 516
Advantages of intermittent flowing and plunger lift system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 516
Gas well applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 517
Predicting plunger lift performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 517
Need to use tubing bottom as reference depth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 517
Example of change in productivity index with depth . . . . 518
Obtaining static and index consistent with operating 518
Changes in operating line with changes in static and index computed from operating
conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 520
XXI

Actual field example of changes in predictions from operating line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 521


Nomenclature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 527
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 528
Sample problems and questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 528
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 529

Chapter 14. SUCKER-ROD PUMPING


D. Momeni, G.V. Chilingarian, W.B. Hatcher and Axelson

531
531
General considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , 532
Subsurface pumps . . . .................................. 539
Evaluation and selection of pumps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 539
Selection of pump bore size . . 539
Selection of pump setting depth 551
Selection of pump types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 551
(1) Casing pump, 552 - (2) Tubing pump, 554 - (3) Rod pump with travelling barrel,
555 - (4) Rod pump with stationary barrel and bottom hold-down, 556 - (5) Rod pump
with stationary barrel and top hold-down, 559 - (6) Rod pump with stationary barrel and
top and bottom hold-down, 559
Theoretical analysis in sucker-rod design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 560
Design of the sucker-rod string .... 561
Example 14-1 . . . . . . . . . . . . .... 568
Solution, 569
Rod motion analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . 569
Example14-2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 570
Solution, 570
Effective plunger stroke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 570
Pump-size determination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 574
Example 14-3 . . .......... 575
Solution, 575
Polished rod loads calculation 576
Counterbalance design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 578
Torque calculation . . . 580
Prime mover horsepo 581
Example14-4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 582
Solution, 582
API recommended design procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 583
Dynamometer cards (dynagraphs) . . . . . . .... 593
Visual diagnosis of operating conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 595
Pumping efficiency determination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 611
Problem well testing . . . 611
Energyoptimization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 611
Surface efficiency . . 619
Subsurface efficiency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 619
Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 621
Pump-off controls and timers . . . . ............... 621
Selectionofmaterials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 622
Corrosion . . . . . . . . . . . . 622
(1) Pitting and concentr
corrosion, 622 - (4) Galvanic corrosion, 623 - (5) Sulfide stress cracking, 623 - (6)
Corrosion fatigue, 623 - (7) Material strength, 623 - Inhibitors, 625
XXII

Installation and operation , , , . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 626


Sample problems and questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 626
Appendix 14.1 - Useful formulas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 628
Appendix 14.11 - Pumping unit design calculations , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 629
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 633

Chapter 15. HYDRAULIC SUBSURFACE PUMPS


P. Wilson and G.V. Chlingarian

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 635
Subsurface pumps-piston type . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 638
Example problem 15-1 656
Pump selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . 660
Example, 665
Example problem 15-2 667
Given, 667 - Find, 667 - Solution, 668
Example problem 15-3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 669
Given, 669 - Find, 669 - Find, 669 - Solution, 669
Classproblems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 670
Tubing arrangements . 670
Wellheads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 680
Control manifolds 680
681
Power fluid cleaning system 681
683
683
684
685
687
693
693
Example problem 15-4 ........................................ 708
Given, 708 - Assume, 709 - Find, 709 - Solution, 710
Class problems . . . . . . . . . . .............. 719
Bottomhole pressure calculations . . . ..... 720
Sample problem and questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 726
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 736

Chapter 16. ELECTRIC SUBMERGIBLE PUMPS


W.J. Powers, C. Dunbar and G.V. Chilingarian

737
737
Applications ................................... 738
...................................... 738
740
...................... 740
743
743
.............................................. 743
Power cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ............................ 748
Motor flat cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 749
XXIII

Switchboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Transformer 752
Wellhead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .............. 152
Junction box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Accessory options ..................................... 153
Pressure-sensin - Variable speed drive, 754
Selection data and methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 756
Mechanical data . . .......................... 756
Production data. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 758
.......................... 760
Electric power supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
760
Handling, installation and operation . . .

...... 175
..................................... 116

Fluidpump-off . . . . .

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

REFERENCES INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 801


SUBJECTINDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 805

Surface Operations in Petroleum Production, I1

Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction (and an Appendix by D.D. Coleman)


by G.V. CHILINGARIAN and J.O. ROBERTSON, Jr.

Chapter 2. Flow rate measurement


by T.R. SIFFERMAN

Chapter 3. The manufacture, chemistry and classification of oilwell cements and additives
by J.O. ROBERTSON, Jr., G.V. CHILINGARIAN and S. KUMAR

Chapter 4. Fracturing
by J.O. ROBERTSON, Jr., G.V. CHILINGARIAN and S . KUMAR

Chapter 5. Acidizing oilwells


by J.O. ROBERTSON, Jr. and G.V. CHILINGARIAN

Chapter 6 . Gravel packing


by W.B. HATCHER, G.V. CHILINGARIAN and J.R. SOLUM
XXIV

Chapter 7. Steam enhanced oil recovery


by J.P. FANARITIS AND G.V. CHILINGARIAN

Chapter 8. Corrosion in drilling and producing operations


by T.A. BERTNESS, G.V. CHILINGARIAN and M. AL-BASSAM

Chapter 9. Water quality for subsurface injection


by C.C. WRIGHT and G.V. CHILINGARIAN

Chapter 10. Offshore technology


by S. KUMAR and G.V. CHILINGARIAN

Chapter 11. Pollution control


by K.M. SASSEEN, G.V. CHILINGARIAN and J.P. BRADY

Chapter 12. Underground storage of gas and oil


by A. ALI AZUN, G.V. CHILINGARIAN and S. KUMAR

Appendix A. Technology of testing petroleum products and sample experiments


by G.V. CHILINGARIAN, J.O. ROBERTSON, Jr. and C.M. BEESON

Appendix B. Conversion of units


by J.O. ROBERTSON, Jr. and G.V. CHILINGARIAN

Reference Index

Subject Index
1

Chapter I

INTRODUCTION TO SURFACE PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT

K.M. SASSEEN, GEORGE V. CHILINGARIAN, AND JOHN 0. ROBERTSON


JR.

INTRODUCTION

During the mid 1800’s, there was a thriving salt producing industry in the U.S.A.
(West Virginia and Pennsylvania), based on the evaporation of natural brines to
recover salt. Crude oil was a troublesome contaminant that would often accompany
the produced brine. It was skimmed off in the evaporation pools and discarded.
Many enterprising salt producers, however, bottled the oil and sold it at “medicine
shows”. A picture of a fierce Indian often appeared on the label, attesting to the
universal curative properties of this “rock oil from the bowels of the earth”.
A sample of the oil was sent to Yale University for analysis and distillation
revealed the presence of some valuable properties. Based on this information, a
syndicate was formed in Pennsylvania to promote the drilling of an oil well. The
Drake well was drilled and completed in 1859 by a group of salt water well drillers
from West Virginia, and marked the beginning of the American petroleum industry.
Thus, the roles of contaminant and product have been reversed in the case of salt
water and oil, which have been associated from the beginning. Since then the oil
industry has progressed steadily until today (1985) the U.S.A. alone consumes
around 16 million barrels of oil per day.
All phases of petroleum technology have kept pace with this expansion through
the never-ending search for better and more efficient methods. Production tech-
niques have advanced from the very crude wooden troughs and pipes used in the
early development of the industry to the modern complex gathering systems, staged
separation, and treating plants. Transportation has evolved from the wooden barrels
filled at the wellhead to a system of pipelines and tank trucks connecting all parts of
the country.
In this book, the writers are concerned with a phase of production classified as
“surface operations in petroleum production”. This classification includes all
equipment and operations from the wellhead to the refinery (Fig. 1-1).

GATHERING SYSTEM

The gathering system (see Fig. 1-1) consists primarily of pipes, valves, and fittings
necessary to connect the wellhead to the separation equipment. The gathering
system may contain one or more lines with branches to each well, or it may consist
of separate lines from each well, which are connected to a group header or test
N

4. STEAM INJECTION
SrVlY GENERATOR
w m WNDOIOOR
I---
FLY- SCRUBBING
FLYASH HANDLING

CW
OIL

i
I
AWT SKID UNIT
r
@ GATHERING
.-
SYSTEM
I
VAPOR RECOVERY

TRUCKING
CLEAN OIL - - MANUAL
TO PIPELINE
SHIPPING
-GAUGING
4

--
PUMP

r r -
STORAGE TANKS
I REJECT

@ PIPELINE I1 LACT UNIT

-@

Fig. 1-1. Schematic flow diagram of surface production equipment. (Courtesy of HTI Superior, Inc., a Berry Industries Company, Santa Fe Springs,
California.)
3

header system, as distance and distribution dictates. Accessory items might include:
(1) gross-production meters; (2) automatic well test units with programmers and
computer readouts communicated to remote office locations or production
headquarters; (3) corrosion inhibitor and chemical injection equipment; (4) auto-
matic routing valves; and (5) production limiting devices. In some cases, gas is
removed from the casinghead into a field gas-gathering system. Some of these
operate under vacuum to 28 in. of Hg. Orifice meters may be installed at each well,
or one meter may be used to measure the entire gas production from a lease.
Development of oilwell steam injection procedures has added to the complexity
of some field gathering systems; however, new development facilities, although more
complex, often tend to simplify the overall design for good continuity and oper-
ation. Oilwell steam injection facilities have been installed in a number of low-grav-
ity oilfields to stimulate oil production. Steam stimulation, in several installations,
increased the net oil production of an existing well up to ten times the production
prior to steaming operations and created new well drilling activity in many existing
fields. Among other details that determine the feasibility of steam operations are
considerations which involve the subsequent steam stimulation of the well after the
initial two or three steaming phases, in terms of a production decline to a level
approaching the production prior to steaming, or a stable increased production due
to the continued steam stimulation.
A steam injection system primarily consists of: (1) a steam generator; (2) a water
conditioning system for feedwater to the steam generator; (3) a main steam header
to various oil production-steam injection manifolds that are locate! in the central
part of the wells to be steamed; (4) a series of lines to each individual well; (5) a
common test line from the above-mentioned manifold; (6) a purge line from the
manifold; and (7) a group oil line from the manifold back to the dehydration
facility. The line to each well from the oil production-steam injection manifold is
often a dual purpose line (in lieu of a single steam line and a single oil line) used for
steaming the well for a certain period of time. In this case, the oil production returns
through the same line to the manifold, where the production is then routed to the
group header. The manifold may contain twenty or more wells, each of which can
be designed with automatic diverter valves in order to: (1) direct the flow of an
individual well to the well test line; (2) route the flow to an automatic well test
(AWT) unit, completely panel programmed; (3) return the flow to the maingroup
header; and (4) after a purge period, program the next well for testing, etc. In the
case of oil-burning type steam generators, ancillary equipment might include
scrubber systems for the removal of fly ash and sulfur dioxide from the generator
combustion gas, to control air pollution and maintain standards set by the local
environmental agencies.

TREATING SECTION

The treating section (see Fig. 1-1)consists of some method of dehydration, such
as using washtanks, heater treaters, or electrical dehydrators. The principal purpose
4

of the treating section is to remove water, sand, and other contaminants from the
oil. In most cases, the waste water must be cleaned to meet the requirements of the
local water quality board. Often the water is further processed for waterflood
applications or for reuse as steam generator feedwater in some locations where the
water has proper chemical composition and properties.
Oil enters the treating section from the separators, where it has been essentially
degassed, and flows to the dehydration equipment. Dehydration may be accom-
plished by one or a combination of several methods ranging from simple tank
settling to complex methods.
In general, dehydration equipment can be divided into three classes: gravity,
electrical, and chemical, or a combination thereof.

Gravity dehydration

Washtanks, heater treaters, centrifuges, etc., are included in the gravity class. As
implied, the principal force involved in the separation of oil and water is gravity
(separation in accordance with Stokes’ law). Centrifuges add mechanical force to aid
gravity settling; however, due to high cost and low capacity, for the most part, this
equipment is no longer a viable consideration for processing.

Washtanks
A washtank (Fig. 1-2) is a large tank equipped with a spreader, oil draw-off, level
control, and low-pressure separator. Oil enters the low-pressure gas separator (gas
boot), situated on top of the tank, and is conducted (higher elevation head) to the
bottom of the tank by means of a large-diameter balance column attached to a
spreader near the bottom of the tank. The operating principle of the spreader design
is to allow the oil-water flow to break up into smaller oil globules through the small
vertical louvered sections of the spreader skirt and thereby cause coalescence of the
minute particles, up into the oil pad with retention time being a factor. Inasmuch as
heat lowers the specific gravity and viscosity of the crude oil, it plays an important
part in the operation of a washtank. A level control (weir balance operation or
electronic sensor) maintains the oil-water interface at a desired height, usually in
the midsection of the tank. Because the spreader is located below the interface, the
input oil is forced to rise vertically through a water bath before entering the oil
layer. Water settles out of the oil under the force of gravity and clean oil is skimmed
from the surface of the oil layer.
Uniform distribution of oil is of primary importance in a washtank. Excessive
channeling rapidly reduces the overall capacity and operation of this type of
dehydrator. Heat is often required to reduce the viscosity of the oil to a value that
will promote gravity settling. In some cases, heat applied internally creates convec-
tion currents in the water bath that may seriously interfere with proper operation of
a washtank. Application of heat to the oil stream prior to entrance to the washtank
will correct this condition. Injection of emulsion-breaking chemicals at the wellhead
or into the oil stream at the treating section aids in the resolution of emulsions. The
5

II 0 W = OIL WATER TRERYOPANE-'

80 PSI AIR 6 =OAS


S =BASIC SEDIMENT
ELECTRIC W =WATER
PROGRAMMER
C.O= CLEAN OIL
ST= STEAM
C =CONDENSATE

Fig. 1-2.Automated wash tank. (Courtesy of HTI Superior, Inc., a Berry Industries Company, Santa Fe
Springs, California.)

detrimental effects of channeling and convection currents led to the development of


a new configuration of spreaders and baffles for the washtank. In this design, the
spreader takes the form of a horizontal slotted pipe instead of a circular pan. The oil
is allowed to rise in a small sector of the tank area confined by a vertical baffle
extending from the bottom to above the oil level. After rising vertically through the
water bath, the oil enters the oil layer which flows uniformly in a horizontal circular
path to an oil skimmer. The skimmer is located on the opposite side of the vertical
baffle from the spreader. Segmented baffles maintain a uniform flow in the circular
path. Heat is applied externally to the oil stream by a heat exchanger or inline
heater. The oil-water interface is maintained at the desired level by the same means
as those used in a conventional washtank, i.e., a weir box or electronic controller.
Capacities of washtanks may be based on three to four barrels of clean oil per
square foot of cross-sectional area per day, when the viscosity of the crude has been
reduced to 100 SSU * or less. A difference in density must exist between the oil and
water for proper washtank operation. Washtanks are not considered as sophisticated
process equipment items, but they are (and will remain) viable dehydration units for
many production facilities, where the API gravity is in the middle-low range. They
are low in the initial installation cost per barrel of oil throughput; and once they are
set and adjusted for the design parameters, they operate practically maintenance-free.

* Saybolt Universal seconds.


6

Heater treaters
A heater treater is a pressure vessel operating on the same basic principle as the
washtank. Heater treaters may be vertical or horizontal and are often direct-fired,
although indirect-heated types are available.
The gravity separation principle is essentially the same as that in the washtank,
the main difference being that the heater treater operates under pressure. Distribu-
tion, convection currents, viscosity, and density difference affect the heater treater
operation in the same manner as they do the operation of a washtank.
Similar to the washtank, a heater treater removes impurities from the produced
crude oil. The most prevalent impurity is the produced water, which usually
contains dissolved salts. Other impurities are sand, silt, metallic oxides, hydrogen
sulphide, and various minerals. All of these constituents may deposit in the storage
tanks, pipelines and, finally, in the refinery process equipment. Resulting corrosion,
erosion, and plugging is detrimental to the efficiency of operation of various
equipment. Because of this, the pipeline-refinery BSW (basic sediment and water)
acceptability limit on crude oil shipments is 3%. The gas also must be separated
from the crude oil.
All treaters utilize gravity to separate the lighter from the heavier components:
gas is the lightest, followed by oil and then water, with solids being generally the
heaviest components. Time and gravity are the two main factors involved in the
separation of various components. The closer the specific weights of the components
are, the longer it will take for gravity separation to occur. In addition, oil coats and
saturates the other components changing their specific weights. Coating with oil
affects the weight of small water droplets more than that of the larger ones. Another
major deterrent to gravity separation is high viscosity of the crude oil. The thicker
the oil, the longer the duration of separation process.
Whereas gravity separation is the basic method used to remove the impurities
from the crude oil, it is generally necessary to apply additional treating processes to
speed up the separation including: (1) chemicals to break emulsions, (2) heaters to
reduce the viscosity of the oil, and (3) coalescing processes to enlarge the water
droplets. Treaters incorporate some or all these means to speed up the separation
process.
A treater utilizes the gravity separation process, which is speeded up by enlarging
the water droplets and/or reducing the viscosity of the oil, often using chemicals
that can help break emulsions. All of these techniques must be applied in a
systematic manner that will conserve energy, minimize costs, and accomplish the
task as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Operation of a typical heavy-duty thermal treater (Fig. 1-3) is based on the best
principle of gravity separation by maintaining a horizontal flow pattern throughout
the entire processing scheme. The constant force of flow resisting the settlement of
water droplets is minimized, as opposed to treaters with vertical flow patterns.
Efficient uniform heating is assured by the stream-flow distribution of the fluid
around the heating elements. The stream-flow (channeled flow) heating pattern
results in a maximum heating efficiency and attains positive equilibrium at the
Fig. 1-3. Superior horizontal downflow emulsion heater treater. (Courtesy of Superior Tank and Construction. Division of Rheern Manufacturing Co.. Los
Angeles, California.)
4
8

oil-gas and water-oil interfaces. With the stream-flow pattern, free water is
separated and bypassed around the heating elements. The crude oil emulsion is
heated sequentially, with the entrained gas and water being removed at the earliest
possible moment in the heating process. This insures a minimum energy loss from
the heating constituents above that necessary to achieve separation.
The crude oil emulsion is heated directly by the heating elements being immersed
in the oil phase. Heating in the oil constant phase reduces scaling and coking of the
heating element, Free and entrained gas, which is released by the heating process, is
removed ahead of the coalescing and settling section, thus preventing the agit’ation
that would be created by its separation in the settling area. All of the water is
collected at the bottom of the treater and discharged from a single control valve at
the back of the treater. This reduces the number of control valves. In addition, the
water experiencing a greater residence time is discharged cleaner.
The gas-free crude oil flows from the heating section into a coalescing section
that contains louvered plates to achieve coalescence and insure uniform distribution
throughout the settling section. The louvered plates impart a slight pressure drop
that causes the oil to distribute across the full cross-section of the vessel. The baffles
are designed to force a change of direction that impacts the water onto the plate.
The cutting edges of the louvers break the oil film present around the water
droplets, allowing the water to escape and coalesce into larger droplets that can
settle more quickly. The horizontal flow reduces the resistance to separation and
settlement. All this results in the delivery of the maximum volume of clean oil with
the minimum expenditure for energy and chemicals.
The thermal-electric treater (Fig. 1-4)combines the best principles of thermal
treating with electrostatic and chemical treating. Flow pattern in the thermal-electric
treater is an adaptation of the stream-flow (channeled flow) pattern discussed
above. Gas removal is accomplished at the warmest part of the treater to prevent
gas breakout in the coalescing section. Free water bypasses the heating element and
is not heated, thereby minimizing fuel consumption. Small water droplets are
coalesced in passing through a high-energy electrically charged field. Precisely
engineered distribution and collection headers assure uniform flow through the
electrical field. The thermal-electric treater is equipped with a single-point quick
adjusting electrical grid spacing apparatus for precise electrical current regulation.
The adjustment can be made while the unit is in operation as simply as closing a
gate valve.
The initial gas removal occurs at the top of the vessel as the emulsion enters the
vessel. As the emulsion flows through the first compartment, free water is bypassed
around the heating section and is not heated more than necessary to accomplish its
separation.
Efficient, uniform heating is assured by stream-flow distribution of the fluid
around the firetubes. The uniform stream-flow (channeled flow) heating pattern
provides maximum heating efficiency and equilibrium at the fluid-gas interface.
Gas evolved during the heating is removed at the warmest part of the system
preventing its breakout later in the process. The closely controlled sequential
GAS EQUALIZER

GAS CONDUIT

OUTLET DISTRIBUTOR

REAMFLOW BAFFLES

SURGE SECTEN

N DISTRIBUTOR

Fig. 1-4. Thermal electric treater. (Courtesy of Superior Tank and Construction. Division of Rheem Manufacturing Co., L~~ ~ ~California.)
~ ~ l \D ~ ~
10

heating assures heating only to the point that is required to attain the desired
amount of separation.
The gas-free oil first flows through a surge section and then into the electrical
coalescing section. Presence of a system of distribution spreaders results in uniform
flow through both the length and width of the vessel. An overhead, clean oil
collection header system gives rise to a uniform outflow of clean oil. This comple-
ments the bottom distributor system to provide minimum velocities and an even
distribution throughout the coalescing section. The tendency for fluids to channel is
virtually eliminated, and good distribution assures effective coalescing and maxi-
mum capacity.
Coalescing of the small water drops dispersed in the oil is accomplished by the
high-voltage alternating electrical field. As the emulsion rises through the field, the
water droplets acquire an electrical charge. As a result, they rapidly move about
repelling, attracting and colliding with one another. The action is energetic and

ADJUSTABLE
WATER SIPHON\
1
SAFETY REULF
r"" our

Fig. 1-5. Superior vertical emulsion heater treater. (Courtesy of Superior Tank and Construction,
Division of Rheem Manufacturing Co.. Los Angeles, California.)
effective because all the water droplets acquire a charge, regardless of size. The
droplets collide with sufficient energy to overcome the emulsifying forces, combin-
ing into larger drops. This growth in mass allows fast gravity settling of the larger
drops into the water phase.
Vertical emulsion heater treaters have been successfully employed with the
higher-gravity crude oils ( > 30" API) in some areas (Fig. 1-5).

Electrical dehydrators

The operation of electrical dehydrators is based on the well-known principle of


Cottrell. The oil-water emulsion is heated to reduce viscosity and is then exposed to
a high-voltage alternating electric current field. Inasmuch as the water particles are
charged, the alternating electric field increases the random motion or displacement,
thus aiding the coalescence of the small water particles. Gravity separation occurs
when the small water particles coalesce into large drops. Chemicals may be added to
aid in emulsion resolution. Cleaning costs are usually greater with this type of
equipment than they are with the gravity settling type. (See Fig. 1-4.)

Chemical dehydration

Chemical treatment usually is used in combination with one of the gravity


settling class of equipment. In the case of stable emulsion, conditions at the
interfacial film can be altered to produce equilibrium with applied stress. If the
equilibrium is upset by any change in conditions or stresses that occur at the
boundary, the film will collapse and the emulsion will become unstable. In principle,
chemical treatment through the addition of surface-active agents, alters the chemical
composition at the interfacial film to such an extent, that the emulsion becomes
unstable. Heat produces stress on the film that further renders the emulsion
unstable.

STORAGE TANKS

Storage tanks are usually of bolted construction up to the 10,000-barrel size.


Welded steel tanks are used extensively in the larger sizes. In some fields, small
welded steel tanks in bolted tank sizes up to 500 bbl are used. API Specifications
12B and 6 5 0 cover bolted and welded steel tanks, respectively, whereas API 12G
describes welded aluminum tanks. Bolted tanks have the advantage of being easily
transported and relocated. Bolted steel tank components can also be factory
sandblasted and precoated with various epoxy coatings to assure quality control.

ACCESSORY EQUIPMENT

Accessory equipment includes the equipment that is not basically necessary to


convey the oil from the wellhead to the pipeline or other means of transportation.
12

Vapor recovery, water treatment, and automatic custody transfer are included in
this group.

Vapor recovery

Tank vapors were allowed to vent to the atmosphere in the past. With the
introduction of gasoline plants and the ever-increasing demand for liquefied petro-
leum gas (LPG) and natural gasoline, these vapors became an important source of
revenue. Initial pay-out periods of a few months are not uncommon (see Chapter 6 ) .
A recovery system consists of a network of piping to collect tank vapors, a
control system to maintain constant pressure on the tanks, and a compressor to
increase the pressure of the vapors from atmospheric to the gas-gathering line
pressure (Fig. 1-6). Large-diameter, thin-wall pipe is used to collect the vapors
because very large volumes at low pressures are involved. In most cases, the total
pressure differential cannot exceed 0.5 in. of water. The pressure control system uses
two very sensitive regulators, one to remove excess vapors from the tanks and one to
admit natural gas for repressuring during demand periods. A pressure control
system of this type can maintain the tank pressures within 0.1 in. of water. A slight
positive pressure is maintained in the tanks to prevent the admission of air.
The compression section can consist of a blower or compressor, depending upon
the gasline pressure. In some cases, the gasline is under vacuum, eliminating the
compression section entirely. The blower or compressor can operate continuously,
using an unloader controller to load or unload the compressor on demand condi-

VAPOR HEADER

TO SHIPPING
PUMP

&*
A

H
;j
TO GAS SYSTEM

GAS PRESSURE AIR COOLED STACK


SCRVBBER TRAP COHPRESSOQ

VAPOR RECOVERY COMPRESSOR SKID

Fig. 1-6.Vapor recovery flow sheet. (Courtesy of HTI Superior, Inc., a Berry Industries Company, Santa
Fe Springs, California.)
13

tions. A meter is often included to measure the volume of vapors discharged into the
gasline.
The writers recommend thorough investigation of vapor recovery possibilities on
all tank farms. Many small tank batteries have yielded important revenues after
installation of vapor recovery systems, because the storage tanks constitute the final
stage of gas-oil separation with a high liquid content in the gas. State air-quality
boards in the U.S.A. and other countries have issued many regulations regarding the
requirements for vapor recovery installations on tank farms.
Wastewater treatment

Disposal of wastewater is a very important problem. In order to prevent


contamination of domestic water supplies, wastewater cannot be discharged into
unlined sumps or streams in many places. Discharge of wastewater into sewers or
into the ocean without proper treatment is prohibited by state and local authorities
in the U.S.A. and in many other countries. Treatment consists of reducing the oil
and sediment content of the wastewater to the established limits. In some cases,
chemical treatment is required for control of basic oxygen demand (BOD), micro-
organisms, and certain gases. The flotation cell systems are most successful when it
is required to clean wastewater to a higher degree than the usual gravity settling
basins permit, especially for waterflood systems where the effluent from the flota-
tion cell is processed through filters prior to water injection (Figs. 1-7 and 1-8).
In waterflooding, the treatment of wastewater is very critical and complex. The
water not only must be thoroughly cleaned of oil and sediment, but also must be
chemically stabilized to prevent scale formation. Precautions must be exercised to
prevent any type of deposition in the injection well.

I R E C O M I I I O 6 f
w m w m n WILLWIT

Fig. 1-7. Fully pressurized flotation cell: wastewater system (P and I flow diagram). (Courtesy of HTI
Superior, Inc., a Berry Industries Company, Santa Fe Springs, California.)
14

Fig. 1-8. Dual flotation cell: wastewater system. (Courtesy of HTI Superior, Inc., a Berry Industries
Company, Santa Fe Springs. California.).

In the flotation cell system, air or gas injection is utilized upstream of the main
process pump, The air or gas together with a chemical, if required, is thoroughly
mixed inside the pump. The fluid discharged from the pump enters the retention
tank where bubbles are collapsed under 2-3 atm of pressure and are driven into true
solution. As the water enters the flotation cell at this point, the air comes out of
solution due to the pressure decrease to, i.e., atmospheric. Thus, small sludge and oil
particles become floatable and move to the top where the rotating skimming arm
sweeps the oil sludge into a compartment for removal. The same drive shaft also
rotates a bottom grit scraper arm for the separate removal of settled solids from the
grit collecting box.
Clean water effluent is either directed to the outlet system or recycled back to a
surge tank, on low incoming flow, as the main process pump runs continuously.

Lease automatic custody transfer (LACT)

Automatic custody transfer simply means automatic gauging, sampling, and


shipping of oil from the lease tank farm to the pipeline (Fig. 1-9). Two methods are
in current use: the meter type and the volumetric dump type. Other basic equipment,
such as automatic cut determination device, temperature recorder, and sampling
device are essentially standard for both types. In both methods, oil from storage is
pumped through the water content (water cut) determination device where the oil is
either routed on through the system or bypassed back to the dehydration equipment,
15

TOPVILW
h

l l 0 L VIEW

I -PUMP 5 -METER
1-STRAINER 6-SAMPLER
3-DIVERT VALVE 7 -PROVER MANIFOLD
4 - A I R ELIWINAfOR 8 -BACK PRESSURE REGULITOR

Fig. 1-9. LACT unit. (Courtesy of HTI Superior, Inc., a Berry Industries Company, Santa’Fe Springs,
California.)

depending on the water content of the oil. The oil flows to a deaerator and then
through the meter where the volume is determined. A temperature compensation
device corrects the meter with an electrically driven sampler. The electrically driven
sampler can be actuated by a pulse from the meter. Float switches on the storage
tank start and stop the unit as required.
The volumetric dump type unit operates in the same manner as the meter unit,
except that two calibrated tanks are alternately filled and dumped, each dump
registering on a counter. Both types lend themselves readily to telemetering results
to control centers. Data, such as temperature, pressure, water cut, and volumetric
rate of flow, are easily transmitted and recorded at remote locations.
Installation of LACT, where applicable, results in a saving in labor cost and a
uniform scheduling for pipeline operation. This type of product handling is replac-
ing the old manual gauging, sampling, and shipping methods.
Remote-reading tank level gauges should be included in this section. Gauges are
available to determine, record, and transmit, for remote reading, the level in any
selected tank of a battery.

SEPARATORS

Oil and gas separators are used in most petroleum production operations. The
primary function of these separators is to produce gas-free liquid and liquid-free
gas.
Basically there are three types of separators: vertical, horizontal, and spherical.
Each type has proven features particular to various field applications. It is often
recommended to use the horizontal separator where the gas/oil ratio is high; the
16

vertical separator where the gas/oil ratio is low; and the spherical separator for an
intermediate range of the gas/oil ratios. Integrated with the natural forces utilized
to induce mechanical separation, the interface area between the liquid and gas is
considered an important factor for oil and gas separation. For extremely high
gas/oil ratios, therefore, the horizontal separator provides the maximum interface
area. Some designs of vertical and spherical separators include a secondary interface
chamber in the lower oil reservoir of the separator. The interior of a separator is
divided into three compartments: (1) the primary separator chamber in the middle
(2) the secondary separation chamber at the top, and (3) the oil reservoir at the
bottom.
The standard oil and gas separator accessory components are as follows: (1) a
back-pressure gas regulator, (2) an oil-level control valve (diaphragm-operated or
mechanical float linkage dump type), (3) a pressure gauge assembly, (4) a gauge
glass assembly, ( 5 ) a float flange assembly, and (6) a safety relief valve. It is often
advisable.to include a flanged safety disc head with a pressure setting higher than
the relief valve to protect against high overpressuring.
In addition to the various types of stationary separators for field processing,
there are portable test separators (complete with gas and oil meter runs) for
preliminary tests at the wellsite. Composite volumetric metering type separators are
also available.
The criterion for the design of oil and gas separators and separation systems is
the economical separation of the gaseous and liquid phases of crude oil and
distillate, contingent on the characteristics and conditions of any particular oilfield.
The factors which affect oil and gas separation and stage separation are wellhead or
first-stage pressure, temperature, wellstream composition, gas/oil ratio, and gravity,
all of which are relative and present variable conditions of operation. Stage
separation processing is utilized to separate high-pressure wellstream gas-oil mix-
tures into gas and liquid phases by two or more equilibrium flashes at consecutively
lower pressures. The washtank or stocktank is considered as one stage in the
separation process. Staging is necessary to increase washtank or stocktank recovery
and to remove the bulk of vapors formed when the pressure is decreased. This
precludes the entry and evolution of large quantities of vapor into the tank, which
would cause a “rolling” action and be detrimental to the efficiency of operation,
especially in a washtank.
Operating conditions are established to separate the gas from the wellstream at
the optimum pressure and temperature in order to induce efficient mechanical
separation within the separator and thereby produce a more stabilized flow of crude
oil to the washtank or treater. Separators are designed to utilize natural forces and
conditions in order to facilitate the mechanical separation of oil and gas. These
include: (1) centrifugal force-a mixed stream of oil and gas is subjected to a
whirling motion and the heavier oil is thereby forced to the outside and away from
the lighter gas; (2) high velocity-the amount of centrifugal force depends upon the
velocity of the whirling stream; (3) gas expansion-decreases the gas density and
thus induces the heavier oil particles to fall out; and (4) impingement
17

+
GAS OUTLET

IN IT IA L SE PARATlO N

FLUID SECONDARY
INLET

/QUIESCENT ZONE

LIQUID OUTLET

VORTEX BREAKER

Fig. 1-10, Vertical oil and gas separator. (Courtesy of Superior Tank and Construction, Division of
Rheem Manufacturing Co., Los Angeles, California.)

contact-scrubbing and removal of oil mist from the gas flow near the gas outlet,
utiIizing surface contact and directional change in flow.
In order to accomplish good mechanical separation, the separator should perform

INITIAL SEPARATION
SECONDARY SEPARATION
MIST EXTRACTION
I

I /

WAVE
/ U
BREAKER
W R T E X BREAKER

LIQUID ACCUMULATION

Fig. 1-11. Horizontal oil and gas separator. (Courtesy of Superior Tank and Construction, Division of
Rheem Manufacturing Co., Los Angeles, California.)
18

MIST EXTRACT I ON,


*
INLET

INITIAL SEPARATION

SECONDARY
SEPARATION

LIQUID OUTLET

QUIESCENT ZONE
VORTEX BREAKER

C - - G I \ S OUTLET

Fig. 1-12. Spherical oil and gas separator. (Courtesy of Superior Tank and Construction, Division of
Rheem Manufacturing Co., Los Angeles, California.)

the following four basic functions, utilizing the above-mentioned phenomena (Figs.
1-10, 1-11, and 1-12).
(1) Initial separation for diverting the bulk of the free liquid immediately, by
specially designed tangential inlets in vertical and spherical vessels, and deflection
plates in horizontal vessels.
(2) Secondary separation for removing the small liquid droplets. The principles
involved are reduction in velocity and gravity settling. The vessel diameter is
generally established by this phase of the separation process. Separators incorporate
scientifically designed internal components to impart laminar flow and to insure
utilization of the full cross-sectional area. The science of particle dynamics must be
thoroughly understood and properly utilized in the design.
(3) Mist extraction for removing the mist-like liquid particles that are tightly
entrained in the gas stream. Generally, impingement-type devices are utilized in this
section of the oil and gas separator. The principles of surface contact, adhesion, and
agglomeration are applied in the design of mist eliminators.
(4) Collection and disposition of the liquids in a manner that will not expose the
liquids to re-entrainment. In order to accomplish this, a large quiescent zone is
provided, which is removed from the high-velocity gas flow. Baffles are placed in
such a manner that a “surf spray” effect on the liquid surface is prevented.
Gas from separators is metered and transferred to sales gasline systems or
process plants. It csn also be further processed for field gas injection systems.

GAS PROCESSING AND CONDITIONING

The two basic reasons for processing or conditioning natural gas are: (1) removal
of impurities that could cause problems in transportation, distribution, and final
19

TABLE 1-1
Removal processes for hydrogen sulfide

Name Reaction
Girbotol a *
2RNH2 + H2S (RNH3)ZS
Phenolate a +
NaOC6H, H,S + NaHS + C 6 H , 0 H
Phosphate a K 3 P 0 4 +H,S+KHS+K,HPO,
Sodium carbonate (vacuum) Na,CO, + H,S * NaHCO, +NaHS
Seaboard Na,CO, + H,S --L NaHCO, +NaHS
Lime Ca(OH), + H , S + CaS+2H20
Iron oxide FeO + H, S 4 FeS + H,O
Caustic soda
(pH = 9.5) 2NaOH+H,S+Na2S+2H,0
Caustic soda
(pH = 7.0) N a O H + H , S + NaHS+H,O
IronitemSponge" Fe,04+4H,S-. 3 F e S + 4 H 2 0 + S
FeS + S + FeS, environment

a Regenerated by steaming. Regenerated by vacuum steaming. Regenerated by air blowing.

use; and/or (2) the modification of the characteristics of a natural gas to achieve
the most efficient utilization.
The most common impurities are carbon dioxide (CO,), hydrogen sulfide (H2S),
and water (H,O). The latter is present as a liquid and a vapor. First, the liquid water
can generally be removed in a separator or scrubber which is an integral part of the
gas processing system. The content of water vapor is then reduced by bringing the
gas into contact with a solid or liquid desiccant.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) can be removed by many methods (Table 1-1). In
chemical adsorption processes, the H,S reacts chemically (combines) with a liquid
absorbent. Regeneration of the absorbent is accomplished by: (1) the addition of
heat to reverse the chemical reaction, or (2) oxidation of hydrogen sulfide to
elemental sulfur by air. The removal of CO, also can be accomplished by chemical
absorption.
Water vapor can be removed from natural gas by the glycol absorption dehydra-
tion process (GAD) (Fig. 1-13). Gas to be dehydrated enters the absorber (A) near
the bottom and rises through a series of bubble trays where it is contacted with
glycol. The glycol absorbs the water vapor from the gas and dehydrated gas is
discharged from the absorber. As the glycol travels downward through the absorber,
its water content increases. The water-rich glycol is discharged from the bottom of
the absorber through heat exchangers (B) to the regenerator fractionation-distilla-
tion column (C). The water-rich glycol is heated in the reboiler (D), causing the
water to be released in a vapor form. The reconcentrated glycol flows to the glycol
storage tank (E) where it exchanges heat with the water-rich glycol in the heat
exchanger. The reconcentrated glycol flows through an additional glycol-to-glycol
20

FLOW DIAGRAM : GAD-GLYCOL ABSORPTION DEHYDRATION


(GAS DEHYDRATION UNIT)

Fig. 1-13. The glycol absorption-dehydrationprocess. (Courtesy of Superior Tank and Construction,
Division of Rheem Manufacturing Co., Los Angeles, California.)

Fig. 1-14. Automated treating facilities. (Courtesy of HTI Superior, Inc., a Berry Industries Company,
Santa Fe Springs, California.)
heat exchanger (F) to the glycol pump (G). Then it is pumped through a gas to
glycol heat exchanger (H) and into the absorber.
The efficient application of heat exchange and conservative heat flux rates assure
exceptional fuel economy and high overall performances.
A summarized, overall view of the surface production equipment is presented in
Fig. 1-14.

SAMPLE PROBLEMS

Exchanger problem
Crude oil is heated in exchangers by the counter-current flow of fuel oil:
Measured at 60°F, the exchangers handle 15,500 gal/hr of the crude and 8350
gal/hr of the fuel oil. The gravity and UOP characterization factor of the crude
are 40" API and 11.3, whereas those for the fuel oil are 25" API and 11.3,
respectively. The fuel oil is cooled from 675" to 225"F, and the crude enters the
exchangers at 100°F.
Compute the heat lost by the fuel oil in Btu/hr. Estimate the outlet temperature
of the crude oil, assuming all of the heat lost by the fuel oil is picked up by crude
oil.
T, = 675 O F * T2 = 2 2 5 "F
0, = 8 3 5 0 gal / h
Kw=11.3
25O A P I

G=? 4 T3 = 100 'F


6'2 = 15.500 gol/h
Kw = 11.3
40OAPI
Scheme 1-1.

Solution:
Heat lost by the fuel oil in Btu/hr = gal/hr x lb/gal X Btu/"F X AT X C = 8360 X
7.529 x 0.650 x (675 - 225) X 0.975 = 17.95 X lo6 Btu/hr. Specific heat, cp: in
Btu/"F, and correction factor, C , for UOP characterization factor can be obtained
from charts provided by Nelson (1949), for example Fig. 1-15.
Assuming T4 = 350"F, the heat gained by the crude oil in Btu/hr is equal to:
15,500 x 6.870 x 0.625 x (350 - 100) X 0.975 = 13.7 x lo6 Btu/hr. Thus, the outlet
temperature T4 must be greater than 350°F.
Assuming T4 = 400"F, the heat gained by the crude oil is equal to: 15,500 X 6.870
x 0.570 x (400 - 100) x 0.975 = 17.7 x lo6 Btu/hr.
Assuming T4 = 450"F, the heat gained by the crude oil is equal to: 15,500 X 6.870
x 0.580 x (450 - 100) X 0.975 = 21.0 X lo6 Btu/hr. From Fig. 1-16, the correct
outlet temperature T4 is equal to 403°F.

See p. 47, Chapter 2, for definition of characterization factor.


22

1.0

2 0.9
k
3 00
I-

2
W
07
L
0 0.6
k
0.5
fn
0.4

a3

0 200 400 600 000 1000


TEMPERATURE, OF

Fig. 1-15. Specific heats of Mid-Continent liquid oils with a correction ctor for other bases of oils.
(After Nelson, 1949, fig. 16, p. 136; courtesy of McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, N . Y . )

350
10 12 14 16 18 20 22

HEAT GAINED, Btu/hr x


Fig. 1-16. Solution for exchanger problem.

GROSS
PRODUCTION

60 PSIG STEAM

CONDENSATE
WATER

Fig. 1-17. Diagram for washtank problem.


Washtank problem

It is required to design a heating system for an oilfield production process


dehydration washtank (Fig. 1-17).

Field data:
(1) 1800 bbl/day of 12" API oil and 500 bbl/day of water at 110°F inlet
temperature.
(2) Tank shell insulated with 2 in. fiberglass; 2250 sq ft shell surface; 28 Btu/sq
ft/hr radiation loss; 60°F air temperature.
(3) Each internal heating pane has 42 sq ft of surface; overall coefficient of heat
transfer is 35.
(4) 60-psig steam is available for heating.
( 5 ) The required washtank dehydration operating temperature is 200°F.

Required:
(a) Calculate the washtank heat load.
(b) Find the logarithmic mean temperature difference (see Nelson, 1949, p. 478).
(c) Find the number of heat panes required for the heat load.
(d) Calculate the condensate return load, lb/hr.
(e) How much gas (1000 Btu/cu ft) will be required for the heating system if the
steam boiler efficiency is 70%.
( f ) In lieu of gas, how much fuel oil (145,000 Btu/gal) would be utilized if the
efficiency is 62%.

APPENDIX 1.1-SOME FUNDAMENTAL FLUID MECHANICS CONCEPTS AND SAMPLE


PROBLEMS

Fundamental equation of fluid statics

The fundamental equation of fluid statics states that pressure increases with
depth, the increment per unit length being equal to the weight per unit volume
(Binder, 1962, p. 13):

d p = - p g dz (1.I-1)

where d p is increment in pressure; dz is increment in depth (L is a vertical distance


measured positively in the direction of decreasing pressure); p is density (mass per
unit volume); and g is gravitational acceleration. The minus sign indicates that
pressure decreases with increasing z. The above relationship can be clearly under-
stood on examining Fig. 1.1-1, which shows vertical forces on the infinitesimal
element in the body of a static fluid. In this figure, dA represents an infinitesimal
cross-sectional area, p is the pressure on the top surface of the element and
24

BODY OF A FLUID
Fig. 1.1-1. Schematic diagram of vertical forces on an infinitesimal element in body- of any fluid.
(Modified after Binder, 1962, fig. 2-2, p. 13.)

(p + d p ) is the pressure on the bottom surface. Inasmuch as the pressure is due to


the fluid weight, the weight of the element ( p g d z d A) is balanced by the force due
to pressure difference ( d p dA):

d p d A = -pg d z dA (1.I-2)

or :
d p = -pg dz

In integral form, the above equation can be expressed as follows (see Fig. 1.1-1):

[‘%= - i 2 d z = -(z2.-zl) (1.I-3)

If p is assumed to be constant, eq. 1.1-3 becomes:


(1.1-4)

or :

Ap = yh (1.I-5)

where h is the difference in depth between two points, which is commonly referred
to as the “pressure head”; and y ( = p g ) is the specific weight. On expressing y in
lb/cu ft and h in ft, pressure difference Ap is found in lb/sq ft.
25

Buoyancy

When a body is completely or partly immersed in a static fluid, there is an


upward vertical buoyant force on this body equal in magnitude to the weight of
displaced fluid. This force is a resultant of all forces acting on the body by the fluid.
The pressure is greater on the parts of the body more deeply immersed. The
pressures at different points on the immersed body are independent of the body
material. For example, if the same fluid is substituted for the immersed body, this
fluid will remain at rest. This means that the buoyant, upward force on the
substituted fluid is equal to its weight.
If the immersed body is in static equilibrium, the buoyant force and the weight of
the body are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction, passing through the
center of gravity of the body. For a comprehensive treatment of fluid statics, the
reader is referred to an excellent book on fluid mechanics by Binder (1962).

General energy equation

The work transferred


The heat added to unit The total gain in en-
to (done upon) unit
weight of the flowing ergy by unit weight of
the fluid between en-
trance and exit.
trance (1) and exit ( 2 ) .

q+---P I U , p2u2 + -W = u 2 - u1 + v2’- v2 z2 - Zl (1.1-6)


778 778 778 2g(778) + 778

where p = pressure in psfa; u = specific volume in ft3/lb; V = velocity in ft/sec;


2 = potential head in ft; q = heat transferred to fluid; p 1 u 1 / 7 7 8= external work in
pushing 1 Ib of fluid across the entrance; W = work in ft-lb per lb fluid flowing;
u2 - u1 = gain in internal energy; [( V? - V : ) / 2 g ( 7 7 8 ) ] = gain in kinetic energy;
and ( Z , - Z , ) / 7 7 8 = gain in potential energy. Point 1 = entrance; point 2 = exit; 1
Btu = 778 ft-lb; u2 - u1 = c,(T, - T,); c, = specific heat at constant volume.
Inasmuch as enthalpy = h = u + ( p u ) / 7 7 8 , eq. 1.1-6 becomes:

W
q + -= h , - h , +
v;- v; +-z,-7782, (1.I-7)
778 2g(778)

where h , - h , = cp(T,- Tl); cp = specific heat at constant pressure.


For a number of cases the process is adiabatic and change in internal energy is
negligible. Thus:

PlU,
---+-=
P2U2 w v2’- v: +-Z 2 - Z , (1.I-8)
778 778 778 2g(778) 778
26

and each term in the latter equation is in Btu/lb fluid flowing. On multiplying
through by 778:

(1.I-9)

where y = specific weight in lb/ft3 ( l / v ) ; p/y = pressure head in ft; V2/2g =


velocity head in ft; and 2 = potential head in ft.
For frictionless compressible fluid with no work done:

vz’+ Z, = 2
fi + - v: + Z, = const.
P +- (1.I-10)
Y2 2g Y1 2g
which is the well-known Bernoulli’s equation.
Derivation of formula for flow through orifice meter
A schematic diagram of incompressible fluid flow through an orifice meter is
presented in Fig. 1.1-2. For an ideal flow with no friction losses the following
relation will hold true:

Fig. 1.1-2. Schematic diagram of an orifice meter.

v:/2g + Pl/Y + z,= V2Wg +P,/Y + z, (1.1-11)


where V = velocity in ft/sec; p = pressure in psfa; y = specific weight in lb/cu ft;
and Z = potential head above any datum plane in ft.
Inasmuch as volumetric rate of flow (in cu ft/sec) Q = V I A ,= V 2 A 2 :
V, = V,A,/Al (1.I-12)
Substituting eq. 1.1-12 in eq. 1.1-11 and solving for V2:

V2= [ 2g( Pl/Y - P2/Y + Zl - z2>


1 - (A2/-41)2 1 1’2
(1.1-13)
27

For an actual flow one has to introduce correction factor for velocity (C,) and
correction factor for area (Cc).The latter is termed coefficient of contraction and is
equal to A , / A . Thus:
Q = C,C,V,A (1.1-14)

The term discharge coefficient (C or C,) often is substituted for C,Cc. Another term
flow coefficient ( K ) is defined as:

K = C / [1- ( A , / A , ) , ] 1/2 (1.1-15)

Thus:

actual Q = K A [ 2 g ( p I / y - p 2 / y + Z, - Z, )] 1/2 (1.I-16)

If A h is manometer deflection in in. of Hg, then:


Ah
P I / Y -k zl - P 2 / Y - z2 = 12(sP grHg - sP grf)/sP grf (1.1-17)

where sp gr, = specific gravity of fluid flowing.


Flow equation for the Venturi meter (Fig. 1.1-3) can be derived similarly;
however, C, = 1 in this case,

INLET
1 THROAT

Fig. 1.1-3. Schematic diagram of a venturi meter.

Compressible flow formula

For a compressible flow, one can derive the following equation starting with the
general energy equation (also see Binder, 1962):

(1.148)
28

where G = weight rate of flow in lb/sec, and k = (specific heat at constant


pressure)/(specific heat at constant volume) = c,/c,,. As shown in Nelson (1958, p.
211), constant k can be obtained for various hydrocarbons.
Example problem 1. Maximum reliable flow

Two reservoirs shown below are connected by a 4-in. 10,000-ft long pipe having
friction factor of 0.02. Determine: (1) pump horsepower required to maintain a flow
rate of 0.33 cu ft/sec of water ( y = 62.4 lb/cu ft); and (2) the maximum distance x
for dependable (reliable) flow.

DATUM PLANE

Fig. 1.1-4.Diagram for example problem 1

Solution:
(1) One can use Bernoulli's equation between points 1 and 3:

Pl/Y + v / 2 g + z 1 + E , = P 3 / Y + G2/2g + z3 + A,, + A,, + h,,


where E, = energy output of the pump, ft-lb/lb of fluid flowing; h,, = head loss due
to friction =f(l/d)(V,2/2g), ft-lb/lb; h,, = head loss due to entrance = 0.5V;/2g
in the case of sharp entrance, ft-lb/lb; h,, = head loss due to the exit = dissipated
kinetic energy ( = V,2/2g); Vp = velocity in the pipe, ft/sec; d = inside diameter of
the pipe, ft; I = length of the pipe, ft; y = specific weight of the flowing fluid,
lb/ft3; g = gravitational acceleration, ft/sec2; and z = elevation above some datum
plane, ft.
Inasmuch as velocities at the surface of two reservoirs ( V , and V 3 ) can be
considered negligible and pressures p1 and p 2 are atmospheric (0 gage), the above
equation reduces to:

E, = ( z 3 - z,) + h,, + h,, + h , = ( z 3 - Z, ) + V,2/2g( f l / d + 0.5 + 1)


29

Inasmuch as:
V, = Q / A = 0.33 cu ft/sec/(~(4/12)~/4) = 3.78 ft/sec, E , = (325 - 175) +
3.782/64.4[(0.02)(10000)/(4/12) + 0.5 + l.O)] = 285 ft-lb/lb.
Thus, horsepower of the pump is equal to:
H P = QyE,/550 = (0.33)(62.4)(285)/550 = 10.6, where 550 ft-lb/sec = 1 H P .
(2) For maximum and yet reliable flow of water (i.e., no cavitation), the pressure
at the inlet side of the pump ( p 2 ) should be 2/3 of the barometric head of water.
With safety factor incorporated, it is equal to - 21 f t of water (= p 2 / y ) . Thus, using
Bernoulli’s equation between points 1 and 2:
+ +
p I / y + V:/2g + z , = p 2 / y V,2/2g z 2 + hi, + A,,, one can solve for unknown
distance x , inasmuch as terms p I / y and V:/2g can be neglected. Thus: 175 = -21
+
+ (3.78)2/64.4 + 100 0.02[(~)/(4/12)] (3.782/64.4) + 0.5(3.78)2/64.4 and solving
for x : x = 7180 ft.

Example problem 2. Compressible flow (nozzle)

A convergent-divergent nozzle is connected to a tank with air, having pressure of


100 psia and temperature of 100’F. The tip diameter (point 3) is equal to two
inches, and air discharges to atmosphere ( p i = 14.7 psi and Ti = 60’F). Determine
throat diameter (point 2) necessary to maintain maximum flow rate through this
nozzle. Adiabatic constant k for air is equal to 1.4. (See Fig. 1.1-5.)

Fig. 1.1-5. Diagram for example problem 2.

Solution:
For maximum flow rate, the velocity in the throat must be sonic, because
maximum velocity attainable in a convergent nozzle is sonic. Inasmuch as p ; / p l ( =
14.7/100 = 0.147) is less than ( p2/pl)criticd (= {2/(k + l)}k’k-l) = {2/(1.4 +
1)}1,4’1,4-1= 0.528), velocity V, in the divergent passage will be supersonic.
30

T o attain sonic velocity in the throat (point 2), pressure p 2 must be critical:
+
p , = p 1 ( 2 / k l ) k / k -= l 100 x 0.528 = 52.8 psia.
The specific weight of air in the tank, yl, is equal to: y1 = p l / R T l = 100 X
144/53.3 X 560 = 0.483 lb/ft3, where gas constant for air, R , is equal to 53.3 and Tl
is the absolute temperature in O R ( = OF + 460).
Inasmuch as y2/y1 = ( p , / ~ ~ ) 'y2/ ~ = ,(0.528)1/',4X 0.483 = 0.3 lb/cu ft. In order
to attain sonic velocity in the throat, temperature in the throat must be critical:
T, = T 1 ( 2 / k+ 1) = 560(2/2.4) = 466"R.
Thus, velocity V, is equal to V,: V2= V , = c2 = (kgRT,)'/, = (1.4 X 32.2 X 53.3 X
466)1/2= 1060 ft/sec.
Temperature at point 3 can be determined from the following equation *: T, =
T , ( p , / p l ) k - l / k= 560(0.147)04/1.4
= 320"R, and y3 is equal to: yj = p , / R T , = 14.7
X 144/53.3 x 320 = 0.12 lb/ft3.
Velocity at point 3 can be determined on using the following equation:

K2 = 64.4 x (100 x 144/0.483)(1.4/0.4)[1 - ( 0 . 1 4 7 ) ~ . ~ / ' . ~ ]

Solving for V,:


V, = 1700 ft/sec, i.e., supersonic speed.
Inasmuch as for adiabatic flow the weight rate of flow in the throat ( W 2 )is equal to
the weight rate of flow at the exit (W,):

W, = A,V,y, = W, = A,V3y,

(77d;/4 x 144)(1060)(0.3)= ( ~ 2 , / 4x 144)(1700)(0.12), one can solve for throat di-


ameter d,: d, = 1.161 inches.

Example problem 3: Compressor problem

Air at standard conditions is handled at a rate of 1000 lb/hr by a compressor.


Cross-sectional area of inlet is 0.6 f t 2 and that of outlet is 0.11 ft2. Air is
compressed to 100 psia and 180"F, and the heat taken from air is 50,000 Btu/hr;
cp = 0.239. If the change in elevation is negligible, what is the work done on the air?
31

Solution:

Weight rate of flow:

G = A V y lb/sec

where A = cross-sectional area in ft2; V = velocity in ft/sec; and y = specific weight


in lb/ft3.

G = A,T/,Y, = A2V2Y2

V---G - 1000/3600 = 6.06 ft/sec


- AIY, (0.60) x (0.07651)

where 0.07651 is the specific weight of standard sea-level air (59'F and 14.7 psia).

= a
P2
=
1oo(144)
(53.3) X (640)
= 0.421 lb/ft3

V 2 = - -G
- 1000/3600 = 5.97 ft/sec
A2y2 (0.11) X (0.421)

W Vz'- V:
q+ - =h, - h, +
778 2gJ

h2 - h, = 0.239(180 - 59) = 29 Btu/lb

-- (5.97)2 - (6.06)2
-50+29+
778 (64.4) X (778)

W = 61,600 ft-lb/lb

If the answer is desired in HP then one has to use the following equation:

( W ft-lb/lb) X ( G Ib/sec)
HP =
(550 ft-lb/sec)/HP
32

APPENDIX 1.11-HYDROCARBONS: COMPOSITION OF CRUDE OIL AND PETROLEUM


PRODUCTS

Introduction

The word “petroleum” comes from the Greek work petra meaning rock and the
Latin work oleum meaning oil; thus it literally means rock oil or oil coming from
rock.
Crude petroleum is composed chiefly of hydrocarbons (compounds containing
only carbon and hydrogen, Fig. 1.11-1) together with small amounts of compounds
containing sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen. Hundreds of analyses of samples of crude
petroleum from all over the world indicate the range in elemental composition
presented in Table 1.11-1.
Inasmuch as the hydrocarbons form the bulk of the chemical compounds in
petroleum, some simple facts concerning their structure must be understood in order
to intelligently interpret what takes place when these materials are broken down (as
in the cracking operations), as well as to interpret the physical tests made on the
products manufactured from petroleum. For various reasons one must rely chiefly
on the physical properties to describe or identify the materials made from petro-
leum.
Hydrocarbons are grouped into families according to the manner in which the
carbon and hydrogen are held together in the compound. The principal groups of
hydrocarbons considered here are straight and branched chain saturated (paraffinic),
unsaturated (olefins and diolefins), aromatic, and naphthenic.

Saturated hydrocarbons

Chemistry makes frequent use of the terms “saturated” and “unsaturated’.


Saturated means full, cannot take up any more, such as a sponge full of water
cannot hold any more water. The prefix “un” means not; so unsaturated means not
full, consequently, capable of taking up some more. Carbon has the property of
holding four other univalent atoms. When an atom of carbon has combined with

TABLE 1.11-1
Elemental composition of crude peiroleum

Element %
Carbon 83-87
Hydrogen 11-14
Sulfur 0.05-2
Nitrogen 0.1-2
Oxygen none-2
33

HYOROCARBONS ARE MOLECULES C O N S I S T I N G OF HYDROGEN AN0 CARBON. THE CARBON ATOn


HAS FOUR BONDS THAT CAN U N I T E W I T H E I T H E R ONE OR H M I E CARBON ATOnS MI W I T H
ATOnS OF ANOTHER ELEMENT. A HYDROGEN A T W I HAS ONLY ONE BOND AND CAN NEVER
UNITE W I T H MORE THAN ONE OTHER ATOn. .

Fig. 1.11-1. What are hydrocarbons?

four atoms of hydrogen it cannot combine with any more, hence the compound
would be called a saturated hydrocarbon. This compound is methane, a gas, which
is always present in gas coming from oil wells and has a chemical formula of CH,.
If, on the other hand, only two of three atoms of hydrogen are combined with one
carbon atom the products are unsaturated hydrocarbons.
The general formula for saturated (paraffin) hydrocarbons is CnHzn+*. The
carbon atoms are joined by single linkages only, being arranged in a straight chain.

H-C-H
I H-C-C-C-C-H
i 7 7 7 i ' l i
H- C-C-C-C-C-C-C- H

I H
I
H
I
H
I
H
I 1 H1 H1 H1 H1 HI HI
H
H
Methane Butane Heptane

S a t u r a t e d hydrocarbons ( s t r a i g h t chain)

Formula 1.11-1.

Simple saturated hydrocarbons with which the petroleum industry is concerned


are listed in Table 1.11-11.
There are paraffins in which the carbon atoms are not all arranged in a straight
line. These are called branched chain or isoparaffins. (See Formula 1.11-2.)
34

TABLE 1.11-11
Saturated hydrocarbons

Name Formula Boiling Specific


point, OF gravity at 68’F *
Methane CH.4 - 258.9 0.415-164
Ethane C2H6 - 127.8 0.546-RR
Propane C3HR - 43.8 0.585 - 4 5
Butane 31.1 0.601’
Pentane ca12 97.0 0.627
Hexane Cd-44 155.7 0.659
Heptane 209.1 0.684
Octane C8HIR 258.1 0.703

* Unless superscript is presented (temperature of liquid in “C). Temperature of water to which density is
referred is 39.2”F.

H H
I I
H-5-H H-C-H

H-C-C-C-H H-C-C-C-C-C-H
I
H I I I H , IH
H

I
H-C-H H-C-H
I I
H
H
Isobutane lsooctane

Formula 1.11-2,

The principal hydrocarbons found in natural gas are shown in Fig. 7-3, p. 180.
The paraffins are present in aviation fuel to a greater extent than in all other
compounds put together (usually at least 60% by volume). The name “paraffin” is
derived from a Latin word meaning inactive or inert. The paraffin compounds show
the least tendency to unite with other compounds or to attack and dissolve metals,
rubber, and other parts of the fuel system. In addition, they have the highest
amount of heat energy per pound when compared to the other hydrocarbon
compounds. This is due to their capacity to hold the greatest possible amount of
hydrogen.
The performance numbers are also affected by the arrangement of carbon atoms.
If the carbon atoms are arranged in a straight chain, as in normal heptane,
performance numbers are low, whereas if arranged in a “branched” chain as in
isooctane (2,2,4-trimethylpentane),the performance numbers are greatly improved.
The paraffins as a class are more resistant to preignition than any other group of
compounds used in aviation fuels, and usually have extremely low freezing points.
35

Unsaturated hydrocarbons

Olefin unsaturated hydrocarbons are represented graphically by a double line


between one pair of adjacent carbon atoms. This is to indicate the fact that they are
able to take up or combine with some more hydrogen or other elements. The general
formula for olefins is C,,Hz,: (See Formula 1.11-3.)

H H
I I
c=c C=C-C-H
I HI
H
I
H
I
H

Ethene Propene

Formula 1.11-3.

It is doubtful whether olefin hydrocarbons occur in crude oil, but a high


percentage is found in products which are made during cracking operations.
The olefins are the least inert of the compounds in aviation gasoline and combine
with air or with themselves to form varnish-like or rubber-like materials. The olefins
are largely excluded from aviation fuels (less than 5%) also because of their
relatively poor performance numbers at lean mixtures. In addition, olefins have
somewhat greater solvent power than the chain paraffins, and have the lowest
resistance to preignition.
Unsaturated hydrocarbons which contain two pairs of double-linked carbon
atoms in a straight chain are called diolefins. One of the well-known diolefins is
butadiene which is playing so great a part in the synthetic rubber industry.

Butadiene

Formula 1.114

Simple unsaturated hydrocarbons with which the petroleum industry is con-


cerned are listed in Table 1.11-111.
Unsaturated hydrocarbons are unstable and are readily attacked and acted upon
by strong acids. This is easily understood because in the case of the unsaturated
hydrocarbons there is a vacant space on the carbon atom ready to grab up some
substance in order to fulfill its property of having four univalent atoms around it.

Naphthene hydrocarbons

Cyclic paraffins are saturated compounds having a closed ring structure instead
of a straight chain. Their formulas correspond to C,H,,. Cyclopentane and
cyclohexane shown below are typical examples (see Formula 1.11-5).
36

H \/
H H H
I "\/ \/H

H"H
C-
HI
H
C
ti '

H' \ p
:;1
H

' H H'
Cyclopentone Cyclohexa ne

Formula 1.11-5.

TABLE 1.11-111
Unsaturated hydrocarbons

Name Formula Boiling point, Specific gravity


"F
Ethene CIH4 - 154.5 0.00126 at 0°C
Propene c3H6 - 53.3 -
Butene(1-) C,H* 20.8 0.5946 at 68°F
Isobutene C4H8 20.1 -
Pentene(1-) C5HlO 86.4 0.6411 at 68°F

The naphthene hydrocarbons shown to exist in gasoline are cyclopentane and


cyclohexane and their substitution compounds. Simple naphthene hydrocarbons are
listed in Table 1.11-IV.
The naphthenes can be present to the extent of 30%of the total volume of fuels.
Because of their lower hydrogen content, they have less energy per unit weight than
the paraffins. The performance numbers of the cyclic paraffins are better at rich
mixtures than at lean mixtures, and vary from good to bad.
The solvent power of cyclic paraffins is greater than that of chain paraffins.

TABLE 1.11-IV
Naphthene hydrocarbons

Name Formula Boiling point, Specific gravity


O F at 68'F
Cyclopropane C3H6 - 26.9 0.720-79 *
Cyclobutane C4H8 55.4 0.69' *
Cyclopentane C5H10 120.7 0.745
Cyclohexane C,H,2 177.4 0.780
Cycloheptane C,H,4 245.1 0.8099

* In 'C.
37

Aromatic hydrocarbons

Aromatic compounds are hydrocarbons which contain a benzene ring nucleus in


their structure. The general formula for this type of chemical compounds is
CnH2,,-6.This group of compounds has a characteristic aroma or smell. They react
readily with concentrated sulfuric acid, a property which differentiates them from
the paraffin and naphthene hydrocarbons.
The percentage of carbon to hydrogen is greater in aromatic compounds than in
the other hydrocarbons discussed previously. Here the carbon percentage is ap-
proximately 92 and hydrogen 8, by weight. They are characterized also by relatively
high specific gravity, thus having a greater weight in pounds per gallon than
saturated, unsaturated, and naphthenic hydrocarbons of a similar boiling point.
Aromatic hydrocarbons are found in various crude oils and many are produced as a
result of “cracking” crude oil.
Although it is not possible to have them present to as great an extent as the cyclic
paraffins, the aromatics are the second most important group of compounds in
aviation fuels. Inasmuch as they contain considerably less energy. per unit weight
than chain paraffins, the amount permitted in aviation gasoline does not exceed
about 20% by volume. The aromatics are particularly desirable because of their
performance numbers at rich mixtures.
The aromatics are almost as inert as the chain paraffins in respect to combining
with other compounds, and they have high stability. They have powerful solvent
tendencies, however, and either dissolve or cause swelling of rubber and rubber-like
substances. The preignition resistance of the aromatics as a class is also distinctly
inferior to that of the paraffins.
Examples of the structural arrangement of carbon and hydrogen in aromatic
compounds are shown below:

H-C-H
I
H
I

H-C /‘\C-H

1I I
\ rH
H-C

C
I I
H
Benzene Toluene

Formula 1.11-6.

Several members of the aromatic (benzene series) hydrocarbon family are listed
in Table 1.11-V.
38

TABLE 1.11-V
Aromatic hydrocarbons

Name Formula Boiling point, Specific gravity


“F at 68°F
Benzene ‘bHb 176.2 0.879
Toluene C,H” 231.3 0.8669
Ethylbenzene CXHIO 277.0 0.8672
Ortho xylene CXH1, 291.4 0.8802
o-Methyl ethylbenzene CP,, 323.6 0.873

Classification of petroleums

Many methods of classification of crude oils have been devised. Systems based
on a superficial inspection involving some physical property, such as specific
gravity, are easily applied and specific gravity is actually used to a large extent in
expressing the quality of crude oils.
A more rational basis of classification is found in some expression of the
composition of the oils. In American practice, crude oils long have been roughly

Fig. 1.11-2. Chemical composition of some crude oils plotted on a triangular diagram. (After Nelson,
1949, p. 87, fig. 7.)
39
AROMATIC HC+
NSO COMPOUNDS

AROMATIC
INTERMEDIATE 01

PARAFFINIC OILS

OILS

80 60 50 40
N+I SO-ALKANES 2o CYCLO-ALKANES
(PARAFFINS) (NAPHTHENES)

Fig. 1.11-3. Ternary diagram showing the composition of six classes of crude oils from 541 oil fields.
(After Tissot and Welte, 1978, p. 373.)

classified as (a) paraffin base, (b) naphthenic or asphaltic base, and (c) if they
contain both paraffin and asphalt, mixed base (Fig. 1.11-2). This system was derived
on the basis of differences in the nature of the lubricating oil portion of the crude
after a nondestructive distillation was made. In other words, the crude oil is
carefully distilled and the portion boiling in the lubricating oil range is examined. If
this portion is waxy and has the physical properties of paraffins, the crude oil is
termed paraffin base. On the other hand, if the lubricating oil portion contains little
or no wax and does contain asphaltic material, the crude oil is termed asphaltic.
Crude oils, lubricating oil fraction of which contains both paraffins and asphalt, are
termed mixed base.
Using this basis for the classification of petroleum, it has been found that crude
oil occumng in various sections of the United States can also be classified. The
Pennsylvania type of crude oil is paraffinic. This type of crude oil is found in the
eastern states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, Michigan, and Ohio.
Midcontinent type of crude oil is mixed base and is found in Kansas, Oklahoma,
all of Texas except the Gulf coastal area, northern Louisiana, and Arkansas. It
includes also eastern Colorado and parts of New Mexico and Arizona.
The Gulf Coast type of crude is asphaltic and naphthenic in nature and is found
in the area lying in southern Louisiana and southern Texas.
Tissot and Welte (1978) classification of crude oils is presented in Fig. 1.11-3.
Some rules of nomenclature

The most important rules of nomenclature can be summarized as follows:


(1) The stem name of an alkane corresponds to the longest carbon-to-carbon
chain present.
(2) The carbon atoms in the longest chain are numbered to indicate the location
of attached groups. In order to permit the smallest numbers to be used in the name,
the numbering should start from the end closest to the attached group.
40

(3) Prefixes are used to specify the attached group; numbers are used to denote
carbons to which groups are attached.
(4) The generic name for open-chain hydrocarbons with one double bond is
alkene. The specific name is derived from the name of corresponding alkane by
changing -ane to -ene. If two double bonds are present, the generic name becomes
alkadiene (-diene ending).
( 5 ) The stem name of 60th alkene and alkadiene corresponds to the longest
carbon-to-carbon chain containing the double bond.
Examples

H-F-H
I

a . 2-Methylpentane

Formula 1.11-7.

b. 2,5 - Dimethylheptane
Formula 1.11-8.

H
1
C

H-C-C-C-C-C-C-H
I l l I I
H H H H H
c. 2 -Ethyl - 1 -pent ene
Formula 1.11-9.

H-C=C-C=C-H
d. 1,3-Butadiene

Formula 1.11-10.
41

REFERENCES

Binder, R.C., 1962. Fluid Mechanics. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, N.J., 4th ed., 453 pp.
Chilingar, G.V., 1956. The TechnologV of Testing Petroleum Products. USAF F'ubl., 2nd ed., 76 pp.
Chilingar, G.V., 1960. Cenozoic-type and Paleozoic-type oils, by A.A. Kartsev, A Review. Compass
Sigma Gamma Epsilon, 37(4): 331-336.
Chilingar, G.V. and Beeson, C.M., 1969. Surface Operations in Petroleum Production. Am. Elsevier, New
York, N.Y., 397 pp.
Frick, T.C. (Editor), 1962. Petroleum Production Handbook, Vol. 1. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y.
Nelson, W.L., 1949. Petroleum Refinery Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., 3rd ed., 830 pp.
Nelson, W.L., 1958. Petroleum Refinery Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., 4th ed., 960 pp.
Tissot, B.P. and Welte, D.H., 1978. Petroleum Formation and Occurrence. A New Approach to Oil and Gas
Exploration. Springer, Berlin-Heidelberg-New York, 538 pp.
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43

Chapter 2

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF PETROLEUM GASES AND


LIQUIDS

FRANK J. LOCKHART and GEORGE V. CHILINGARIAN

INTRODUCTION

Surface operations in petroleum production involve hydrocarbon gases and


liquids with a smaller content of nonhydrocarbon compounds. Although, solid
phases are sometimes present, they are avoided whenever possible.
Natural gas and natural gasoline are primarily mixtures of the lighter hydro-
carbons with varying amounts of nonhydrocarbons such as water, carbon dioxide,
and hydrogen sulfide. The heavier mixtures such as crude oil consist of a myriad of

TABLE 2-1
Some physical constants of light hydrocarbons and other components of petroleum fluids (Abstracted
from Natural Gas Processors Suppliers Association, 1981)

Compound Formula Molecular Boiling Vapor Critical Critical Liquid


weight point at pressure temperature pressure density
1 atm at 100°F (OF) (psia) at 60°F
(OF) (psis) ( g m )
Methane CH4 16.0 -258.7 - - 116.7 667.8 -
Ethane C2H, 30.1 -127.4 - 90.1 707.8 0.356
Propane C,H, 44.1 -43.7 188.0 206.0 616.3 0.508
Isobutane C4Hlo 58.1 10.7 72.4 275.0 529.1 0.563
+Butane C4H,, 58.1 31.1 51.5 206.6 550.7 0.584
Isopentane CSHl2 72.2 82.1 20.4 369.0 490.4 0.624
n-Pentane CSHI2 72.2 96.9 15.6 385.6 488.6 0.631
n-Hexane C6H,, 86.2 155.7 5.0 453.6 436.9 0.664
n-Heptane C,H,, 100.2 209.2 1.62 512.7 396.8 0.680
n-Octane C,H,, 114.2 258.2 0.54 564.1 360.6 0.707
n-Nonane C,H, 128.3 303.5 0.18 610.5 331.8 0.722
n-Decane CIoH22 142.3 345.5 0.06 651.6 304.4 0.734
Nitrogen N2 28.0 -320.4 - - 232.7 493.0 -
Oxygen 0 2 32.0 -297.3 - - 181.2 736.9 -
Air N2+02 29.0 -317.8 - - 221.4 546.9 -
Carbon dioxide CO, 44.0 -109.3 - 87.9 1071.0 0.818
Hydrogen sulfide H2S 34.1 -76.6 387.1 212.6 1036.0 0.787
Water H2 0 18.0 212.0 0.95 705.5 3208.0 1.OOO
44

higher boiling hydrocarbons, too many in number for individual identification, and
various compounds containing sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen.
Certain physical characteristics of these hydrocarbon mixtures are needed in
order to design new equipment and to understand and predict the performance of
existing equipment. Many of these physical properties are given in the standard
references such as Nelson (1958), American Petroleum Institute (1966), and Natural
Gas Processors Suppliers Association (1981). Some physical constants of the lighter
hydrocarbons and other components of petroleum gases and liquids are given in
Table 2-1. Properties of special importance, i.e., density, viscosity, and vapor-liquid
equilibrium ratios, are discussed in this chapter.

DENSITY OF GASES

The ideal gas relationship presented below is convenient and usually acceptable
when dealing with gases at low pressures, say less than 300 psia:

pu =NRT (assuming 1 lb of gas) (2-1)

and

y = l/u = p / N R T = Mp/RT (2-2)

where p = pressure, psia; u = specific volume, ft3/lb; N = number of pound moles;


R = gas constant, 10.73 (psia X ft3/lb-mol X OR); T = absolute temperature,’R (=
OF +460); y = specific weight, lb/ft3; and M = molecular weight.
As the pressure is increased, eqs. 2-1 and 2-2 become gradually less accurate.
Errors of about 2% at atmospheric pressure become as great as 500% at higher
pressures. The simplest method of compensating for such errors is the introduction
of a multiplying factor on the right hand side of eq. 2-1, and in the denominator of
eq. 2-2. This dimensionless factor, Z , is called the “compressibility factor” and was
determined empirically. It is probably accurate to within about 5 % for most gases.
Thus, eqs. 2-1 and 2-2 will become:

pu = Z N R T (2-3)

and

MP
Y=ZRT (2-4)

The compressibility factor is determined by the composition, temperature, and


45

PSEUDO REDUCED PRESSURE


9 I 2 3 4 5 6 7 8.

PSEUDO REDUCED PRESSURE PR


Fig. 2-1. Compressibility factor for natural gases. (From Natural Gas Processors Suppliers Association,
1981, fig. 16-3, p. 16-8.After Brown et al., 1941 in: Natural Gasoline Supply Men’s Association, 1957.)
46

pressure of the gas. For a single compound, Z is a function of reduced temperature,


T,, and reduced pressure, p,, as shown in Fig. 2-1.

and

where T = temperature of gas, absolute units (OF + 460); T, = critical temperature


of the compound, absolute units (OF + 460), from Table 2-1; p = pressure of gas,
+
absolute units (psig 14.7); and pc = critical pressure of the compound, absolute
units (psig + 14.7), from Table 2-1. Any units of temperature or pressure may be
used, provided that the same absolute units are used for T and T,, and for p and p,.
For mixtures of gases, Fig. 2-1 can also be used upon calculating the “pseudo-
reduced” temperature and pressure:

n
pPr= ~ / p P c/
~ = CYi Pci
1

The pseudo-critical temperature (pressure) of a gas mixture is calculated as the


molecular average critical temperature (pressure) of the components.

Example 2-1

Calculate the density of a gas mixture containing 90% methane, 8% ethane, and
2% propane at 55’F and 1100 psig.
Note that gas compositions are usually given in volume percents, which are equal
to mole percents.

Composition Mole Molecular yM r, YTC Pc YPC


fraction weight (OR) (PW
Y M
CH, 0.90 16 343 668
C2H6 0.08 30 550 708
C3H8 0.02 44 666 616
- - -
1.oo 17.7 366 670
41

+ 460)/366 = 1.41
Using eq. 2-7: Tpr= ( 5 5

Using eq. 2-8: ppr= (1100 + 14.7)/670 = 1.66

From Fig. 2-1 : Z = 0.81

Using eq. 2-4: y MP


= -=
(17*7)(1100 + 14'7) = 4.41 lb/ft3
ZRT (0.81)(10.73)(55 + 460)

DENSITY OF LIQUIDS

The approximate density of petroleum liquids at elevated temperatures and


pressures can be obtained from Fig. 2-2. This figure relates the specific gravity
(equal numerically to the density in g/ml) to temperature and pressure as a function
of any two of the following three parameters: "API, Watson K, characterization
factor, and mean average boiling point. In general, the first two parameters are
known rather than the last one:

"API = l4IS - 131.5


SG (60°F)
or

and

K, = characterization factor =
3K (2-10)
SG (60°F)

The characterization factor K, is a factor which classifies crude oils and petroleum
liquids roughly as paraffin-predominant (K,= 12.0-12.5), naphthene-predominant
(K,= 11-12), and aromatic-predominant (K,= 10-11). T, = average boiling point,
O R.

Example 2-2

What is the density (g/ml) of a petroleum liquid at 500°F and 1000 psia, if the
oil gravity is 40 "API and K, = 11.0?
Using eq. 2-9, 40 "API corresponds to a density of 0.825 g/ml at 60°F.
In Fig. 2-2, the dashed line shows the density to be 0.608 g/ml at 500°F and
1000 psia.
~Poo: 1.05

900-
I.00

EXAMPLE - A T 500 F @
800- A 40 API OIL.K,*110, @
UPS A SP OR OF 0.SOB AT 1.000 PSlA 6

mo -

600 -
IA.

W
K
a @/I
z
K
m;',
\

-
W
a
I
w \
c \
\
\
400- \
\
\

300-
1
\
2
\
\
em- \
\

100-

0-

Fig. 2-2. Specific gravity of petroleum liquids. (After Ritter et al., 1958, fig. 4, p. 230; courtesy of
Petroleum Refiner.)
49

Extending the dashed line of the example to the 500 psia line, the density is 0.590
g/ml at 500°F and 500 psia.

VISCOSITY OF GASES

The viscosity of petroleum gases at low pressures (say below a reduced pressure
of 0.6) may be obtained from Fig. 2-3. The pressure limitation is in most cases about
400 psia.
The effect of pressure may be obtained from Fig. 2-4.

TEMPERATURE, OF

Fig. 2-3. Relationship between viscosity and temperature. (After Bicher and Katz, 1944; American
Petroleum Institute, 1966, fig. llB3.1, p. 11-73.)

REDUCED PRESSURE, p,
Fig. 2-4. Effect of pressure on viscosity of petroleum gases. (Modified after Carr et al.. 1955; American
Petroleum Institute, 1966, fig. llB4.1, p. 11-75.) p1 = viscosity at 55'F and 14.7 psia.
50

Example 2-3

What is the viscosity of the petroleum gas given in Example 2-l?


From Example 2-1, the average molecular weight = 17.7, the pseudo-reduced
temperature = 1.41, and pseudo-reduced pressure = 1.66.
From Fig. 2-3, the viscosity at 14.7 psia and 55°F is equal to 0.0104 cP.
From Fig. 2-4, p / p I = 1.21. Thus, the viscosity at 55°F and 1100 psig =
(1.21)(0.0104)= 0.0126 cP.

VISCOSITY OF LIQUIDS

There are no accepted correlations of the viscosity of petroleum liquids as a


function of temperature. It is usual procedure to plot the viscosity versus tempera-
ture on ASTM viscosity paper (four charts, low and high ranges, for universal and
kinematic viscosities are available from the American Society for Testing Materials,
Philadelphia, Pa.).
In order to use this method it is necessary to know the viscosity at two
temperatures in order to define the straight line. Extrapolation beyond these two
experimental points is not recommended: at lower temperatures, there is danger of
getting into the solid region, whereas at higher temperatures there is danger of
getting into a region of cracking or thermal decomposition.

TEMPERATURE, *F

Fig. 2-5. Effect of temperature on viscosity of some crude oils.


51

Alternate methods which are probably less accurate include the use of the
semi-logarithmic equation:

log 7 = a ( l / T ) + k, (2-11)

where 7 = kinematic viscosity in centistokes; T = absolute temperature, (OF + 460);


and a, k , = constants.
This method was revived by Amin and Maddox (1980). Also, the logarithmic
relationship can be used:

log 7 = b log t +k, (2-12)

where t = temperature,"F, and 6 , k , = constants.


Equations 2-11 and 2-12 often do not yield straight lines. The use of eq. 2-12 is
shown in Fig. 2-5 from data on crude oils given by Nelson (1946a,b, 1954, 1958).
Although Fig. 2-5 indicates a rough relation between viscosity and specific gravity
(or OAPI), this is definitely not sufficient to eliminate the need for experimental data
to define the relationship. Most viscosity data, including those in Fig. 2-5, were
determined at atmospheric pressure.

8 8

CWARACTERlZATlOW
PRESSURE, PBlA
FACTOR. Yw

Fig. 2-6. Effect of pressure on the viscosity of petroleum liquids at relatively low reduced temperatures.
(After Lockhart and Lenoir, 1961, fig 1, p. 209; courtesy of Petroleum Refiner.)
52

The effect of higher pressures may be significant, especially for petroleum liquids
having high viscosity (see Fig. 2-6).

Example 2-4

A petroleum liquid having density of 0.80 g/ml and viscosity of 400 centistokes
(cs) at 60°F is subjected to a pressure of 2600 psia. What is its viscosity at this
higher pressure?

p14.7= (400)(0.80)= 320 CP

From Fig. 2-6, there is negligible effect of K , and p2600/pF114,7


= 1.65.
p at 2600 psia = (320)(1.65) = 528 cP.

VAPOR-LIQUID EQUILIBRIUM RATIOS

Petroleum production usually involves handling of vapor and-liquid phases. It is


usually assumed that the vapor is in equilibrium with the coexisting liquid phase,
although this does not have to be correct in all cases. The concept of equilibrium,
however, makes calculations much easier. By definition:

yi = K i x i (2-13)

where yi = mole fraction of compound “i ” in the liquid, and K i = vapor-liquid


equilibrium ratio of compound “i ”. For hydrocarbon mixtures at low pressures and
reasonable temperatures, the vapor and liquid behaviors approach ideality:

K i =p i / P (2-14)

where p i = vapor pressure of component b b i ” at the system temperature, and


P = total pressure of the system, in the same units as used for pi.
Although eq. 2-14 should not be used for most temperatures and pressures
encountered in petroleum production, it can be very useful as a limiting asymptote
in checking K i P values for accuracy or consistency.
Over wide ranges of temperatures, pressures, and compositions of numerous
compounds, it has been found experimentally that Ki is a function of the com-
pounds and their concentrations in addition to the temperature and pressure. For
most petroleum problems, however, it is usually sufficiently accurate to assume that
K i is a function of only temperature and pressure. DePriester (1953) developed two
nomographs which are of general use in the industry (Figs. 2-7 and 2-8).
The limiting conditions of the two-phase region are the bubble point (100%
liquid) and the dew point (100% vapor). Calculations for these two limits are
illustrated below.
(n
w
ISOPENTANE

N-HEPTANE
N -PENTAN€

N - OCTANE
ISOBUTANE
N - BUTANE

N-HEXANE

N-NONANE
METHANE
~

. . . ,I .... 1
1

DISTRIBUTION COEFFICIENTS
0-

IN LIGHT HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS


rnz

GENERALIZED CORRELATION
LOW TEMPERATURE RANGE
K= YX
6

Fig. 2-7. Generalized correlation for equilibrium ratio K in low- temperature range. (After DePriester,
2
E
2
e
'cf

1953, fig. 31. p. 41.)


54

I .

DISTRIBUTION COEFFICIENTS
IN LIGHT HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS
GENERALIZED CORRELATION
HIGH TEMPERATURE RANGE
K= y/x

Fig. 2-8. Generalized correlation for equilibrium ratio K in high-temperature range. (After DePriester,
1953, fig. 32, p. 49.)
55

Example 2-5

What is the bubble point temperature of the following mixture at 250 psia?
The mixture composition equals the liquid composition at the bubble point (eq.
2-13).
This is an iterative-type calculation. Assume a temperature, obtain K values
from Figs. 2-7 and 2-8, use eq. 2-13 to calculate C K i x i .When the latter is equal to
1.00 exactly, the individual K i x i is equal to yi for each component.

Compound x, 250 psia


100°F 120°F
K, K,x, K, K,x,
Methane 0.03 10.2 11.2
Ethane 0.12 2.35 2.80
Propane 0.25 0.82 1.02
Isobutane 0.60 0.275 0.35
- - -
1 .00 0.958 1.137

Linear interpolation suggests trying a temperature of 105'F, at which the K values


are 10.7, 2.52, 0.90, and 0.295, respectively. At 105'F the CKixi = 1.025. Therefore,
the bubble point is between 100'F and 105"F, and will be about 103°F. Any closer
check is not warranted. It is noted that if C K i x i < 1.0, the mixture is below its
bubble point at that temperature and pressure. If X i x i > 1.0, the mixture is above
its bubble point. The above example shows that the light component plays a
predominant role in determining the bubble point.

Example 2-6

What is the dew point temperature of the mixture in Example 2-5 at 250 psia?
The composition of the mixture equals the vapor composition at the dew point
(eq. 2-13).
Compound Y, 250 psia
200°F 180'F
Ki .Vi /Ki Ki .Vi /Ki
Methane 0.03 13.5 13.0
Ethane 0.12 4.4 4.0
Propane 0.25 1.95 1.70
Isobutane 0.60 0.80 0.70
- - -
1 .00 0.9077 1.037

Linear interpolation suggests trying a temperature of 186"F, at which the K values


are 13.2, 4.05, 1.80, and 0.71, respectively. At 186°F and 250 psia, C y i / K i = 1.016.
56

Therefore, the dew point is between 186°F and 200°F and is about 187°F. Any
closer check is not warranted. It is noted that if C y , / K , < 1.0, the mixture is above
its dew point at that temperature and pressure. When C y , / K , = 1.0 exactly, the
individual y i / K , is equal to x i for each component. This example shows that the
heavy component of the vapor plays a predominant role in determining the dew
point.
Calculations where the feed mixture is in a two-phase region in-between the
bubble point and the dew point are discussed in Chapter 3 titled "Separation of Oil
and Gas".

INTERRELATIONSHIP AMONG VARIOUS PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF CRUDE OILS

Interrelationship among volumetric average boiling point, gravity, molecular


weights and critical temperature is presented in Fig. 2-9. For example, the volumet-
ric average boiling point of a distillate material, having an ASTM slope of gasoline
and gas oil and API gravity of 31.5", is 533°F (dashed line in Fig. 2-9; see Nelson,
1949, p. 146). The molecular weight is equal to 195 and critical temperature is 845°F
(Fig. 2-9, dashed line; see,Nelson, 1949, pp. 145 and 146). As a second example, if a
mixed-base stock has a characterization factor of 11.9 and API gravity of 35"
atmospheric molal average boiling point = 580°F (1O4O0R), molecular weight = 250,
and critical temperature = 900°F (1360"R) (from Fig. 2-9; see Nelson, 1949, pp. 143
and 146). Thus, if any two properties are known, the other properties can be
determined.

SAMPLE PROBLEMS AND QUESTIONS

(1) What is the viscosity of a blend of (a) 65% of oil having viscosity of 550 SSU
at 130°F and (b) 35% of oil with a viscosity of 250 SSU at 130"F?
(2) A 70-OAPI gasoline has a volumetric average boiling point of 300°F. What is
its viscosity at 60 psia and 400"F?
(3) Determine the total heat of vapor at 450°F and 600 psia. The API gravity is
equal to 80" and characterization factor K is 10.5. Given: ASTM slope = 3"/1%.
(4) A mixture of hydrocarbons has a characterization number of 11.0 and a
molecular weight of 200. Determine the latent heat of vaporization at atmospheric
pressure and also at 450°F. The ASTM distillation slope is equal to 6"/1%.
(5) What is the specific weight in lb/ft3 of a 33-OAPI mixture of hydrocarbons at
60°F and at 300°F?
(6) One hundred ft3 of ethane at 60°F and atmospheric pressure are compressed
to a pressure of 750 psig and temperature of 89°F. What volume would ethane
occupy at these conditions?
(7) Ten pounds of 60-"API gasoline at 50°F are heated, vaporized, and super-
heated to 600°F at an absolute pressure of 300 psia. How much heat is required?
I
553
CRUDE OILS
E. 6
W
REDUCEDCRUDES
GAS OIL AND WBES
a 4
LIGHT LUBES
9m 2
CASO AND GAS OIL
I DISTILLATES
AVIATION GASO-KERO
$ 0
a 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 000 SOLVENTS

Fig. 2-9. Interrelationship among molecular weight, pseudocritical temperature, characterization factor,
gravity (OAPI), average volumetric boiling point, molal average boiling point, and slope of ASTM boiling
curve (degrees/$). (After Hougen and Watson, 1954; courtesy of John Wiley and Sons, Inc.)

Given: critical pressure = 350 psia; average molecular weight = 140; critical
temperature = 600°F;and molal average boiling point = 300°F.
(8) Is mold average boiling point higher or lower than the volumetric average
boiling point? Why? (In solving problems, see Nelson, 1949, 1958.).
58

REFERENCES

American Petroleum Institute, 1966. Technical Dafa Book Pefroleum Refining. A.P.I., New York, N.Y.
Amin, M.B. and Maddox, R.N., 1980. Estimate viscosity vs. temperature. Hydrocarbon Process., 59:
131-135.
Bicher, L.B. and Katz, D.L., 1944. Viscosity of natural gases. Trans. AZME, 155: 246-252.
Carr, N.L., Parent, J.D. and Peck, R.E., 1955. Viscosity of gases and gas mixtures at high pressures.
Chem. Eng. Prog. Symp. Ser., 51 (16): 91.
DePriester, C.L., 1953. Light hydrocarbon vapor-liquid distribution coefficients. Chem. Eng. Prog. Symp.
Ser., 49(7): 1-43.
Hougen, O.A. and Watson, K.M., 1954. Chemical Process Principles. Vol 1. Wiley, 2nd Ed., New York,
N.Y., 436 pp.
Lockhart, F.J. and Lenoir, J.M., 1961. Liquid viscosities at high pressures. Per. Refiner, 40(3): 209-210.
Natural Gasoline Supply Men’s Association, 1957. Engineering Dara Book. Natural Gasoline Association
of America, Tulsa, Okla., 7th Ed., 174 pp.
Natural Gas Processors Suppliers Association, 1981. Engineering Data Book. N.G.P.S.A., Tulsa, Okla.
Nelson, W.L., 1946a. Viscosity of crude oils. Oil Gas J.,Jan.5: 70.
Nelson, W.L., 1946b. Viscosity at pipe line temperature. Oil Gas J.,Jan. 12: 87.
Nelson, W.L., 1949. Petroleum Refinery Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., 3rd Ed., 830 pp.
Nelson, W.L., 1954. How to handle viscous crude oils. Oil Gas J.,Nov. 15: 269.
Nelson, W.L., 1958. Petroleum Refinev Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., 4th Ed., 960 pp.
Ritter, R.B., Lenoir, J.M. and Schweppe, J.L., 1958. Find specific gravities by nomograph. Per. Refiner,
37(11): 225-232.
59

Chapter 3

SEPARATION OF OIL AND GAS

F.J. LOCKHART, GEORGE V. CHILINGARIAN and SANJAY KUMAR

INTRODUCTION

The name “gas and oil separator” is one of a variety of terms used for pressure
vessels which separate multiphase well fluids into gaseous and liquid streams. Other
names found in the literature include: stage separator, knockout drum, trap,
vapor-liquid separator, flash drum, flash chamber, dry drum, scrubber, and settler.
Separators are used in many locations other than at wellheads, such as natural
gasoline plants, compressor suctions and discharges, liquid traps in gas transmission
lines, dehydration plants, and gas sweetening plants.
Such drums are designed to separate a gas from a liquid and, in some cases, to
separate three phases, i.e., a gas, a liquid hydrocarbon, and a liquid aqueous phase.
At times the removal of slugs of liquid from a gas is of such importance that the
separator may be sized for its liquid holding capacity. In general oilfield practices,
separators are used to separate oil, gas and water and to remove material such as
entrained solid impurities from the crude oil produced from the wells. A simplified
diagram of a spherical three-phase (oil-gas-water) separator is presented in Fig. 3-1.

GAS
OUTLET

CENTRIFUGAL-TYPE
t COALESCING-TYPE MIST

Fig. 3-1. A simplified diagram of a spherical three-phase (oil-gas-water) separator. (Modified after
Smith, 1962, p. 11-18, fig. 11-20),
60

A properly designed wellstream separator must perform the following functions


(Ikoku, 1980):
(1) Accomplish a primary-phase separation of the liquid from the gaseous
hydrocarbons.
(2) Refine the primary separation by removing most of the (a) entrained liquid
mist from the gas and (b) entrained gas from the liquid.
(3) Discharge the separated gas and liquid streams and ensure that no reentrain-
ment of one into the other takes place.

Equilibrium flash calculations

In some cases of separator design, the amounts of vapor and liquid and their
significant physical properties are known. There are a number of design problems in
surface operations, however, where this information is not known and must be
calculated. It is essential to know the amount and composition of the total feed to
the separator in such cases. Then, assigning a temperature and pressure to the
separator, the amounts and compositions of the vapor and liquid streams leaving
the separator can be calculated, assuming that equilibrium is attained between these
exit streams.
The basic concept involves formation of a mixture of vapor and liquid that is
kept in intimate contact for a long enough time to enable the entire vapor phase to
attain equilibrium with the entire liquid phase. The equilibrium is attained in the
piping and equipment just upstream of the separator. The separator itself serves
only as a wide spot in the line to help in separating the phases.
For the so-called “isothermal” flash, the temperature at the discharge of the
mixing zone and within the separator is specified along with the pressure initially,
and is attained by proper design and operation of a heat exchanger. If there is no
heat exchanger, then an “adiabatic” flash calculation is made, wherein the total feed
enthalpy must equal the total product enthalpy at the lower separator pressure.
Here the separator temperature is unknown, so there is a double trial-and-error, one
nested within the other. Usually the separator pressure is set and a temperature is
assumed. The calculation is made exactly as for the isothermal flash. Then the
enthalpies of the exit streams are calculated and their sum compared with that of
the inlet mixture. At the correct temperature, the exit enthalpies are equal to the
inlet enthalpy.

Basic equilibrium relations for complex mixtures

In complex mixtures, feed F entering the flash separator consists of F,, F,,
F,, ..., F, moles of different components. At a given temperature and a fixed
+
pressure, V moles of gas are produced (V, + V, + V, + ... K). A liquid residue L
consists of L,, L,, L,, ... , L, moles of the several components present in F. Thus,

See Appendix 3.1.


61

the.mole fraction of each component may be expressed as F,/F, V , / V , L , / L , etc.


In addition, F = L + V and F, =.L, + V,. On applying Henry's law:

K/ Kn ( L n / L ) (3-1)

where V , / V = y and L , / L = x ; thus:

V,=KnLn(V/L) (3-2)

Substituting (F, - V,) for L,:


V,=Kn(F,- V,)(V/L) (3-3)
Solving for V,:

V, = F n / [ ( L / K n v ) + 11 (3-4)

Thus:

V = Fl/[ ( L / K , V ) + 11 + F 2 / [ L / K , V ) + 11 + ...
and

TYPES OF SEPARATORS

Inasmuch as most separators are designed for the removal of liquid drops from
the gas by the action of gravity, most of the discussion here deals with this general
type of separation. Another basic type of separator, however, uses the action of
centrifugal force to remove liquid drops from gas. These centrifugal separators use
multiple cyclones in parallel. Cyclones are relatively small and of standard size
which can be mass produced. These separators function best when the gas flows at
constant rate and pressure. At lower rates, the separation suffers, and at higher
rates, the pressure drop becomes excessive.
Gravity separators may be classified according to the shape of the vessel:
(I) Cylindrical
(a) Vertical
(b) Horizontal (single-tube or double-tube types)
(2) Spherical
Each one of these shapes has its own advantages, and there is no overwhelming
favorite among them. The vertical separator occupies less ground area and is
claimed to have the ability to handle large quantities of sand and to be easier to
TABLE 3-1
Comparison of different separator types

Vertical Horizontal Spherical


Advantages (1) Easier to clean and can handle large (1) Can handle much higher GOR well- (1) Very inexpensive
quantities of sand streams because the design permits
much higher gas velocities
(2) Saves space (occupies lesser ground (2) Cheaper than the vertical separator (2) Good for low or intermediate GORs
area)
Provides better surge control Easier and cheaper to ship and assem- (3) Very compact and easy to ship and
ble install
Liquid level control is not critical Requires less piping €or field connec- (4) Better clean-out
tions
Less tendency for reevaporization of Reduces turbulence and reduces
liquid into the gas phase due to the foaming (thus, it can handle foaming
relatively greater vertical distance be- crudes)
tween liquid level and the gas outlet
Several separators may be stacked,
minimizing space requirements
Disadvantages (1) It takes a longer-diameter separator Greater space requirements generally (1) Very limited liquid settling section
for a given gas capacity as compared and rather difficult to use for three-
to a horizontal separator phase separation
More expensive to fabricate Liquid level control more critical (2) Liquid level control is very critical
Difficult and more expensive to ship Surge space is somewhat limited (3) Very limited surge space
(transport)
Much harder to clean (hence a bad
choice in any sand-producing area)

Ideal use Low to intermediate GORs and where High GOR crudes, foaming chdes, or for Intermediate or low GOR; preferably
relatively large slugs of liquid are ex- liquid-liquid separation. Good for a di- two-phase separation.
pected verse range of situations.
63

clean. The horizontal separator can handle foaming crude oils better and is claimed
to be more economical for handling large gas volumes, The spherical separator is
easier to install and is more compact and adaptable for portable use (see Table 3-1).

INTERNAL PARTS OF A SEPARATOR

A gas-liquid separator may consist simply of an empty vessel, which causes the
fluid velocity in the entering pipe to be reduced by enlarging the cross-sectional area
of flow. Usually, however, the separator includes internal parts to promote sep-
aration of the phases.
In both cases the separator may be visualized as consisting of:
(1) Primary separation section (entrance) for separating the bulk of the liquid
from the gas. It is desirable to remove the liquid slugs and large droplets of liquid
quickly from the gas stream, and to remove gas from the liquid. Decreasing the
kinetic energy (i.e., the velocity) of the fluids is often accomplished with the use of a
tangential inlet to impart a centrifugal motion to the entering fluids.

ov

I I n l e t f o r two-phase feed
OV Outlet f o r leaving vapor
OL Outlet f o r leaving l i q u i d
(1) Primary separation s e c t i o n
(2) Secondary separation s e c t i o n
(3) Liquid separation s e c t i o n
(4) Mist extractor
(5) Vortex breaker
I

OL

(a)
Fig. 3-2. Internal parts of a gravity separator. a. Vertical separator. b. Horizontal separator.
64

(2) Secondary separation section for removing smaller particles of liquid by


gravity settling depends to a large extent on the decreased gas velocity and reducing
the turbulence of the gas.
(3) Liquid separation section (or the liquid accumulation section) for removing
gas bubbles which may be occluded with the liquid, and for sufficient storage of the
liquid to handle slugs of liquid anticipated in routine operation. This section thus
provides the surge capacity.
(4) Mist extraction section for removing from the gas the entrained drops of
liquid, which did not separate in the secondary separation section. Mist eliminators
may be used to decrease the amount of entrained liquid in the gas and/or to reduce
the diameter of the vessel.
There are two basic types of mist eliminators commonly used: the vane type and
mesh pads. The vane type is mounted in such a manner that the gas flows
horizontally through a multiple number of closely-spaced vertical baffles. Entrained
liquid particles impinge on the baffle surfaces and are forced into liquid drainage
pockets which are out of the gas flow path. Separated liquid drains down out of the
vanes by gravity. This type of mist eliminator operates at small pressure drops (e.g.,
less than 0.2-in. water) and is efficient in removing droplets of around 40 p m in size
and larger. The large open areas make the vane type advantageous in systems where
solid particles may be present.

Fig. 3-3. Basic types of mist eliminators. I. Vane type (courtesy of Peerless Manufacturing Co., Dallas,
Tex.): A = mist extractor installation in top of column with trays (top outlet): B = side outlet configura-
tion in vertical column; C = plan view of installation A , showing vane bank arrangement; D = horizontal
vessel configuration showing angled position of separator elements; and E = photograph of mist
extractor bundle. 11. Mesh pads - Fleximesh@mist eliminator (Copyrighted 1984 by Koch Engineering
Company, Inc.)
65

When vapor and entrained liquid droplets pass through


Available FLEX I MESH*
o FLEXIMESH mist eliminator the vapor moves freely through
the mesh pad but the liquid droplets due to their greater
Mist Eliminator Styles
inertia cannot make the necessarysharp turns A Sa
result they are thrown into contact with the wire surfaces Density SurloceArec
ond bileflyheld there As more droplets enter the pad and FIIIFT' I MZIM3 %Voids
collect on the wires they grow in size run down the wire to 115 I 377 97 6
the bottom surface of the mesh reporotor and fail from the 110 I 360 97 7
unit Overhead vapor is now free of entrained liquid 163 I 535 94 0
86 I 282 98 2
140 I 459 98 4
117 65 I 213 98 5
70 112 65 I 213 98 6
50 80 48 I 157 990
20 0 320 450 1476 96 0
27 0 432 610 I 2000 94 6
40 64 125 I 410 97 0
40 64 150 / 492 97 0

Fig. 3-3 continued.


66

The mesh pads provide a large surface area of many knitted and crimped wires
for collection and coalescence of liquid mist. With the pads usually installed in a
horizontal position, the vapor flows upward and the liquid downward. Such mist
eliminators are capable of removing very fine droplets (e.g., 4-6 pm) and have good
removal efficiency over a wide range of throughput. Pressure drops can be less than
1-in. water. Caution is given to the possibility of plugging caused by the deposition
of solid materials such as silt, sand, and paraffins.
( 5 ) Vortex breaker to prevent the liquid from sucking any gas into the liquid exit
pipe. Typically, the liquid exit pipe is centered at the bottom of the vessel. A simple
vortex breaker can consist of a solid circular plate larger than the exit pipe,
supported by three legs about 4-6 in. above the bottom of the vessel.
(6) Adequate control devices such as the liquid dump (discharge) valves, gas
pressure valves, and safety relief valves.
Figure 3-2 shows schematically the internal parts of (a) a vertical gravity
separator and (b) a horizontal gravity separator. Additional internal parts may be
present in some separators: for example, an inlet baffle plate to help reduce the
kinetic energy of the entering stream and a “boot” attached to the bottom of the
horizontal vessel where an aqueous liquid phase can be withdrawn. Figure 3-3 shows
the two basic types of mist extractors. The gas phase flows horizontally through the
vane type and vertically through the mesh pad.

FACTORS INFLUENCING SEPARATION

There are several factors which affect the performance of a vapor-liquid sep-
arator. For a feed of given composition, the temperature and pressure are signifi-
cant. With increasing temperature and/or decreasing pressure, the flow volume of
vapor increases and the volume of liquid decreases. In addition, there is a decrease
in the densities of both vapor and liquid phases. Other physical properties also
change with changing temperature and pressure, but the density is the more
significant physical property involved.
Some systems may contain small amounts of surfactants, which cause formation
of foam (in vapor-liquid systems) and emulsions (in liquid-liquid systems). Forma-
tion of foam and emulsion adversely affects the performance of separators, espe-
cially when they are stable. Inasmuch as the presence of surfactants is usually not
known in advance, separators are usually designed on the assumption that they are
not present.
Most separators are designed for the removal of liquid droplets from gas by the
action of gravity. This separation depends on the physical properties of gas and
liquid, and the diameter of the particles. Excellent discussions of the scientific
concepts are available, but they only identify the general form of the mathematical
relationships. Most laboratory studies were concentrated on the settling of (1) solid
particles rather than liquid, (2) a single particle rather than a swarm of particles, and
(3) particles having a particular diameter rather than a mixture of sizes.
61

In designing separators, the size distribution of the droplets is not known. Even if
it was given, however, it is not known how to select a proper “average” diameter to
attain the desired separation.
Thus, the most important factors influencing the design of a separator are: (1)
flow rate of the gas, (2) flow rate of the liquid, (3) density of the gas, and (4) density
of the liquid.

SEPARATOR DESIGN

Gas capacity

Gas capacity of a gas-oil separator is usually calculated from the semi-theoretical


relationship proposed by Souders and Brown (1934):

or

and

A = Q/60 u (3-9)
where: u = superficial gas velocity based on the cross-sectional area of gas flow,
ft/sec; G = superficial gas mass velocity, based on the cross-sectional area of gas
flow, lb/ft2hr; Q = g a s flow rate, actual cubic feet per minute at the flowing
temperature and pressure, ACFM (Actual Cubic Feet per Minute); A = cross-
sectional area of gas flow, ft2; yG = specific weight of gas, lb/ft3; yL = specific
weight of liquid, Ib/ft3; K = an empirical factor representing past experience found
to give satisfactory operations, with typical values of 0.25 for vertical separators and
0.50 for horizontal separators.

Liquid capacity

Liquid capacity of a separator is dependent upon the retention time (the holding
time) of the liquid within the vessel. Liquid holding time is provided to: (1) remove
slugs of liquid from the flowing stream in order to protect downstream vapor-han-
dling equipment; (2) keep downstream liquid-handling equipment operating satis-
factorily should there be a temporary feed stoppage or overload; and (3) separate
the occluded gas particles from the liquid phase. This last justification can become
quite important when the liquid is very viscous. Answers to the following questions
suggest the rules for holding time for each specific case:
68

(1) In the case of removing slugs of liquid from vapor: (a) What is the estimated
maximum liquid rate or the size of slug? (b) How much time would be required to
attain the liquid removal rate?
(2) For a temporary feed stoppage: (a) What would be the effect on downstream
equipment if the drum loses liquid? (b) How much time would it take for the
operator to correct for the loss?
(3) For a temporary feed overload: (a) What would be the effect on the
downstream vapor-handling equipment if the drum overflows? (b) How much time
would it take for the operator to correct for the temporary overload?
Past experience suggests the following holding times for liquids:
(1) Gas-oil separators-2-4 minutes.
(2) Gas-oil-water separators-with oil viscosity of less than 100 cP, 3-10 min,
and for oil viscosity of greater than 100 cP, 10-20 min.
These are typical values which may be changed for specific cases.

Vessel design

The following must be considered in designing separator vessels:


(1) The volumes of the dished heads are negligible as compared with the volume
of the cylinder.
(2) Unless specifically stated, the length/diameter ratio ( L / D ) is considered to
be acceptable when it is between about 3/1 and 8/1. There is not a great change in
costs over this range and other factors such as foundations, plant layout, and
symmetry are significant.
(3) For a vertical separator, the gas flows through the entire cross-section of the
upper part of the vessel. The feed enters the separator just above the vapor-liquid
interface, which should be at least 2 ft from the bottom and at least 4 f t from the
top of the vessel. The interface does not have to be at the center of the vessel.
(4) For a horizontal separator, the interface does not have to be at the centerline
of the vessel. In some cases, a smaller-diameter vessel may be obtained by making
the interface location off-center and a design variable. The feed enters at the end of
the separator just above the vapor-liquid interface, which should be at least 10 in.
from the bottom and at least 16 in. from the top of the vessel.
Table 3-11 (see also Fig. 3-4) gives some geometric properties of circles which
have been derived empirically. The exact relations are more difficult to use. The
empirical values in Table 3-11 are of sufficient accuracy and may be used directly.

Example 3-I
Calculate the diameter and height of a vertical separator for the following
conditions:
Gas rate = 300 ACFM
Gas density = 3.90 lb/ft3
Liquid rate = 22 GPM
Liquid density = 40.0 lb/ft3
69

TABLE 3-11
Some geometric properties of circles a
~

Given A / A , to calculate h / D (see Fig. 3-4)


Between A / A , of 0 and 0.20 (maximum error = 3.2%):

h / D = 2 . 4 8 1 ( A / A T ) - 1 2 . 2 9 (A/A,)2+31.133 (A/AT)3

Between A / A , of 0.20 and 0.80 (maximum error = 1.8%):

h/D = 0.8123 ( A/A,) +0.0924

Between A / A , of 0.80 and 1.0 (maximum error = 0.8%):

( 1 - h / D ) =2.481 ( 1 - A/A,)-12.29 (1- A / A ~ ) ~ + 3 1 . 1 3(31 - A / A T ) ~

Given h / D to calculate A / A ,
Between h / D of 0 and 0.25 (maximum error =1.35%):

A/A,=0.21 (h/D)+3.52 (h/D)2-4.93 ( h / D ) 3

Between h / D = 0.25 and 0.75 (maximum error = 1.7%):

A / A , =1.231 ( h / D ) = 0.1138

Between h / D of 0.75 and 1.0 (maximum error = 0.1%):

( l - A / A T ) =0.21 ( l - h / D ) + 3 . 5 2 ( l - h / D ) 2 - 4 . 9 3 (1-h/D)3

a Exact relations may be found in Perry and Chilton (1973).

L L
Fig. 3-4. Diagram for Table 3-11,
i
Liquid residence time = 4.0 min
Liquid level in the separator is expressed as a fraction of the vessel length between
limits of 0.20 and 0.70. (This is not considered to be a rigid specification.)
Using eq. 3-7: u = 0.25[(40.0 - 3.90)/3.90)]0.5= 0.76 ft/sec
Vapor rate = ACF G ( T)(
min )= T)( 300 (
= 5.00 ACF/sec &)
70
5 .oo
Vapor area = -
o.76 - 6.58 ft2
Vessel diameter = [4(6.58)/~]'.~= 2.89 ft = 34.7 in.
Using a 36-in. diameter vessel, the liquid height required for a 4-min residence
time would be:
r 1

Vessel h r/D L/D


length, ft
8 0.21 2.67
10 0.17 3.33

The designer will probably select a diameter of 3.0 ft for the vessel and one of the
above two lengths.

Example 3-2
Repeat Example 3-1 for a horizontal separator. Using eq. 3-7: u =
o.50( 40.0 - 3.90)O.'
= 1.52 ft/sec
3.90
Vapor rate = 300/60 = 5.00 ft3/sec
Vapor area = 5.00/1.52 = 3.29 ft2
(1) Initially the vapor-liquid interface is considered to be the centerline of the
vessel. This may be adjusted later.
Vessel area = (2)(3.29) = 6.58 a:t
Vessel diameter = ( .I
I
)
4 X 6.58
= 2.89 ft or 34.7 in.
Thus, a 36411. diameter-vessel can be used.
Length of vessel needed for 4 min residence time would be:

Ths indicates that the liquid holdup requirement is not as significant as the
vapor handling requirement.
(2) Reduce the vessel diameter by lowering the vapor-liquid interface so as to
maintain the same required vapor area of 3.29 ft2.
On assuming a diameter of 30 in.:
A, = 77/4(%)' = 4.909 ft2
A / A , = 3.29/4.909 = 0.67
71

From Table 3-11, h/D = 0.8123 (0.67) + 0.0924 = 0.6366; h = (0.6366)(2.50) =


1.59 ft = 19.08 in.
Vessel length to get 4 min retention time=
I(-)(1 -) 1 = 7.26
0.33 4.909
ft
Thus, a vessel 2.5 ft in diameter and 8 ft long would meet the specifications.

SEPARATOR DESIGN USING ACTUAL MANUFACTURERS FIELD TEST DATA

Inasmuch as the Souders-Brown equation is basically empirical in nature, a better


design can usually be made using the actual manufacturers’ field test data (see
Appendix 3.11 and Ikoku, 1980). These correlations account for the additional gas
capacity that can be obtained by increasing the height of a vertical separator or the
length of a horizontal separator. The Souders-Brown equation does not account for
any height-length differences. The correlation charts apply to one-quarter liquid
full, one-third-full, and half-full situations. The gas capacity can be increased by
decreasing the liquid-filled fraction, e.g., from one-half full to one-third full. Usually
the design standard is the one half-full liquid condition.
The liquid capacity Q (in bbl/day) can be determined as follows:

1440(V,)
Q= (3-10)

where Vp = liquid settling volume in bbl and t = retention time in min.


The liquid settling volumes for different separator types and sizes are presented
in the Appendix 3.11.

STAGE SEPARATION

Usually, the single-stage separation is not desirable. By separating the gaseous


and liquid hydrocarbons into vapor and liquid phases in two or more equilibrium
flashes at consecutively lower pressures, a more stable stocktank liquid can be
obtained. In addition, liquid recovery is enhanced.
Stage separation can be defined as a “process in which produced crude is
separated into liquid and vapor phases by two or more equilibrium-flash vaporiza-
tions at successively lower pressures”. Equilibrium or flash vaporization differs from
differential vaporization in that the vapor is not removed as it is formed, but is kept
in intimate physical contact with the remaining liquid until heating is completed.
The storage tank is usually considered as one stage of separation.
Differential liberation of gas is the ideal liquid separation system to maximize the
liquid recovery. In this process, the pressure is decreased in infinitesimally small
steps and the gas liberated at each stage is removed. Inasmuch as this would need an
infinite number of separators connected in series, it is obviously uneconomical.
72

-WELL-
FLUID
FIRST
STAOE
LI' SLCOMD
STA0E
TWO - STAGE

I +' 2nd

THREE - STAGE

J FOUR - STAGE
Fig. 3-5. Schematic diagrams of two-stage, three-stage, and four-stage separations.

In actual field practice, three stages are usually optimal. Economic study involves
determination of fixed and operating costs for each additional separator and
comparing them to the incremental oil production that results from the addition of
t h s stage to the separation system. Inasmuch as the production varies with time
during the lifetime of a producing field, the optimum also changes. Thus, a detailed
economic analysis is usually not very useful or justifiable in most cases.
Examples of two-stage, three-stage, and four-stage separations are presented in
Fig. 3-5. The two-stage separation is most applicable for low-gravity oils, low
gas/oil ratios, and low flowing pressures. On the other hand, the three-stage
separation is most applicable for intermediate-gravity oils, intermediate to high
gas/oil ratios, and intermediate wellhead flowing pressures. Finally, the four-stage,
separation is most applicable for high-gravity oils, high gas/oil ratios, and high
flowing pressures. Four-stage separation is also used where high-pressure gas is
needed for market or for pressure maintenance.
73

The simplified analysis of a stage separation system involves the determination of


the operating pressure of each one of the separators connected in series by the
following relationship (Campbell, 1976):

(3-11)

where R = pressure ratio; p 1 = pressure in stage 1 (high-pressure end), psia; p, =


stocktank pressure, psia; and n = number of stages minus 1. This implies assump-
tion of equal pressure ratios between the stages, which has been found to be the
optimum operating condition for maximizing liquid recovery.
The pressure at any stage in between can then be determined using the following
equation:
Pr- 1
Pr’ R (3-12)

where pr = pressure at stage r , psia; and R = pressure ratio.

Determination of optimum pressure for first stage when second stage is atmospheric

To determine the optimum pressure for the first stage when the second stage is
atmospheric, the following procedure can be used.
(1) Vary the pressure on the high-stage separator.
(2) Follow the gas/oil ratios on both stages until they are stabilized.
(3) Determine the gasoline content of the gas from each stage, by a method such
as gas chromatography.
(4) Plot the gas/oil ratio of each separator, and the cumulative for both
separators, versus the pressure of the high-stage separator (Fig. 3-6.a).
( 5 ) Plot the gasoline content of the gas from each separator versus the pressure
of the high-stage separator (Fig. 3-6.b). The gasoline content for each separator may
decrease with increasing pressure of the high stage. For the low stage, this is due to
the increase in gas evolved overshadowing the increase in the gasoline vaporized. On
the other hand, for the high stage, it is due to the decrease in gasoline vaporized,
with increasing pressure.
(6) From the graphs of Fig. 3-6.a and 3-6.b, compute and plot the gallons of
gasoline lost per barrel of crude oil versus the pressure of the high-stage separator
(Fig. 3-6.c). The optimum pressure is at the minimum of the latter curve, providing
the primary objective of the separation is to remove as much gasoline as possible
from the gas.

Determination of optimum pressures for three-stage separation (Whinery-Campbell


technique)

The pressure of the highest stage may be fixed by the requirements of a


high-pressure sales line or pressure maintenance. In this case, therefore, the forego-
14

Y
0
IL

a
.----
Curnulotire

PRESSURE OF HIGH.STAGE SEPARATOR. PSI

Fig. 3-6. Schematic diagram of variation, with increasing pressure of high-stage separator, in a. gas/oil
ratio; b. gasoline content of separator gas; and c. total gasoline lost (to the gas phase) in two-stage
separation.

ing type of evaluation can be used to choose the optimum pressure for the second
stage, while the first stage is operating at the desired value. If the pressure of the
highest stage is not fixed by such requirements, it may be treated as another variable
in the evaluation.
Whinery and Campbell (1958, p. 53) developed a method for determining the
optimum second-stage pressure in three-stage separation. Their method is simple,
accurate (mean error of * 5 % ) , and eliminates the need for flash vaporization
calculations. An empirical analysis yielded two equations:

p 2 = A ( p,)o.686+ c, (3-13)

where C, = ( A - 0.057)/0.0233 for wellstreams having a gravity greater than one,


referred to air, and:

p 2 = A ( p,)o.765+ c2 (3-14)
75

Fig. 3-7. Relationship between constant A and pseudo-specific gravity of feed ( T = 80OF). (After
Whinery and Campbell, 1958, p. 54, fig. 2; courtesy of the S.P.E. of A.I.M.E.)

where C, = ( A + 0.028)/0.012 for wellstreams having a gravity less than one,


referred to air. In the above equations, p 2 = second-stage pressure in psia, p 1 =
first-stage pressure in psia, and A = dimensionless constant which is a function of
stocktank pressure ( p , ) and the system composition. Whinery and Campbell found
that composition could be expressed in terms of the wellstream gravity and the
+
percentages of methane, ethane, and propane ( C , + C , C,, all in mole%), as
shown in Figs. 3-7 and 3-8. Constants A , C,, and C, can be obtained from these
graphs (Figs. 3-7 and 3-8).
Variation of p 2 with p 1 for a fixed system composition was presented by
Whinery and Campbell (1958, p. 53) and is shown here in Fig. 3-9. The maximum of
each curve shows the value of p 2 at which the stocktank recovery (gal)/(MMcf') *
residue gas is a maximum.
It should be remembered, however, that the Whinery-Campbell technique is an
excellent tool for the field engineer where time is of prime importance, but is not a
replacement for a computer.

* M-1000 and MM =1000OOO; Mcf -1000 standard cu ft; standard legal temperature in most
cases = 60'F.
16

.
C, DIMENSIONLESS SHIFTING CONSTANl

Fig. 3-8. Relationship between shifting constant C and constant A . (After Whinery and Campbell, 1958,
p. 54, fig. 3; courtesy of the S.P.E. of A.I.M.E.)

139
,
138.

SECOND STAGE PRESSURE, PSlA

Fig. 3-9. Relationship between second-stage pressure (psia) and stocktank recovery in gal/MMcf of
residue gas. (After Whinery and Campbell, 1958, p. 53, fig. 1; analysis 6, T = SOOF; courtesy of the S.P.E.
of A.I.M.E.)
71

If it is not desirable to use the experimental methods outlined above, the problem
may be solved by calculations with equilibrium ratios. Such calculations, however,
are tedious unless a computer is available.

METHODS OF SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATIONS

In computing the compositions of the liquid and the vapor when neither
composition is known, but the equilibrium constants are given, the following
procedure can be used.
(1) Assume a value for V / L (or L / V ) to get (V/L)ass,l.
(2) Preferably using eqs. 3-5 and 3-6, compute the number of moles of each
component in the liquid and the number of moles of each component in the vapor.
(3) Add each group to get the calculated V .
(4) Divide the calculated V by the calculated L to get the ( V/L)calc,l.
(5) If the ( V/L)cdc,lis equal to ( V/L)ass,l, the assumption was correct within the
desired accuracy.
( 6 ) If ( V/L)calc,l is not equal to ( V/L)ass,l, assume another value for V / L where
(V/L)ass,2= (V/L)cdc,l + [(V/L)ca,c.l - (V/L)ass.lI; that is, make (V/L)ass,2 as far
beyond (V/L)caIc.l, as (J‘/LlCdc.1 is beyond (V/L)ass.l*
(7) One could also plot [( V / L ) a s s-, ( V / L ) c d c ,versus
] ( V/L)ass,;but the above
rule has worked out better in the experience of the writers in this type of problems,
because the relationship is far from being linear.
In computing the temperature and composition of vapor when the composition
of liquid is known, the procedure described below can be followed.
(1) Assume a temperature and record equilibrium ratios.
(2) Compute y1 = K1xl, y2 = K 2 x 2 , . . , and Cy.
(3) Assume another temperature which will make E y approach 1. The higher the
temperature, the greater is the value of K . For a fixed x , therefore, y will increase
with increasing temperature.
(4) Plot Cy versus temperature, and establish the point of intersection at Cy = 1.

Isothermal flash for two phases

The assumption of steady-state flow through the separator gives the mass
balances for each individual component as follows:

r;] = y + L, (3-15)

where I;] = moles of component “ 1 ” in the feed, = moles of component “i” in the
vapor, and Li= moles of component “ i ” in the liquid. On an over-all basis:

r;;=v,+L, (3-16)
The second assumption of equilibrium between vapor and liquid in the mixture
gives:

Y, = K , x , (3-17)

where y, = mole fraction of component “ i ” in the vapor, x i= mole fraction of


component “i” in the liquid, and K i = vapor-liquid equilibrium ratio of component
“ i ” . Equation 3-17 may be represented as follows:

Substituting eq. 3-15 into eq. 3-18 and rearranging gives the following relationship:

(3-19)

If the substitution is made for v,rearrangement gives:


(3-20)

Equation 3-18 or 3-19 or any of the possible rearrangements of eqs. 3-15 and 3-18
may be used in a conventional iterative method. A value of L, is assumed, is
obtained from eq. 3-16 and the individual L, is determined using eq. 3-20. The
assumed L, is correct if the calculated xy=lL, agrees with it within closely defined
limits. After satisfactory agreement, each is calculated from eq. 3-15, and mole
fractions for vapor and liquid can be determined.
Although the solution to eq. 3-19 or 3-20 is straightforward, complications may
arise for some problems due to slow convergence strategy for manual as well as
computer calculations to attain required accuracy in a reasonable time interval. Two
strategies for achieving this are described here: (1) the Lockhart-McHenry (1958)
method, which is currently used by many engineers, and (2) the Lockhart method
(pers. comm., 1983) presented here for the first time.

LOCKHART-MCHENRY METHOD OF FLASH-EQUILIBRIUM CALCULATIONS

Lockhart and McHenry (1958) proposed a method which reduces the usual time
and luck required for making flash-equilibrium calculations for multicomponent
mixtures. It reduces a multicomponent mixture to a hypothetical binary system.
When using the conventional method of calculation, the convergence may be slow
(calculated V / F versus assumed V / F ) , which makes it difficult to bracket the
TABLE 3-111
Lockhart-McHenry method, sample problem 3 (from Lockhart and McHenry, 1958; with permission of Hyakxarbon Processing, by Gulf Publishing Co.,
Houston, Tex.)

Component Fn Kn FnK n 4/Kn F,/(Kn+l)


at V / F = 0 at V / F = I at V / F = 0.5
Methane 163.9 3.80 622.5 43.1 34.2
Ethane 369.5 1.76 651.0 210.0 134.0
- __ - __
u Light 533.4 1273.5 253.1 168.2
Propane 450.0 0.79 355.3 570.0 251.5
Isobutane 74.1 0.44 32.6 168.4 51.5
nButane 239.9 0.35 84.0 686.0 177.7
Isopentane 56.6 0.195 11.1 290.2 47.4
n Pentane 59.3 0.160 9.5 370.7 51.1
Hexanes 71.4 0.075 5.4 951.0 66.4
- ~ - -
u Heavy 951.3 497.9 3036.3 645.6
- - - __
Total B 1484.7 1771.4 3289.4 813.8
V/F= 0 V / F =1 V / F = 0.5
K: + 2.39 (eq.3.23) 2.11 (eq.3-24) 2.17 (eq.3-25)
K1; + 0.523 (eq.3-23) 0.314 (eq.3-24) 0.475 (eq.3-25)
1118 , 778 1016
-
- 685 ~
- 858 -
- 814
V* -+ 433 (eq.3-22) - 80 (eq.3-22) 202 (eq.3-22)
V * / F -+ 0.292 -0.0539 0.136
80

correct answer. On the other hand, on using the Lockhart-McHenry method, the
convergence to the correct answer is very sharp: it is equivalent to the intersection
of two lines at an angle of never less than 45".
For a binary mixture of components A and B (the more volatile and less volatile,
respectively), V can be solved by the following equation:

Lockhart and McHenry also offered the following equations for the multicompo-
nent mixtures:

v* = Fl/( 1 - K,*)- F h / ( K? - 1) (3-22)

for

ASSUMED V/F

Fig. 3-10. Calculated V * / F versus assumed V / F . The convergence to the correct answer is very sharp,
and is equivalent to the intersection of two lines at an angle of never less than 45'. (After Lockhart and
McHenry, 1958, fig. 3; with permission of Hydrocurbon Processing, Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Tex.)
81

The multicomponent feed F is resolved into moles of “light” component F, and


moles of “heavy” component Fh (components with K , of 1 or less are classified as
heavy and those with K,, of 1 or more as light). KT = equilibrium ratio for the light
component in the hypothetical binary mixture; K z = equilibrium ratio for the heavy
component; V* = moles of vapor calculated by eq. 3-22 for the flash-equilibrium of
the hypothetical binary mixture; and u = subtotals of the light component and the
heavy component.
KT = and Kg are evaluated on using eqs. 3-23 to 3-27, involving the subtotals
for the light and heavy components.
Example 3-3
As shown in Table 3-111 (Lockhart and McHenry, 1958), calculations are made at
assumed V / F values of 0, 1, and 0.5, where 0 and 1 correspond to the bubble point
and dew point calculations.
In Fig. 3-10, the intersection of the V* curve and 45O-line is shown. This
approximate answer is usually correct to within *0.02 in V / F . Usually, the true
answer can be determined in one more trial and never in more than two trials. The
Lockhart-McHenry method also lends itself very well to computer programming.

THE LOCKHART METHOD

In the Lockhart method, the first calculation is made at an assumed value of


L , / F = 0.5 in eq. 3-20, which becomes:

(3-28)

The C,: L, as compared with the assumed L, gives the direction of the correct L,.
For example, if at an assumed value of L , / F of 0.5 the calculated Zym1 L , / F < 0.50,
then the correct value of L , / F will be less than the calculated value of Z:- L , / F . If
the’calculated c m 1 L , / Fequals 0.5 exactly, then this is the correct value of L,/F.
On the other hand, if the calculated Z:-l L , / F exceeds 0.5, the correct value of L , / F
will be greater than the calculated value of Z ,: L , / F .
The second calculation should always be made to insure that there are two phases
at the temperature and pressure of the flash equilibrium. If the CymlL , / F < 0.5, then
the second calculation should be made at an assumed value of L , / F = 0, which is
the dew-point calculation:

(3-29)

i-1

For some liquid to be present, this ratio (eq.3-29) must be greater than unity.
82

TABLE 3-IV
Calculation of average E for the mixture

Condition Equation no. Average


At L, = V , 3-28

At L , / F = 0 3-29
(Dew-point)
At L , / F = 1.0 3-30
(Bubble-point)
ZI;
At any value of V, 3-19

At any value of L, 3-20

If the Ci“,,L,/F > 0.5, then the second calculation must be made at an assumed
value of L,/F = 1.0, which is the bubble-point calculation:

(3-30)

1-1

In order for some vapor to be present, this ratio (eq. 3-30) must be greater than
unity.
The third calculation at intermediate values of t ; / F (or L , / F ) may be made
using either eq. 3-19 or 3-20, as desired.
The proposed convergence technique uses the conventional calculations, but has
one additional step at the end of each iteration to calculate the “average” K for the
entire feed mixture. At the correct values of L , and t;, the average f equals unity.
In a legitimate flash calculation, K > 1.0 at the bubble-point and K < 1.0 at the
dew-point. The average K is calculated by using equations given in Table 3-IV.
For manual calculations, it is fast and easy to plot a graph of versus the
assumed L , (or t;). Sketching-in the curve through these points determines the next
assumption to be made. The curve is revised if necessary, after each new point is
calculated until satisfactory closure is attained.
When using computers, it is convenient to have a convergence scheme and
iterative technique built into the program. The hyperbolic convergence routine
proposed by Hohmann and Lockhart (1972) is recommended.
83

Example 3-4

Calculate the lb-moles of vapor and liquid for the following conditions:
Compound Moles E K.= v/x
Methane 5 19.0
Ethane 5 4.0
Propane 20 1.5
Isobutane 35 0.70
nButane 35 0.55
-
100

At L, = V;, eq. 3-28 gives C:= L, = 52.42 moles.


Therefore, correct L, > 52.42 moles and K = 0.908. One can check now whether
or not vapor is present. Bubble-point calculation (eq. 3-30) gives X:,”,,F;K,= 189.
Thus, vapor is present; K = 1.89. Correct value of L, lies between 52.42 and 100
moles.
Try L, = 75.0 moles in eq. 3-20, which gives C:,,L, = 74.11 moles and K = 1.048.
Correct value of L,lies between 52.42 and 74.11 moles.
,
,-: L, = 68.95 moles and K= 1.002.
Try L, = 69.0 moles in eq. 3-20, which gives X
Correct value of L,lies between 52.42 and 68.95 moles.
,
Try L, = 68.0 moles in eq. 3-20, which gives Cy- Li = 68.08 moles and K = 0.996.
Correct value of L, lies between 68.08 and 68.95 moles.
This may be repeated until the desired closure is attained. The composition and
amount of vapor is obtained from eq. 3-15.

THREE-PHASE FLASH EQUILIBRIUM

Three-phase systems (a vapor phase, a liquid hydrocarbon phase, and a liquid


aqueous phase) are frequently encountered in petroleum operations. Formerly, it
was assumed that the water vapor reduced the hydrocarbon partial pressure in the
vapor according to Dalton’s law (Nelson, 1958). This assumption implied that the
solubility of water in liquid hydrocarbons and solubility of liquid hydrocarbons in
water are negligible. This approximation worked satisfactorily at low pressures
and/or medium or high temperatures, but became increasingly less accurate at
higher pressures and lower temperatures.
Three-phase flash calculation techniques have been presented by Osborne (1964),
Deam and Maddox (1969), Erbar (1973), and Peng and Robinson (1976). Two sets
of equilibrium data are required: a set describing equilibrium between the vapor
phase and each liquid phase. Equilibrium relationships between vapor and liquid
hydrocarbon phases are available, whereas those between vapor and liquid aqueous
phases are mostly present in company files and, hopefully, will be published.
Furthermore, most of the published data deals with pure water, whereas the actual
aqueous phases contain various amounts of different salts.
84

SAMPLE PROBLEMS AND QUESTIONS

(1) Draw a sectional view showing the interior construction of a typical oil-gas
separator.
( 2 ) In two-stage separation, what effect does the increasing of pressure of
high-stage separator have on the gasoline content obtained from (a) a low-stage
separator, and (b) a high-stage separator. Explain.
(3) Outline steps in determining the optimum pressure of the high-stage sep-
ara tor in two-stage separation.
(4) Describe the physical principles involved in the design and operation of
float-controlled separators.
(5) Define stage separation.
(6) A lube oil is treated with liquid propane in the proportions of 8.00 moles of
propane to 2.00 moles of oil. The mixture is flashed at 90 psig and 120°F. Under
these conditions the equilibrium ratio ( K = y / x ) for propane is ? (find it) and for
the lube is 0.00. For 400.0 moles of the original mixture, calculate the numbers of
moles and mole% of lube oil and propane in the equilibrium liquid phase.
(7) (a) A liquid was subjected to an equilibrium-flash vaporization at 90 psia. At
equilibrium, the analysis of the vapors on a mole% basis was as follows: propane
(C,), 30; isobutane (iC4), 35; n-butane (nC,), 25; isopentane (iC5), 10. Estimate the
temperature and the composition of the equilibrium liquid.
(b) Estimate the maximum temperature at which the equilibrium vapors could be
condensed practically completely at 90 psia.
(8) The liquid (mixture of heptane and octane) is heated in a closed container at
212°F. The composition of the vapor produced is 70%by volume of heptane and
30% by volume of octane. The vapor pressures at 212°F are 18.42 psia for the
heptane and 8.32 psia for the octane. The molecular weights are 100.2 for the
heptane and 114.2 for the octane. The specific gravities of liquids at 212°F are 0.684
for the heptane and 0.704 for the octane. Compute the composition of liquid in
volume per cent. [xl = (1 - K 2 ) / ( K 1- K 2 ) . ]
(9) In determining the optimum pressure for the first stage of gas-oil separation
when the second stage is atmospheric, certain graphs may be drawn. With the
pressure of the high-stage separator as the horizontal axis, give illustrative curves of:
(a) gas/oil ratio for low-stage and high-stage; also cumulative;
(b) gasoline content of separator gas for low-stage and high-stage; and
(c) total gasoline lost in two-stage separation.
(10) For a wellstream having the following composition, determine the optimum
second-stage pressure for a three-stage separation, if p1 = 600 psia.
Component Mole Fraction Mol. Wt.
0.30 16.01
0.30 30.07
0.10 44.09
0.15 58.12
0.05 72.15
0.05 86.17
0.05 115.22
85

(Reference: Whinery and Campbell, 1958, p. 54.)


(11) A 12-ft high vertical separator, with a 24-in. inside diameter, is operating at
a pressure of 500 psia at 60°F. Compressibility factor = 0.909, oil gravity = 30"API,
gas specific gravity (with respect to air = 1) = 0.65, and separation coefficient =
0.167.
Determine:
(1) gas specific weight in lb/ft3 at operating conditions;
(2) oil capacity in bbl/day (retention time = 1 min); and
(3) gas capacity in MMscf/day.
(Reference: Craft et al., 1962, pp. 453-482.)

APPENDIX 3.1-RAOULT'S, DALTON'S AND HENRY'S LAWS

One can use Raoult's law in calculations involving normal paraffin hydrocarbons
if the pressure is below 60 psi. According to Raoult's law, at any particular constant
temperature, the partial pressure of one component of a mixture is equal to the mole
fraction of that component multiplied by its vapor pressure in the pure state at the
temperature of the liquid:

p! = PfXn (3.1-1)

where p! = partial pressure of a component in the liquid phase, p," = vapor pressure
of the component in the pure state, and x, = mole fraction of a component in the
liquid phase.
If a mixture is below its bubble-point temperature, the total pressure = p i + p i +
p ; + . . . +p,.1
Dalton's law states that the partial pressure of an individual component in a
gaseous mixture is equal to the product of the total pressure, n, and the mole
fraction of that individual component, y,,:

P,' = VY,, (3.1-2)

where p,' = partial pressure of a component in the vapor phase, 7~ = total pressure of
the system, and y, = mole fraction of the component in the vapor phase.
Raoult's law and Dalton's law can be combined, because at equilibrium the
partial pressure of a component in the vapor is equal to the partial vapor pressure of
the component in the liquid or p! = p:; consequently:

y,, = P:xn/n (Henry's law) ( 3 .I-3)

This equation expresses the equilibrium between the vapor and the liquid of an ideal
solution at any temperature and pressure. Example 3.1-1 shows calculations involv-
ing Henry's law.
86

The P;/m ratio is not a constant, however, and is altered by the total pressure
and to some extent by the kind of materials associated with it in the mixture.
Consequently, the y / x ratio must be determined experimentally (equilibrium ratio
K =y / x ) .
Example 3. I-I

A liquid consists of 42.5% butane and 57.5% pentane by volume at 60°F.If the
liquid is heated to 180°F at 100 psia, what will be the composition of the vapor that
is produced? (Assume that Raoult’s law holds.)
Vapor pressure of C4H,, at 180°F is 152 psi; vapor pressure of CSHI2at 180°F
is 56 psi; and sp.gr. at 60°F is 0.585 and 0.631 for C4H,, and C5H12, respectively.
Solution:

Compo- Vol. in Sp.gr. Wt. in Mol. Gram- Mole S Vapor Raoult’s Mole S
nent liquid at 60°F liquid wt. moles in pressure law in
at 60°F (g) in liquid (psi) partial vapor
(cc) liquid pressure
(psia) .
C,H,, 42.5 0.585 24.9 , 58.1 0.428 46.0 152 69.9 69.R
CSH,, 57.5 0.631 36.3 72.1 0.504 54.0 56 30.3 30.2
- -
0.9321oo.o 100.2 100.0

If this problem were solved on the basis of 100 ft3, one would multiply 42.5 and
57.5 by 62.4 lb/ft3; and if on the basis of 100 gal, by 8.33 lb/gal. In each case, one
should continue with the steps shown in the above table.
The reader is also referred to an excellent treatment of the subject by Nelson
(1958,pp. 434-464).
APPENDIX 3-II-ILLUSTRATION, ACCESSORIES, GAS CAPACITIES, SETTLING VOLUMES,
AND SPECIFICATIONS FOR: (1) VERTICAL LOW-PRESSURE SEPARATORS; (2) VERTICAL
HIGH-PRESSURE SEPARATORS; (3) HORIZONTAL LOW-PRESSURE SEPARATORS; (4)
HORIZONTAL HIGH-PRESSURE SEPARATORS; A N D (5) SPHERICAL SEPARATORS
(COURTESY OF HTI-SUPERIOR, INC., A BERRY INDUSTRIES COMPANY).

VERTICAL LOW PRESSURE SEPARATORS

GAS OUTLE

MIST EXTRACTOR

I\

5- STANDARD ACCESSORIES
Standard accessories furnished with two-phase (oilgas)
CONTROL
separators.
1 . Low pressure, diaphragm operated dump valve.
1 . Float operated level control
1 . ASME safetv relief valve
lF'1i I 1 . Pressure gage with isolating valve
1 .Stainless steel wire mesh mist extractor
1 . Inlet diverter
FlrTE 1 . Drain connection
1 .Outside ladder on 10' high separators and higher
1 . Quieting baffle over settling section
Companion flanges bolted on gas inlet and outlet
(threaded or slipon)
OUTLET
1 .Tubular gage glass with safety cocks 8 draln valve
OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
Thermometer
Safety Head
DRA,N Heating Coil
Additional Connections
Skid Mounting
Three Phase Operation
88

VERTICAL LOW PRESSURE SEPARATOR INFORMATION

GAS CAPAC:ITIES

wx20
W'XlS

WXl0

4W'xlS
49x10

36"xlO
WXT.W,

M"Xl0

WXS

24"xT-9

24"xS

SPECIFICATIONS
STANDARD AND ASME CODE CONSTRUCTION
Nominal inlet 8 Oil Standard Valves Settling Gas Oil Shippin(
Model Size W.P. Gas Outlet Outlet Oil Gas Volume Capacity Capacity Weight
No. Dia.x HI. psi Conn. Conn. Veive Valve bbl MMSCFD bbllday Ib
V.245 24" x 5' 125 2" Thd 2'Thd 2' 2' 0.65 1.9 860 950
V-247 2 4 ' x 7v2, 125 2'Thd 2'Thd 2" 2" 1.01 3.1 1290 1150
V.3010 30" x 1 0 125 3" Thd 3'Thd 2' 2' 2.06 5.7 2700 2000
36" x 5' 125 4'Thd 2'Thd 2" 2" 1.61 4.3 1960 2wM
36" x 71h' 125 4"Thd 3'Thd 2, 2' 2.43 7.1 2940 2350
V-3610 3 6 ' x 10' 125 4" Thd 4" Thd 2' 2' 3.04 8.3 3920 2700
V.4810 48" x 1 0 125 6' Fig 4" Thd 3" 2" 5.67 14.6 8980 3400
V-4815 48" x 15' 125 6" F.g 4" Thd 4" 2" 7.86 17.3 10460 4500
V-M)lO W'X10 125 6' Fig 4" Thd 4" 3" 9.23 23.1 10900 5200
V43015 60" x 15' 125 6 ' Flg 4" Thd 4" 3' 12.65 27.0 16400 6400
80' x 2 0
-125 6" Flg 4" Th,d 4" 3" 15.51 32.9 21800 7600

Normal volume carried in vessel is to center line of fiodt opening.


Gas capacities shown are for maximum working pressure.
89

VERTICAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS

GAS WTLET -p&fJ-- .SAFETY U' 'ALVE

la. I
PRESSURE
GAGE STANDARD ACCESSORIES
Standard accessories furnished with twc-phase
(oii.gas) separators,
THERMOMETER 1 . High pressure, screwed, angle type, diaphragm
motor valve
1 . Pneumatic level control
1 . ASME safety relief valve
FLOAT PROTECTOR
1 . Pressure gauge with isolating valve
1 .Control gas regulator set with fittings
GAGE GLASS
LIQUID LEVEL
CONTROL 1 . Stainless steel wire mesh mist extractor
1 . Inlet diverter
1 . Drain connection
1 . Outside ladder on 1 0 high separators and higher
1 . Quieting baffle over settling section
Companion flanges bolted on gas inlet and outlet
(threaded or slipon)
1 - Reflex gage glass with steel cocks 8. draln valve
Additional accessories furnished with threephase
(oil-gas-water) separators.
1 . High pressure, screwed, angle type, diaphragm
motor valve
1 .Pneumatlc level control
1 . Transparent gage glass with ateel safety cocks
& drain valve
OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
Safety Head
Heating Coil
Additional Connections
Skid Mounting
90

CAPACITIES OF VERTICAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS

I
GAS CAPACITIES

200 300 400 XD 6W 8W 1MD 15W 1ooo


SEPARATOR OPERATING PRESSURE, PSI0

SETTLING VOLUMES
SIZE VOLUME SIZE VOLUME
O.D. x Ht. bbl. O.D. x Ht. bbl.
16' x 5' 0.27 42" x 7%' 3.53
16' x 7H' 0.41 42" h 1 0 4.29
16' x 10 0.51 42" x 15' 5.80
10' x 4' 0.44 48" x Vh' 4.81
20" x 7%' 0.65 48" x 1 0 5.80
20' x 10 0.82 48" x 1 s 7.79
24' x 5' 0.66 54" x 7 H ' 6.33
24" x 7%' 0.97 54" x 1 0 7.80
24" x 10 1.21 54" x 15' 10.12
30' x 5' 1.13 60'x 7'h' 8.08
30" X 1%' 1.64 60' x I 0 9.63
30" x 10 2.02 60" x 15' 12.73
36" x 7%' 2.47 60" x 2 0 15.31
38" x 10 3.02
36" x 1s 4.13

B a d on loo0 psl W.P. Smparcltor


91

VERTICAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS


SPECIFICATIONS
Nominal Inlet LL Std. Gas Llquld Shlpplng
Model Size W.P. Gas Outlet Oil Capaclty Capacity Weight
No. O.D. x Ht. PSI Conn. Valve MMCFD bbl/day Ib.

VS.1010.2 16~x10' 2" Thd 1" 2.1 750 1150


V52052 2O'XS 230 3" FIa 1" 1.7 590 1000
VS.207.2 ZO"x71h' 3" FIO 1" 2.9 890 1200
, vs.2010-2 2O"XlO 3" Flg 1" 3.4 1180 1400
VS-2452 24"xs 230 3" FIg 1" 2.5 850 1200
VS-247.2 24"x7%' 3" Flg 1" 4.1 1270 1450
VS-2410-2 24"XlO 3" FIg 1" 4.0 1700 1700
VS.305-2 3O"XV 230 4" Flg 1" 3.9 1330 110
VS-307.2 3O"x7v2' 4" Flg 1" 0.5 XXK) 1750
VS-3010-2 30"xlO 4, Flg 1" 7.0 2880 1900
VS-367-2 36"x74/2' 230 4" Flg 1" 9.4 2900 2300
vs-3610.2 W'XlO 4' Flg 1" 11.0 3880 2700
, vs-36152 W'XlS 4" FIg 1" 13.7 58003500
V5427.2 42"x74/2 230 6' Flg 2" 12.7 3900 3100
VS-4210-2 42"xlO
~. 6' FIa 2" 14.0 52M)
_-__ 3860
....
VS.4215-2 42"x15 6" FI; 2, 18.4 7800 4800
VS-487-2 46'X7M' 230 6' Fla 2" 16.7 5150 3700
I vs-4810.2 48"xlO 6' F l i 2" 19.5 8870 4800
VS.4015.2 46'x15 6' F l i 2" 24.5 lo300 esoo
V5547-2 54"x74/2' 230 6' FIa 2" 21.1 esoo4800

-t VS-5410-2
VS-54152
VsBo7.2
vs6010-2
VS60152
VS60202
'451055
VS-107.5
VS-1010-5
54"xlO
54"x15
0O"x7'h'!
00"xlO
00"x15
8O'XZo'
16"x5'
lWx71h'
16'Xlo'
230

500
6' FIQ
6' Flg
6 ' Flg
6 ' FIg
6' FIg
6,Flg
2" Thd
2 ' Thd
2" Thd
2"
2,
2"
2"
2"
2"
1"
1"
1"
24.6
30.7
26.1
30.5
38.1
43.4
1.0
2.7
3.1
8850
13Ooo

10700
16100
21400
380
540
720
5700
7800
8 0 5 0 5 8 0 0
7100
8800
12300
1000
1150
1300
VS-2055 Zo"X5 500 3" FIg 1" 2.8 580 1300
v5207.5 2O'x7M" 3" FIg 1" 4.3 870 1500
VS-20105 2O'XlO 3" FIg 1" 5.0 1150 1700
VS.245-5 24"x5 500 3" Flg 1" 3.7 820 2100
V5247-5 24"x79h' 3" FIg 1" 0.1 1230 2500
VS-2410-5 2r)"XlO 3" FI@ 1" 7.1 1040 2900
vs305-5 W'XS 500 4" FIg 1" 5.7 1280 2700
VS-307-5 30" x 74/21 4" Fla 1" 9.3 lee0 k3M
__..
VS-3010.5 W'X10' 4" FI; 1" 10.9 2520 3800
VS-387-5 W'x7M' 500 4" FIa 1" 13.3 2700 4700
VS-36105 W'XlO 4" FIO 1" 15.5 38005300
VS-30155 W'x15' 4" Flp 1" 19.4 5400 8500
VS-427-5 42"x7%' 500 6" FIg 2" 18.4 3750 5200
V5-42105 42.~10' 6' FIg 2, 21.4 5Ooo 8200
VS-42155 42"x15 6 FIg 2, 28.8 7500 8200
v5487.5 4WX7M' 500 6'FIg 2" 24.3 5 O o o 5 8 0 0
V5481Q5 48"XlO' 6'FIg 2" 28.4 8800 7540
V548155 W'X15' 8" FIg 2' 35.4 ssqo loso0
92

VERTICAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS


SPECIFICATIONS
Nominal Inlet a Std Gas Liquid Shlppli
Model Size W.P. Gas Outlet Oil Capacity Capaclty Weigh1
NO. O.D. x l i t . psi Conn. Valve MMCFD bbl/day Ib.

VS.54155 54"xlS 6" Fig 2' 44.6 12400 12500


VS-607-5 6O'x7W' 500 6" Flg 2, 38.1 7700 9500
VS-6010.5 60"x 1 0 6' Flg 2' 44.5 10300 11500
vs-60155 60"xlS 6' Flg 2' 55.6 15400 15800'
vs-w20-5 6O"x20 6 ,Flg 2, 63.3 20600 zoo00
VS-1656 W'X5 600 2" Thd 1" 1.8 360 1100
VS-167-6 16"x71/2+ 2 , Thd 1" 3.0 540 1250
VS-1610-6 16"xlO 2'Thd 1" 3.5 720 1400
VS.2056 ZO"x5' 600 3" Flg 1" 2.8 560 1400
VS-207.6 ZO"x71h' 3 , Flg 1" 4.6 840 1600
VS-2010.6 2O"XlO 3 ! Flg 1" 5.4 1120 1800
VS.2456 24"x5 800 3" Flg 1" 3.6 760 2200
VS.247-6 24"x71hh' 3 ' Flg 1" 6.3 1140 2600
VS.2410.6 24"xlO 3 , Flg 1" 7.3 1520 3000
VS.3056 30"x5 600 4" Fig 1" 6.0 1200 2800
vs-307-6 30"X7M' 4" FIa 1" 9.6 1800 3400
VS-3010-6 W'x10 4" F l i 1" 11.5 24W 4000
VS.367.6 36"X7%' 600 4" Flg 1" 14.7 2700 4900
VS-3610-6 36"xlO 4" Flg 1" 17.2 3600 5500
VS-38156 36"x15 4" Flg 1" 21.5 5400 6800
VS-427-6 42"x71/2' 600 6" Flg 2- 20.4 3750 5600
VS-4210-6 42"xlO 6" Flg 2' 23.8 5000 6700
VS.4215-6 42"x15' 6" Flg 2' 30.0 7500 8900
VS.487-6 48"X71/z' 600 6 ' FIg 2" 27.1 5000 8400
VS4810-6 48"xlO 6" Flg 2" 31.7 6600 8200
VS-48156 W'x15 6" Flg 2, 39.6 9900 11800
VS-547-6 5493X71h9 600 6" FIg 2, 34.0 6200 eooo
VS-5410-6 54"xlO 6" FIg 2" 39.6 6300 loo00
VS-5415-6 54"x15' 6" Flg 2, 49.6 12400 13900
VS.807-6 6OSx7H' 600 6" Flg 2' 42.3 7700 10300
VS-6010-6 60"xlO 8" Flg 2" 49.4 10300 12500
VS.60156 W'XlS 6" Flg 2" 61.7 15400 17000
V56020-6 W'x20' 6" Flg 2, 70.3 20600 21500
VS-16510 16'x5' 1000 2" Thd 1" 2.4 340 1100
I VS.167-10 l6"x71hs 2" Thd 1" 3.9 500 1200
VS.1610-10 16"XlO' 2 ' Thd 1" 4.5 670 1500
VS-20510 20"xs 1000 3" Flg 1" 3.7 530 1800
I VS-207.10 20"x71/2 3" FlQ 1" 6.1 790 1900
vs-201 010 20"XlO' 3" Flg 1" 7.1 1050 2200
vs-24510 24"x5' loo0 3" FIg 1" 5.3 760 2500
VS-247-10 24" x7 V2' 3" Flg 1" 8.6 1140 2650
VS.2410-10 24"XlO' 3" Flg 1" 10.4 1520 3300
VS-30510 W'XS loo0 4" FIg 1" 8.2 1180 3200
VS.307-10 W'x7H' 4" Flg 1" 13.8 1760 3650
v53010-10 30"xlO 4" Flg 1" 15.9 2350 4200
V5367.10 W'x7H' loo0 4" Flg 1" 20.7 2680 5400
vs3610-10 38"XlO' 4" Flg 1" 24.1 3570 6400
vs-381510 38"XlS 4" Flg 1" 30.1 5360 8700
93

VERTICAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS


Nominal Inlet 8 Std. Gas Liquid Shippini
Model Size W.P. Gas Outlet Oil Capacity Capacity Weight
No. O.D. x Ht. psi Conn. Valve MMCFD bblldav Ib.

I VS-307.12 30"x7'/2' 4" Flo 1" 15.3 1760 3950


VS.3010-12 3O"xlO 4" Flg 1" 17.9 2350 4500
VS.367.12 36"x71/2' 1200 4" Flg 1" 23.1 2610 6000
VS.3610-12 36"xlO' 4" Flg 1" 26.9 3470 7300
VS.3615-12 36"xlS 4" Flg 1" 33.6 5220 9900
VS-427.12 42"x71/2' 1200 6 ,Flg 2, 31.0 3510 8300
VS.4210-12 42"xlO' 6" Flg 2" 36.1 4680 9900
VS-4215.12 42"xlS 6" Flg 2" 45.2 7020 13100
VS.467.12 4B"X71/2' 1200 6" Fig 2, 40.5 4650 11OOO
VS-4810.12 48"xlO 6" Flg 2" 47.3 6200 13500
VS-4815.12 46"x15' 6" Fig 2' 59.1 9300 18400
vs.547.12 54"x7'/2' I200 6 ,Flg 2, 51.4 5650 14400
VS.5410-12 54"xlO 6 ' Flg 2' 59.9 7600 17500
VS5415-12 54"xlS 6" Flg 2" 74.9 11700 23500
VS-607-12 60"x71/2' 1200 6" FIa 2" 62.3
._ . 7250 18OOO
VS.6010-12 60"xlO' 6" Fla 2' 72 7 9700 21500
VS.6015-12 60"x15' 6" Fla 2s 90.9 14550 29000
9
2,
VS-6020.1 60"X20 104.0 19400 36000
VS.165.14 16"XS 1440 2" Thd 1" 2.9
-. 320 1500
VS-167.14 16"X7 1/2 ' 2 ' Thd 1" 4.8 460 1800
VS.1610.14 16"XlO' 2" Thd 1" 5.4 640 2100
VS-205.14 20'xS 1440 3 , FIa 1" 4.1 450 2100
I V5207.14 20"x7Vz" 3 ' Fla 1" 6.7 670 2600
VS.2010-14 20"XlO 3" Fla 1" 7.6 900 3100
VS.24514 24"x5' 1440 3" Flg 1" 6.7 740 2800
3" Flg 1" 11.2 1100 3200
94

HORIZONTAL LOW PRESSURE SEPARATORS

STANDARD ACCESSORIES
Standard accessories furnished with two.phase (oil.gas) separators.
1 . Low pressure, diaphragm operated dump valve.
1 . Float operated level control
1 . ASME safety relief valve
1 . Pressure gage with isolating valve
1 .Stainless steel wire mesh mist extractor
1 . Inlet diverter
1 . Drain connection
1 - Quieting baffle
Companion flanges bolted on gas inlet and outlef (threaded or slipon)
1 -Tubular gage glass with safety cocks & drain valve
OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
Thermometer
Safety Head
Heating Coil
Additional Connections
Skid Mounting
Three Phase Operation
95

H0 R E 0NTAL LOW PR ESSURE SEPARATOR INFORMAT10 N


iu
GAS CAPACITIES

60 x20
60'r15
60 '"10

4W'xlS

48"x10
36x15

36 " 1 0

30x10
30'XT.6'
30' x s
24 X10
24 x 7 . 6
24.35

I ! ! ! ! ! ! l ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! . ' ! ! L ' ! ' ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! W '


I III.IIII 1 1 1 1 1 1 I I I I I I 1111111II
1
PO 15 20 30 40 50 60 7 0 8 0 9 0 1W 125 1
1
~ ~~

SEPARATOR OPERATING PRESSURE PSlG

Nominal inlet a Oil Standard Valves Gas Oil Shipping


Model Size W.P. Gas Outlet Outlet Oil Gas Capacity Capacity Weight
No. Dia. x Lgth. psi Conn. Conn. Valve Valve MMSCFD Bbllday Ib.
~- - -
H.247 24"x7%' 125 2"Thd 2'Thd 2" 2" 5.3 2900 1200
H-2410 24"xlO' 125 3"Thd 3"Thd 2' 2" 8.0 3850 1800
H-305 3O"x5' 125 3"Thd 3'Thd 2' 2, 7.4 3ooo 1200 '
H-307 3O'x7H' 125 3"Thd 3" Thd 2" 2'' 8.4 4500 1800
H-3010 3O"xlO 125 4"Thd 4" Thd 2" 2' 9.4 Boo0 2100
H-3810 38"xlO 125 4"Thd 4"Thd 2" 2" 13.6 88002800
H-3815 36'x15 125 4" Thd 4" Thd 2' 2' 16.5 13200 3800
H-4810 48"xlO 125 8" Flg 4"Thd 2' 2' 18.5 lsB00 3500 '
H-4615 46'x15 125 6' FIg 4"Thd 3" 3' 22.4 23700 4600
H.8010 6O"xlO 125 6" Fig 4"Thd 3" 3" 38.0 24500 8200
H.6015 lO"x15 125 8" Fig 4"Thd 3" 3" 48.0 36800 8100
H.6020 60"x20' 125 6" Fig 4" Thd 4" 4" 53.3 4oooo loo00
96

HORIZONTAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS

SAFETY VALVE

THERMOMETER
INLET

RESSURE GAGE
MIST EXTRACTOR

NLET DIVERTER

LIQUID
LEVEL
CONTROL

DUMP VALVE

LIQUID
OUTLET
STANDARD ACCESSORIES
Standard accessories furnished with two-phase (oil.gas) separators
1 . High pressure screwed, angle type, diaphragm motor valve
1 . Pneumatic level control
1 . ASME safety relief valve
1 . Pressure gage with isolating valve
1 . Control gas regulator set with fittings
1 . Stainless steel wire mesh mist extractor
1 . Inlet diverter
1 Drain connection
1 . Outside ladder on 10' high separators and higher
1 . Quieting baffle
Companion flanges bolted on gas inlet and outlet (threaded or slipon)
1 Reflex gage glass with steel cocks 8 drain valve
Additional accessories furnished with three-phase (oil-gaswater) separators
1 . High pressure, screwed, angle type, diaphragm motor valve
1 . Pneumatic level control
1 Transparent gage glass with steel safety cocks & drain valve
OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
Thermometer
Safety Head
Heating Coil
Additional Connections
Skid Mounting
StlOlVtlVd3S 3tlflSS3tld H U H WlNOZltlOH A 0 S31113VdV3
L6
98

HORIZONTAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS


Nominal Inlet a Std. Gas Liquid Shipping
Model Slre W.P. Gas Outlet Oil Capacity Capacity Weight
No. O.D. X Lgth psi Conn. Valve MMCFD' Bbllday Ibs.

HS-1210-2 12%"x10' 2 , Thd 2, 2.1 1000 1000


HS-1852 1WX5' 230 2 , Thd 2' 2.7 840 1000
HS-187-2 lWx7H' 2 , Thd 2" 3.1 1260 1100
HS-1610-2 16'Xlo' 2" Thd 2, 3.5 1880 1200
HS-205-2 2O"x5' 230 3" Thd 2, 4.4 1330 1200
HS-207-2 X)"x7%' 3" Thd 2" 4.9 2000 1300
HS-2010-2 20"Xlo' 3" Thd 2, 5.5 2850 1400
HS-2452 24"x5' 230 4" Thd 2" 6.3 1900 1300
HS-247-2 24"x7*r' 4" Thd 2" 7.0 2850 1450
HS-2410-2 24"xlO 4" Thd 2" 7.9 3800 1550
HS-24152 24"x15' 4" Thd 2" 9.6 5700 1700
HS-3052 W'x5' 230 4,Thd 2 9.8 3ooo 1500
HS-307-2 W'x7H' 4" Thd 2" 11.1 4500 1800
HS-30102 W'X10' C' Thd 2" 12.4 8ooo 2200
HS-30152 W'x15' 4" Thd 2" 15.0 9 o o o 2 8 0 0
HS-367-2 38"x7%' 230 6" FIg 2" 16.1 8m 2400
HS-3810-2 W'X10' 8" FIg 2" 18.1 8700 2800
HS-36152 36"xW 8" Fla 2" 21.8 13ooo 3800
HS362&2 36"X20' 8" Fig 2 1 25.0 17000 4800
HS-427-2 42"x7%' 230 8" Fig 2, 21.7 8800 3300

I HS-42102
HS-4215.2
H.s-4220-2
42"xlO'
42.~15'
42"xX)'
8" Flg
8" Fla
8" FIg
2
2"
2'
24.5
29.5
33.0
11700
17800
23500
3900
5200
8800
HS-487-2 W'x7H' 230 8" Flg 2" 28.5 11500 4200

I HS4810-2
HS-48152
HS-4820-2
48"XlO'
W'x15'
48"W
8" FIQ
8" Fla
8" FIg
2"
2"
2"
33.3
38.9
44.5
15400
23000
32000
5100
7000
eooo
HS-547-2 54"x7M9 230 8" Fla 2" 36.0 14800 5500

I HS-5410-2
HS-54152
HS-542&2
54"XlO
54"xlB
W'X20'
8" FIE
8" FIa
8" Fig
2,
2"
2"
40.5
49.0
56.9
19400
29200
38800
8800
Baoo
11000
HS807-2 BO"x7H' 230 8" Fig 2" 44.8 18Ooo 8800

I HS8010-2
HS80152
HS802G2
60"XlO
W'XlS
60"x20"
8" Fig
8" Flg
8" Fig
2'
2"
2"
50.2
60.7
70.5
24wo
38ooo
48OOO
85M)
11200
14000
' HS125-5 12~x5' 500 2" Thd 1" 2.5 500 800
nsi27.5 12W"x7H' 2" Thd 2, 2.8 750 1000
HS-12165 12rk"xlO 2" Thd 2" 3.2 1000 1100
HS-1655 Wx5' 500 2 fhd 2" 4.0 800 1400
HS-187-5 lV'x7M' 2,Thd 2" 4.5 1200 1500
HS-1810-5 l6'XlO' 2" Thd 2" 5.1 1800 1800
nszw 20"X5 500 3" FIg 2" 8.4 1300 1800
HS-207-5 20"X7H' 3" Flg 2, 7.2 1850 2050
HS-2010-5 20"XlW 3" FIg 2" 8.1 2800 2400
HS-265 24"x5' 500 4" FIg 2" 9.2 1850 2100
HS-247-5 24"xIH' 4" FIg 2" 10.3 2750 2800
ns.2410-5 24"xlO' 4" FIg 2" 11.8 3700 3100
H82415.5 24"r15' 4" Fio 2" 14.0 5 5 M m
99

HORIZONTAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS


SPECIFICATIONS
Nominal Inlet 8 Gas Llquld Shipping
Model Size W.P. Gas Outlet Oil Capaclty Capaclty Welght
No. O.D.x Lgth psi Conn. Valve MMCFD' Bbllday Ibs.

I HS-4210.5
HS-4215-5
HS.42205
42"XlO
42"x15'
42"x20
8" FIO
6" FIR
8" FIO
2"
2"
2,
35.1
42.5
49.4
11200
16800
22400
7800
loo00
12200
H5487.5 48Vx7M' 500 8' FIa 2" 41.3 11100 8OOO

I H548105
HS-4815-5
HS48205
48'xlO
48"x15'
48"x20'
8" FIO
8" Fla
8' Flg
2,
2,
2"
48.5
58.2
85.3
14800
22200
%MI
8800
13500
17200
H5547.5 54"X7'/2 500 8" Fla 2, 52.0 14ooo 9700

I HS-5410-5
HS-54155
HS-54205
54"xlO
54"x15'
54"x20'
8" F l i
8" FIR
8" FlO
2"
2"
2'
58.5
70.8
82.3
lssoo
28000
37200
11800
17000
21200
HS507-5 6O"x71h' 500 8' Flg 2" 85.0 17400 12800
HS.6010-5 6O"xlO 8, FIg 2" 73.0 23200 15100
HSS0155 60"x15' 8" FIg 2" 88.0 34800 20100
HS60205 6O"x2O 8" Flg 2- 102.0 48400 25100
HS-1256 12%"x5' 800 2 , Thd 1" 2.8 500 lo00
HS-127-6 12%"x7H' 2" Thd 1" 3.1 750 1100
H51210.8 12%"x10' 2" Thd 1" 3.5 1000 1200
H51856 18"XS 800 2 , Thd 1" 4.5 800 1500
H51675 16"x71h' 2 , Thd 1" 5.1 1200 1600
HS-1810.8 16'xlO' 2" Thd 1" 5.7 1800 1600
H5-205-8 ZO"x5' 600 3" FIg 1" 7.0 1260 1700
HS207-6 20"x7%' 3 ' FIg 1" 7.8 1800 2150
HS2010.8 2O"Xlo' 3" Flg 1" 8.8 2500 2800
H5245.6 24"xS 600 4" FIg 1" 9.5 1700 2350
H5247-8 24"x71h' 4" FIg 1" 10.8 2550 2700
HS2410-6 24"XlO 4" Flg 1" 12.0 3400 3200
H52415.6 24"x15' 4" Flg 1" 14.5 5100 3700
HS-3058 30"x5' 600 4" Flg 1" 14.9 2700 2700
HS307-8 30"X7H" 4" Flg 1" 18.7 4ooo 3700
HS-30108 W'XlO 4" FIo 1" 18.8 5400 4800
H530156 30"x15' 4" FIO 2' 22.7 8100 6800
HS367-6 Wx7H' 600 6' Fin 2" 25.1 eo00 5100
H53610.8 38"XlO' 6" FIg 2" 26.2 8OOO 8200
H53615-6 W'x15' 8" FIg 2, 34.1 12Ooo 8500
HS-36208 36"x20 8" FIg 2" 39.8 leooo lo800
HS-427-6 42"x7H8 600 6" FIg 2" 34.7 8400 6soO
HS4210.8 42"x 10' 6" Flg 2" 39.0 11200 8300
H54215.6 42"x15' 8" FIg 2" 47.2 lee00 loB00
HS-42206 42"xZO' 6" FIG 2" 54.9 22400 12900
100

HORIZONTAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS


SPECIFICATIONS

Nominal Inlet 8 Std. Gas Liquid Shipping


Model Size W.P. Gas Outlel Capacity
No. O.D. x Lgth Conn. Valve MMCFD

HS-207.10 20"x71hh' 3" FIO 1" 10.3 1770 2300


HS-2010.10 2O"xlO ' 3" Flg 1" 11.6 2380 2800'
HS.245-10 24"xS lo00 4" FIg 1" 13.3 1700 2200
HS.247.10 24'%71/z' 4" FIg 1" 15.0 2550 3OOO
HS-2410-10 24"xlo' 4" Flg 1" 16.8 3400 3800
HS-2415-10 24"x15' 4" Flg 1" 20.3 5100 5400
HS-305-10 303x5' lo00 4" FIg 1" 20.5 2800 3200
HS.307.10 30"X71h' 4" Flg 1" 23.1 3800 4300
HS-3010-10 30"xlO' 4" FID 1" 26.0 5200 5500
HS-3015.10 3@'~15' 4" Flg 2" 31.4 7900 7800
HS.367-10 36"x71/z * lo00 6" Flg 2' 35.0 8ooo 8100
HS-3610-10 38"xlO' 0 ' Flg 2, 39.4 8ooo 7500
HS4615.10 36"X15' 0 ' FIg 2" 47.4 1 m 10200
HS.3620-10 36k20 6" FIg 2, 55.4 lso00 1 m
HS-427.10 42"X77h' loo0 6" Flg 2" 48.7 8ooo 8200
HS-421010 42"XlO 6" FIg 2, 52.5 10700 es00
HS-4215-10 42"X15' 8" Flg 2' 63.5 leooo 13400
HS.422010 42"~20' 6'' Flg 2" 73.6 21400 18900
HS.467-10 48"x71h' lo00 8" FIg 2, 62.5 10700 logo0
HS.4810-10 48"xlO' 8" Flg 2" 70.3 14300 12700
HS.4815-10 48"xlS 8" Flg 2' 85.0 21400 17500
HS-4820-10 48"~20' 8" Flg 2" 88.8 28800 22100
HS-547-10 54"x7M' lo00 8" FIg 2, 78.2 13400 13400
HS5410-10 54"XlO 8" FIg 2" 88.0 17900 lso00
HS-541510 54"~15 8" Flg 2, 108.4 28800 21200
HS-5420.10 54"xZO 8" Flg 2, 123.6 35800 2&(00
HS-807-10 6O'x7H' lo00 8" Flg 2' 97.8 18800 18700
HS.6010-10 60"XlO 8" FIg 2" 110.0 22400 les00
HS-801510 6O"XlS 8" FIg .2# 113.0 3380026400
HS-6020-10 60"xZO 8' FIg 2" 154.0 44800 32800
101

HORIZONTAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS


Nominal Inlet 8 Std. Gas Liquid Shipping
-
Model Size W.P. Gas Outlet Oil Capacity Capacity Weight
NO. 0.0. x Lgth psi Conn Valve MMCFD Bbllday Ibs.

HS-121012 l2W"xlO 2" Thd 1" 5.0 900 1450


HS-165.12 16"x5' 1200 2" Thd 1" 6.3 710 1500
1 HS-167-12 16"x71/2' 2' Thd 1" 7.1 1070 1800
HS-1610.12 16"XlO' 2" Thd 1" 6.0 1430 2150
' HS.20512 2O"x5 1200 3" Flg 1" 9.9 1120 1650
HS.207-12 20"x71/2' 3 ' Flg 1" 11.1 1660 2400
HS.2010-12 2O"xlO 3" Flg 1" 12.5 2250 2900
HS-24512 24"x5' 1200 4" Flg 1" 14.7 1670 2600
HS-247.12 24"x7 7/2 ' 4" Flg 1" 16.5 2500 3100
HS-2410.12 24"X 10' 4" Fig 1" 18.6 3300 3900
HS.2415.12 2 4 " 15'
~ 4" Fig 1" 22.5 5000 5400
HS-30512 3O"x5' 1200 4" Flg 1" 23.2 2600 3600
HS-307-12 3O"x7V' 4" Flg 1" 26.1 4000 4600
HS-3010-12 3O"xlO' 4" Flg 1" 29.4 5300 5700
HS.3015-12 30"X15' 4" Flg 2" 35.5 7900 7600
HS.367.12 36"x7'/2' 1200 6" Flg 2" 40.0 6000 6500
HS.3610-12 36"XlO 6" Flg 2" 44.3 '8000 7900
HS.3615-12 36"X15' 6" Fla 2" 53.6 12000 10600
HS.3620-12 36"x20 6" Fl; 2" 62.3 16000 13300
HS-427.12 42"x7M' 1200 6" Flg 2" 53.0 6000 8700
HS.4210-12 42"XlO 6" Flg 2" 60.0 10700
HS.421512 42"~15' 6" Flg 2" 72.0 16000 14300
HS.4220-12 42"X2O 6 ' Fig 2' 83.7 21400 18000
HS.487-12 48"X7'h' 1200 8" Fig 2" 69.3 10500 11700
HS.481012 48"XlO 8" Flg 2" 79.9 14000 13700
HS-4815.12 48"X15' 8" Fig 2% 94.2 21000 18500
102

HORIZONTAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS


Nominal Inlet B Std. Gas Liquid Shipping
Model Size W.P. Gas Outlet Oil Capacity Capacity Weight
NO. O.D. x Lgth psi Conn. Valve MMCFD Bbllday Ibs.

HS.2415.15 24"x15' 4 ,Flg 1" 26.2 5000 5900


HS-305-15 3O"XS 1500 4" Flg 1" 27.1 2600 4100
HS-307.15 3O'x7%' 4" Flg 1" 30.5 3900 5200
HS.3010.15 3O"xiO' 4" Flg 1" 34.3 5200 6300
HS.3015-15 30"x15' 4" Flg 2" 41.5 7900 8500
HS.367.15 36" x7 '/2 1500 6' Flg 2' 43.9 5700 7300
HS.3610.15 36"xlO' 6' Flg 2' 49.4 7600 6800
HS.3615.15 36"x15' 6' Flg 2' 59.7 11400 11800
HS-3620.15 36"x20' 6" Fig 2' 69.4 15200 14800
HS-427.15 42"x71/2' 1500 6" Flg 2" 60.0 7700 9600
HS-4210-15 42"xlO 6" Flg 2" 67.0 10300 11600
H5.42 15.1 5 42'x15' 6" Flg 2" 81.o 15400 15900
HS-4220-15 42"x20' 6" Flg 2" 94.5 20600 20000
HS.487.15 48',x77/2 ' 1500 8" Flg 2" 76.0 10000 13300
HS.4610.15 48"xlO' 8" Flg 2" 86.0 13500 16100
HS.4815.15 46"x15' 8" Flg 2" 106.0 20000 21700
HS4620.15 48"x20 6" Flg 2" 123.5 27000 27500
HS-125.20 12W'x5' 2000 2" Flg 1" 5.0 400 2000
HS.127.20 123/4*'x7'/2 ' 2" Flg 1" 5.7 600 2200
HS-1210-20 123/r"x108 2" Flg 1" 6.4 800 2400
HS.165-20 16"x5 2000 2" Flg 1" 7.4 590 2200
HS-167-20 16" x7 V 2 ' 2" Flg 1" 8.3 880 2600
HS-1610.20 16"x'10' 2" Flg 1" 9.3 1180 3000
HS.205-20 20"x5' 2000 3" Flo 1" 12.6 1000 3000
HS-207.20 20'1x71/z' 3" Flg 1" 14.1 1500 3600
HS.2010.20 20"XlO' 3" Flg 1" 15.9 2000 4300
HS.245.20 24"x5' 2000 4" Flg 1" 19.0 1570 3600
HS.247.20 24"x71/2' 4" Flg 1" 21.4 2260 4700
HS-2410.20 24"x 10' 4" Flg 1" 23.4 3040 5800
HS.2415-20 24"x15' 4" Flg 1" 30.0 4500 8000
103

HORIZONTAL HIGH PRESSURE SEPARATORS


SPECIFICATIONS
~ ~

Nominal inlet 8 Std. Gas Liquid Shipping


Model size W.P. Gas Outlet Oil Capacity Capacity Weight
No. O.D. x Lgth psi Conn. Valve MMCFD Bbllday Ibs.
HS-305.20 30"xS 2000 4" Fig 1" 31.0 2460 5800
HS.307.20 30'X7'h' 4" Fig 1" 34.8 3720 7400
HS.3010.20 3O"xlO 4" Fig 1" 39.2 4960 8700
HS-3015-20 30'x15' 4" Fig 1" 47.3 7440 11600
HS.367.20 3SS'x7Vz' 2000 6" Flg 1" 44.6 5350 9600
HS.3610-20 36"XlO 6 ' Flg 1" 50.2 7100 12200
HS.3615.20 36"xlS 6 ' Flg 1" 56.4 10700 16400
LHS-3620-20 36'x20 6" Flg 1" 66.3 14200 20800

SETTLING VOLUMES
Settling Volume, bbl.
Slze
O.D. X LQth. M Full W Full 1/4 Full

12%" x 5' 0.38 0.22 0.15


12%" x 7 M V 0.55 0.32 0.21
12%" x 1 0 0.72 0.42 0.28
1s" x 5' 0.61 0.35 0.24
16' x 7%' 0.88 0.50 0.34
16' x 1 0 1.14 0.66 0.44
20" x 5' 0.98 0.55 ,038
20' x 7M' 1.39 0.79 0.54
20' x 10 1.80 1.03 0.70
24" x 5' 1.45 0.83 0.55
24" x 7Vz' 2.04 1.18 0.76
24" x 1 0 2.63 1.52 1.01
24" x 15' 3.61 2.21 1.47
30" x 5' 2.43 1.39 0.91
30, x 7'h' 3.40 1.96 1.29
30' x 10' 4.37 2.52 1.67
3 0 ' x 15' 6.30 3.65 2.42
3 6 ' X 7V2' 4.99 2.67 1.90
36" x 1 0 6.38 3.68 2.45
36" x 15' 9.17 5.30 3.54
36' x 20 11.96 6.92 4.63
42" x 7%' 6.93 3.98 2.61
42" x 1 0 6.83 5.09 3.35
42' x 15' 12.62 7.30 4.63
42' x 20' 16.41 9.51 6.32
48" x 7%' 9.28 5.32 3.51
48" x 1 0 11.77 6.77 4.49
46' x 15' 16.74 9.67 6.43
48" x 20' 21.71 12.57 8.38
54" X 7l/2' 12.02 6.87 4.49
54" x 1 0 15.17 8.71 5.73
54" x 15' 21.49 12.40 6.20
54" x 20' 27.61 16.08 10.68
60, x 7 % 15.05 6.60 5.66
60' x 1 0 18.93 10.86 7.17
60' x 15'
60' x 20'
26.68
34.44
15.38
19.90
- 10.21
13.24
104

SPHERICAL SEPARATORS

HTI Hydrotek's Spherical Separator utilizes a tan- FEATURES


gentiai inlet to increase flow velocity as the wellstream
enters the separator. The fluid is directed against the in- No unused or "Dead" space.
side of the sphere for initial separation in the annular A baffle arrangement separates the liquid and gas sec-
space. Oil is forced against the shell as the gas moves tions to provide a quiet liquid surface for quick gas
to the center. release and proper liquid level control operation.
The gas makes two complete directional reversals Weii planned orientation of fittings and connections
before entering the mist extractor. facilitates fast hook-up.
The liquid drains to the liquid accumulation area. A Separators available for three-phase operation (gas, oil
large ratio of liquid surface area to liquid volume and water) and for handling extremely foamy oil.
assures rapid release of solution gas.
105

SPHERICAL SEPARATORS

STANDARD ACCESSORIES OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES


Standard accessories furnished with two-phase (oil-gas) separators. Thermometer
1 . High pressure, screwed, angle type, diaphragm motor valve Safety Head
1 - Pneumatic ievei control Heating Coil
1 .ASME safety relief valve Additional Connections
1 . Pressure gauge with isolating valve Skid Mounting
1 . Control gas regulator set with fittings
1 . Stainless steel wire mesh mist extractor
1 . Tangential inlet diverter
1 . Drain connection
1 . Quieting baffle over settling section
Companion flanges bolted on gas inlet and outlet (threaded or slipon) on 250 P S I . & higher
1 . Reflex gage glass with steel cocks & drain valve (tubular gage glass
on 125 P.S.I. separators)
(Mechanical gas valve same size as oil valve furnished on 125 PSI separators)
Additional accessories furnished with three-phase (oil-gas-water) separators.
1 . High pressure, screwed, angle type, diaphragm motor valve
1 . Pneumatic level control
1 . Transparent gage glass with steel safety cocks & drain valve
1 . Thermometer with S.S.
106

cn
a
0
3a
e
W
cn
a0
z
W
I
e
cn
&
cn
W
I

k
0
2a
0
cn
W
K
a
(3
3
v)
v)
W
a
n
3
9
107

SPHERICAL SEPARATORS
SPECIFICATIONS

Model Nominal W.P. iniel 8 Std. Liquid Gas Cap. Oil Cap. Approx.
No. Diameter psi Gas Outlet Valve MMCFO bbidday Weight, Lb
88-4212 42' 125 2" 6.2 1900 1000
ss-4812 48" 3' 9.0 2500 1300
ss.5412 54' 4" 12.0 . 4500 1700
55.4225 42" 250 2" 6.4 1900 1100
SS.4625 483 2' 12.0 2500 1400
SS.6025 60, 2" 22.0 5100 3400
55.2450 24" 500 1" 3.6 300 1000
55.3050 30' 1" 6.9 600 1200
SS.3650 36" 1" 10.0 1100 1500
88-4250 42' 2, 12.0 1900 2300
__
SSa850 48' 2' 18.0 2500 3100
558050 60' 2, 31.0 5100 3400
S52480 24' 600 1" 4.0 300 1200
__
ss-3oBo
_... 30'
.. 1" 7.6 600 1300
SS-3660 36' 1" 11.0 1100 1600
SS.4260 42' 2, 14.0 1900 2400
SS-4660 48" 2" 20.0 2500 3200
SS-6060 60, 2' 33.0 5100 3600
SS.24100 24" 1 000 1" 5.1 300 1300
SS-30100 30" 1" 10.0 - 600 1400
5s-36100 36' 1" 15.0 1100 1600
SS-42100 42, 2" 18.0 1900 2600
SS.46100 48" 2" 25.0 2500 3700
SS.66100 60' 2, 45.0 5100 4300
55.24120 24" 1200 1" 5.7 300 1400
85-30120 30" 1" 11.0 600 1500
55.36120 36" 1" 16.0 1100 1900
5542120 421 2" 20.0 1900 2900
SS-48120 48" 2, 28.0 2500 3800
ss.60120 60" 2, 49.0 5100 4700
SS-24144 24, 1440 1" 6.5 300 1500
SS-30144 303 1" 13.0 600 1800
85-36144 36' 1" 19.0 1100 2400
88-42144 423 2' 22.0 1900 3300
88.46144 48" 2" 31.0 2500 4100
ss-80144 60" 2, 54.0 5100 5400
88.24200 24" 2 m 1" 7.4 300 1600
ss.30200 30' 1" 15.0 600 2200
SS-36200 36'. 1" 21.0 1100 2600
ss.42200 42' 2, 26.0 1800 3900
SS24300 24" 3000 1" 6.3 300 2600
S530300 30"' 1" 16.0 600 3200
S536300 36' 1" 23.0 1100 3800
SS.42300 42' 2 q 26.0 ls00 4900

Nominal capacities based on separator V2 tuil of liquid.


All separators, 250 psi and above are ASME code constructed and stamped.
108

REFERENCES

API, 1960. Specification of Oil and Gas Separators. (Tentative API Study 12J). API, Division of
Production, 1st ed., Dallas, Tex., p. 4.
Campbell, J.M., 1976. Gas Conditioning and Processing. Campbell Petroleum Series, Norman, Okla.
Chilingar, G.V. and Beeson, C.M., 1969. Surface Operations in Petroleum Production. Am. Elsevier, New
York, N.Y., 397 pp.
Craft, B.C., Holden, W.R. and Graves Jr., E.D., 1962.Well Design, Drilling and Production. Prentice-Hall,
Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 571 pp.
Deam, J.R. and Maddox, R.N., 1969. How to figure three-phase flash. Hydrocarbon Process., July:
163-164.
Erbar, J.H., 1973. Three-phase equilibrium calculations. N.G.P.A. 52nd Annu. Conv., pp. 62-70.
Hohmann, E.C. and Lockhart, F.J., 1972. Remember the hyperbola. Chemrech, Oct.: 614-619.
Ikoku, Chi U., 1980. Natural Gar Engineering, A Systems Approach. PennWell, Tulsa, Okla., 788 pp.
Lockhart, F.J. and McHenry, R.J., 1958.Figure flash equilibrium easier, quicker this way. Pet. Refiner,
37 (3): 209-212.
Nelson, W.L., 1958. Petroleum Refinery Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., 4th ed., pp.
440-443.
Osborne, A., 1964. How to calculate three-phase flash equilibrium. Chem. Eng., 21: 97-100.
Peng, D. and Robinson, D.R., 1976. Two- and three-phase equilibrium calculations for systems
containing water. Can. J. Chem. Eng., 5412): 595-599.
Perry, R.H. and Chilton, C.H. (Editors), 1973.Chemical Engineers’ Handbook. McGraw-Hill, New York,
N.Y., 5th ed., pp. 2-6.
Sivalls, C.R., 1977. Fundamentals of Oil and Gas Separation. Proc. Gas Conditioning Conf., Univ.
Oklahoma, 17 pp.
Smith, H.V., 1962.Oil and gas separation. In: T.C. Frick (Editor), Petroleum Production Handbook, Vol.
I, Mathematics and Production Equipment, pp. 1-40.
Souders, M. and Brown, G.G., 1934.Design of fractionating columns, I: Entrainment and capacity. Ind
Eng. Chem., 26: 98-103.
Uren, L.C., 1953. Petroleum Production Engineering: Oil Field Exploitation. McGraw-Hill, New York,
N.Y., pp. 558-565.
Whiney, K.F.and Campbell, J.M., 1958.A method of determining optimum second stage pressure in
three stage separation. J. Pet. Tech., lO(4): 53-54.
Wilkins, R.B., 1949. Stage separation of crude oil. Oil Gas J., 48(26): 62.
Worley, M.S. and Laurence, L.L., 1957. Oil and gas separation is a science. J. Per. Tech., 9(4): 11-16.
109

Chapter 4

OIL FIELD EMULSIONS AND THEIR ELECTRICAL


RESOLUTION

L.C. WATERMAN, R.L. PETTEFER and G.V. CHILINGARIAN

INTRODUCTION

In 1850 there was a thriving industry in West Virginia and Pennsylvania based on
the evaporation of natural brines for the production of salt. An occasional trouble-
some contaminant of the brine was crude oil, which would seep from the earth with
the brine or would accompany brine produced from wells. T h s oil was skimmed off
the surface of the brine pools and discarded. The more enterprising of the salt
producers used gas that was produced from brine wells for firing the evaporating
pots. Small bottles of the oil were sold at “medicine shows”. The garish labels bore
the picture of a fierce Indian and attested to the universal curative qualities of the
“rock oil from the bowels of the earth”. Eventually a bottle of the oil was sent to
Yale University for analysis by distillation. Based on this report, a syndicate
promoted an oil well. Drilling of the Drake Well was accomplished by a group of
salt-water well drillers from West Virginia, U.S.A. Thus, from the beginning of the
petroleum industry, salt water and oil have been associated, though the roles of
contaminant and product have been reversed.
Brines reside in crude oil principally because salt water generally underlies the
crude oil in the geological formation from which it is produced. With careful
completion and production methods, it is possible to produce wells initially with no
salt water. As the producing life of a field is extended, however, increasing
proportions of salt water are produced with the oil. Salt water encroachment
normally starts at the edge of the fields and progresses until the production is
predominantly water rather than oil. The oil field waters whch are produced with
crude oils vary widely in composition and the amount of salts, which they carry in
solution, but their salinity is generally greater than that of sea water. Overall, the
total productions of oil and water from oil wells are approximately equal.
Emulsification of the water and oil, by intimate mixing, may occur in the
formations themselves, or in mechanical equipment such as pumps, chokes, gas
separators, and piping. These emulsions may comprise varying proportions of oil
and water, from 0 to loo%, but pipelines will not purchase the oil until its water
content is reduced to the 0.5-2% range, varying with the specifications prevalent for
the geographical area or dictated by the purchaser. These specifications for the
maximum water contents are dictated not by the amounts which the pipeline
operator would prefer to have, i.e., no water at all, but rather by the difficulties of
110

reducing commercially the water contents in specific crude oils to lower values by
even the best dehydration methods.
The emulsified water exists predominantly in the form of dispersed particles
(water-in-oil type of emulsion), which will vary in size from large drops down to
small ones of about 1 pm (0.00004 in.) in diameter. Character of the water and of
the oil (gravity, surface tension, chemical constituents, etc.) and production methods
will determine the size distribution and stability of emulsion particles.
Chlorides, sulfates, and carbonates of sodium, magnesium, and calcium are
generally present in the water in decreasing order. The mineralogy and petrology of
geologic formations (e.g., clayey sands, limestones, and dolomites) from which the
oil is produced and diagenetic and catagenetic processes influence the composition
and concentration of brines. Concentration of salts in the brine varies widely from
field to field.
As the ratio of water to oil increases to predominantly water, there is a tendency
for inverse emulsions (oil-in-water) to be formed, particularly if the pumping
equipment is worn and wire-drawing of the mixture occurs. The O/W emulsions
have the viscosity of water and may be milky or coffee-colored. Indeed, milk is an
oil-in-water emulsion. Particle size is of the order mentioned above. Treatment of
inverse emulsions is done by chemical methods, but prevention of emulsification by
good mechanical maintenance is often helpful. These emulsions may be stabilized
by organic acid salts of monovalent metals.

THEORY OF EMULSIONS

A discussion of the theory of emulsion formation involves a study at molecular


level of the individual groups and their environment. The formation of a drop and
its interface between oil and water requires energy. It is a rule of nature that all
energetic systems tend to seek the lowest level of free energy. Thus, an elevated
object tends to fall, a pressure tends to relieve itself, and a hot object cools to the
temperature of its environment. The energy of drop formation causes the drops to
be spherical, because this shape represents the least area and free energy for a given
volume. Drop formation by agitation is beautifully demonstrated by Dr. Edgerton’s
famous flash photograph “Coronet” of a drop of milk falling into a saucer of milk
(Fig. 4-1). The energy also tends to cause the drops to coalesce and to settle to bulk
water. Impurities in the system, however, will interfere with coalescence and reduce
the free energy.
In the case of a molecule internal to a liquid system, it is attracted equally in all
directions toward all of its neighboring molecules, which is a characteristic of liquids
(see Fig. 4-2). If the liquid is divided in a horizontal plane and separated into two
parts, the molecules at the new surfaces are attracted by equal forces in the
horizontal plane and to the adjoining molecules beneath in the lower portion and,
similarly, upward for the upper section. The separation of the molecules at the plane
of cleavage was accomplished by a force necessary to overcome the intermolecular
111

Fig. 4-1. “Coronet”, formation of drops.

attraction in the vertical direction. The product of the vertical force times the short
distance through which the forces are significant is the work done in forming the

+.-
surfaces. This is the “free energy” of the system. It is proportional to the area of the
surfaces formed. Numerically, the “free energy” per unit area is equal to the
“surface tension”, which is, at least, a convenient mathematical concept. The work
done in increasing a surface area is that which is necessary to move a molecule to

t -0-I
c f
Molecule at the
interlace
Molecule internal to
the liquid

Fig. 4-2. Forces of attraction between molecules.


112

the unbalanced forces at the surface from the interior of the liquid where the forces
are balanced. The foregoing is true whether the material at the new surface is in
contact with a gas, such as air, or another immiscible liquid, as is the case with oil
and water. In the latter case, “interfacial tension” is the expression used. The
surface tension of water at 20°C is 73 dynes/cm, whereas that of most organic
liquids is about 28 dynes/cm. Interfacial tension between crude oil and water varies
from about 20 dynes/cm to 32 dynes/cm. When oil and water are vigorously
mixed, both types of emulsion are formed, but primarily the minor phase tends to
become dispersed. Both types of emulsion tend to resolve and the surviving type
(O/W or W/O) depends largely on the nature of the stabilizer and the phase ratio.
Further reference to “emufsions” in this chapter implies water-in-oil type emulsions,
which is the predominant type in crude oil production.
The formation of an emulsion involves the creation of enormous areas of
interface with attendant free energy that is supplied by agitation in pumps, friction
in lines, or pressure drop through valves. For example, in half a gallon of oil, a 1%
emulsion consists of about one cubic inch of water. If the water is divided into
drops 0.0001 in. in diameter, there will be about 2 trillion of them. The total area of
interface formed would be 400 ft2, almost equal to the surface of two 9 X 12 ft rugs
on both sides. This area can gather a considerable amount of stabilizer or dust. The
free energy tends to subside and will do so in pure systems of distilled water and a
pure hydrocarbon, such as hexane: the drops coalesce to form free water.
In impure systems, however, another form of energy degradation may precede
and prevent coalescence. Polar molecules (i.e., molecules which have external
electrical fields) or groups of molecules in the oil, that are least similar to the most
prevalent oil molecular species, will be subject to somewhat lower intermolecular
forces. Being less attracted to the internal body of the oil and by virtue of its polar
nature, some material will be adsorbed to the oil-water interface, water itself being
highly polar. Such materials include asphalt, asphaltenes, resins, oxygenated sulfur
and nitrogen compounds, porphyrins, waxes, metallo-organic salts, organic acids,
and sediments. Of these, asphaltenes are most prominent. If present, impurities
from the water side may be adsorbed to the interface. Interfacial adsorption of these
surface-active materials results in a reduction of free energy. Such surface-active
materials are called stabilizers or emulsifying agents. Stabilizers constitute the third
essential component of stable emulsions of oil and water. They give rise to a
physical barrier that prevents water drops from getting close enough for the
intermolecular forces (water-to-water attraction) to be of sufficient strength to bring
about coalescence. Stabilization of the interface begins at the instant a drop is
formed. The process is called “aging”. It may proceed rapidly or extend over a
period of days. Emulsion that has been held in storage may have been “aged”,
thereby increasing the dehydration problem. When concentrated, the extraneous
molecules (similar in kind) have a mutual attraction, which results in an elastic,
sometimes tough and viscous, film around the drop. When molecules are present
that are attracted and enveloped by the water on one end and the oil on the other,
such as is the case with the soaps (e.g., calcium naphthenate), the interface becomes
113

indistinct, the free surface energy may become very low, and the emulsion will be
very resistant to treatment.

DEHYDRATION

Dehydration is concerned with reduction, removal, rupture, or counteraction of


the stabilizing films, coalescence of the droplets, and gravitational separation of the
oil and water phases in a relatively brief residence time, e.g., 20 min. According to
Stokes’ law, velocity of settling of a water drop is proportional to the cross-sectional
area, difference between the gravity of oil and that of water, and the viscosity of the
oil. Thus, the most favorable combination for separation exists when the oil has high
API gravity and low viscosity, and water consists of large, unstabilized drops of
salty water.
By good production practice, the encroachment of water may be delayed,
whereas the degree of emulsification may be mitigated by good equipment mainte-
nance. Consequently, to some extent, produced water may be unemulsified (or “free
water”) and will separate rapidly unassisted. Nonetheless, a large proportion of oil
that is produced must be treated.
The means of treatment are: (1) heat, (2) chemical destabilization, (3) electrical
coalescence, and (4) gravitational settling.

Heat

Heat increases the solvency of the bulk oil for the stabilizer and the rate of
diffusion of the stabilizer into the bulk oil; it decreases the viscosity, thickness, and
cohesion of the film. Heat also reduces viscosity of the oil. Heating the oil to
promote dehydration has been used from the earliest days of oil industry. Like
many tools that have served well in terms of effectiveness, however, its use has
decreased in favor of more efficient means or their combinations. Evaporation
losses from heat result not only in a loss of oil volume, but a reduction in price
because of a decrease in the API gravity. Decrease in the API gravity of one degree
corresponds to a volume loss of about 2.5%. In some instances, even a slight loss of
API gravity may lower the price into the next lower bracket. Furthermore, fuel gas,
that was formerly wasted, is now a valuable product. Thus, the penalty for
inefficient heating is multiplied and treatment by heat is fast becoming obsolete or
an accessory to other methods.
The most effective and efficient source of heat is that of the producing formation.
By treating oil on the flowline as close to the well as other considerations permit,
loss of connate heat is avoided. Furthermore, “aging” of the emulsion and emulsifi-
cation by surface equipment is held to a minimum. Such “flowline treatment”,
therefore, is highly desirable. Frequently no additional heat is required for such
treatment and maximum efficiency is gained at minimum cost.
114

Fig. 4-3. Rupture of emulsion film by chemical destabilizer.

Chemical additives

The emulsion can be further modified by addition of chemical destabilizers.


These surface-active agents adsorb to the water-oil interface, rupturing the skin
and/or displacing the stabilizer back into the oil. Figure 4-3 shows the effect of
additions of destabilizer to an oil-water interfacial film. The motivation derives
from a still further lowering of the interfacial tension of the drop. The added
molecules, however, are of such dimension, in such limited concentration, and of
such arrangement at the interface that the film quality and thickness are drastically
changed. Time and turbulence aid diffusion of the treating chemical through the oil
to the interface; therefore, it is usually added to the oil at the wellhead. The
synthetic interfacial material, having caused the natural skin to recede from part or
all of the interface, comprises a thin film susceptible to rupture by the attractive
intermolecular forces of water-to-water at very close distances. Inasmuch as these
forces vary inversely as the seventh power of the distance between molecules, the
remaining problem is bringing the drops into very close contact quickly and without
such severe turbulence that could cause the drops to redisperse.
William S . Barnickel discovered and pioneered the use of treating chemicals
about sixty-eight years ago. Thousands of his “Tret-0-Lite”* demulsifier com-
pounds have been used wherever oil is produced. Selection of a compound is
ordinarily accomplished by actual test on a sample of emulsion. The mechanism of
the chemical process is not explicable by any simple theory.

* Registered Trademark, Petrolite Corporation.


115

( C )

Fig. 4-4. Effect of electric field on water drops in oil.

Electrical treatment

The application of electric field is a powerful tool for causing dispersed drops to
rapidly collide with one another and for overcoming the resistance of stabilizing
films. The collision and coalescence of drops is accomplished by an induced dipole
attraction between them. After coalescence, separation of the phases is due to
gravity.
The interaction of a field and induced dipoles is illustrated in the drawings and
photomicrographs of Fig. 4-4. Figure 4-4.a shows a suspended uncharged particle,
whereas Fig. 4-4.b exhibits the displacement of charges on a single drop (induced
dipole) by an applied field. Full-line drawing in Fig. 4-4.c represents the effect of an
applied field upon adjacent particles separated by a distance equal to a few radii.
The broken-line drawing and photo are explained later.
In Fig. 4-4.b, a single water drop is shown in an alternating electric field. There is
a displacement of electric charges induced on it. The field and the induced charges
shown in this figure reverse 120 times per second, but the relationship holds at any
116

instant. The electrodes establish the electric field to whch the drop is responsive.
The left end is electrically attracted to the left by the field and the right end is
pulled to the right. The drop is an induced dipole. Inasmuch as the forces are equal
and opposite in direction, the drop remains in place and merely elongates. If the
field is disconnected, the drop resumes its spherical shape and there is no residual
change as a result of the electric field application. While the drop is distorted and
under the influence of the field, however, the highly-polar stabilizing film will be
responsive, and coalescence can more readily occur when the drops come in contact.
The attractive coalescing force, F, between the aligned drops of equal size is
equal to:

6KE2a6
F= - (4-1)
d4

where K is the dielectric constant of the oil, E is the potential gradient, a is the
drop radius, and d is the distance between centers. Accordingly, the force increases
very rapidly as drop size increases and as the distance between particles decreases.
Action is almost instantaneous.
There is a limitation of the size to which the drops may coalesce for a given field
strength and a maximum voltage that may be applied to a given system. This is due
to a tendency for electrically charged drops to disperse. The condition necessary for
stability in undisturbed drops is given by the following relationship:

where E, is the critical dispersing gradient at the surface of the drop, C is a


proportionality constant, T is the interfacial tension, and a is the drop radius. For
any effective coalescing gradient in a given system, there is a corresponding
maximum size beyond which drops discharge small droplets. Broken-line drawing
and photo in Fig. 4-4.c show a large drop dispersing toward a smaller stable drop.
Conductance between drops reduces attraction.
Optimum gradients and electrode configuration have been determined by 70
years of worldwide practical application, since Dr. F.G. Cottrell invented electrical
dehydration. The principles have been extended to other applications of which
electrical desalting of crude oil is the most important.
Desalting is the removal of contaminants (salts and sediments) that reside in
crude oil after normal dehydration has reduced the BSW to pipeline specification.
In the process, salt particles in the residual BSW are dissolved and dispersed by
added fresh water (about 5%), after which brine droplets are electrically coalesced
and separated by gravity. The final contaminant content of the crude oil may be a
few parts per million. Though desalting equipment is a normal part of all refineries,
salt specifications are being imposed on oil moved by pipelines and tankers in many
Fig. 4-5. Pictorial assembly of Petreco” electric dehydrator.
‘I
118

parts of the world. “Petreco”* desalters, first used about 1935, have been applied to
streams of a few hundred barrels per day to up to 300,000 bpd (bbl/D) in a single
unit, meeting specifications as low as about one part per million chloride content.

ELECTRIC DEHYDRATORS

Through the years, design of dehydrators has progressed steadily from the early
models treating a few hundred barrels per day and delivering oil with a few per cent
of BSW up to the current dehydrator models delivering from 1000 to 182,000 bbl/D
containing less than 0.5% BSW.
Design features of dehydrators of all sizes are essentially similar. These features
are shown in Fig. 4-5. Size ranges from 6 ft in diameter by 12 ft long to 14 ft in
diameter by 140 ft long. Normally, operating voltages are 480 V at switchboard and

Fig. 4-6. Equipment (10x21 ft Petreco dehydrator: first floor) for handling production at Lake
Maracaibo. Venezuela.

* Registered Trademark, Petrolite Corporation.


119

16,500 V at electrode. Optionally, both electrodes may be electrified with opposing


polarity, thereby impressing the sum of the two voltages upon the field. All electrical
equipment is enclosed and protected against overload, and meets all safety require-
ments.
Electric power consumption varies according to the conductivity of the crude oil.
Ordinarily, the least conductive crude oils have high API gravity for whxh the load
is about 0.5 kW for each 1000 bbl/D capacity. For heavy crude oils the load may be
2 kW per 1000 bbl/D capacity.
An important feature of the design is to combine the dual function of electrical
coalescence with optimum settling in a single vessel. The internal piping and
electrode arrangement is directed to this end. Residence time of the crude oil in the
dehydrator is about 20 min.
Cost of dehydrators varies inversely with the size and the API gravity of the
crude oil. Large units treating high-API-gravity crude oils are most economical in
cost.
Electrical dehydrators are adaptable to special situations. Figure 4-6 shows an
installation in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. The operation of a large number of wells
is controlled at these “stations”. The electrical dehydrators operate at a well
temperature ( = 130°F), to conform with the restriction that no fire is permitted.
“Tret-0-Lite” demulsifier, in the amount of about 6 ppm is added to the oil prior to
electrical treatment. The 10 x 12 ft “Petreco” dehydrator reduces the water content
of 12,000 bbl of oil per day from 50%to 0.3%.

Fig. 4-7. Typical “Petreco” electric dehydrator.


120

GAS GAS
OUT [RELIEF INLET

FIRE
TUBE

AA
WATER DRAIN WATER DRAIN
OUT OUT

Fig. 4-8. Diagram of “chemelectric” treater.

Fig. 4-9.Facilities for Gulf Coast, U.S.A., offshore production.


121

Figure 4-7 shows a typical 10 X 41 ft “Petreco” dehydrator installed in the Linda


Field, Indonesia. This dehydrator is treating 35,000 bbl of 17” API crude oil per
day.

AUTOMATED DEHYDRATION

The Petreco “chemelectric”* dehydrator is a combination unit for oil-gas sep-


aration, heating, chemical destabilization, and electrical dehydration of oil as it is
produced from the wells. The “chemelectric” dehydrator is ideally adapted for lease
automation and flowline installation. Thus, the oil is treated with a minimum of
handling and “aging”, which is an ideal arrangement.
Aside from the convenience, a substantial saving in investment, piping, real
estate, pumping, heat, chemicals, vapor losses, and labor has resulted from coordi-
nation of the several treating elements to produce the best end result for the least
cost. The combination of treating elements makes it possible to proportion them for

Fig. 4-10. “ Chemelectric” treater for Colombia, South America, production.

* Registered Trademark, Petrolite Corporation.


122

Fig. 4-11. LACT operation treaters in Oklahoma, U.S.A.

best operation, such as increasing content of chemicals and reducing heat, or to


increase the throughput capacity by adjustment of both. This unit is especially
useful in dehydrating the very stable emulsions produced by secondary recovery
operations, such as flooding by water, steam, or fire. Figure 4-8shows diagrammati-
cally the operation of a “chemelectric” unit.
Figure 4-9 is an aerial view of an automated installation for handling offshore
production, in the Gulf Coast. Oil is received from offshore in the high-pressure gas
separators at lower left. Then it flows through the two “chemelectric” treaters at
right center and, finally, through meters on platform at center to transfer to storage
tank at upper left.
In Fig. 4-10,a 10 x 25 ft “chemelectric” treater is being installed in Colombia,
South America. The unit will degass and dehydrate 10,000 bbl/D of 20” API crude
oil containing up to 20%water and 3 MMscf of gas per day.
Figure 4-11 shows 6 x 15 ft and 10 x 20 f t “chemelectric” treaters installed on a
LACT lease at County Line, Oklahoma.
The highly simplified enclosed electrical gear of the “chemelectric” treater is
presented in Fig. 4-12. The conduit between the 16,500V transformer and the vessel
contains the high-voltage cable.
123

Fig. 4-12. Electrical equipment on “chemelectric” treater.

It must be remembered that the gravity, viscosity, and asphaltic content of the
crude oil together with the gas pressure and the methods of production will
influence both the equipment cost and the cost of operation. The latter may vary
from a few tenths of a cent per barrel to a few cents per barrel.
Whatever the situation, the combination of heat to modify the oil, chemicals to
modify the emulsion, and electricity to consummate the operation will provide
versatility, reliability, and economy.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS

(1) Draw a schematic vertical cross section through an electrical dehydrator.


(2) Describe the two steps involved in dehydration by electrical method.
(3) List different types of electric dehydrators.
(4) Illustrate method of arranging electric dehydrator equipment.
124

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The help extended by D.L. Kraft, G.C.Hardwicke, and F.D. Watson is greatly
appreciated by the authors.

REFERENCES

Blair, C.M., 1960.Interfacial films affecting the stability of petroleum emulsions. Chem. Ind., May 14:
538-544.
Greenlee, R.W., 1960. Factors in the Stability of Petroleum Emulsions. Prepr. Pap. Div. Pet. Chem., Am.
Chem. Soc., Sept. 11-16.
Monson, L.T. and Stenzel, R.W., 1946.The technology of resolving emulsions. In: J. Alexander (Editor),
Colloid Chemistty, Vol. VI. Rheinhold, New York, N.Y., pp. 535-552.
Roberts, C.H.M., 1932.A new theory of emulsions. J. Phys. Chem., 36: 3087-3107.
Shea, G.B., 1937. Practices and Methoah of Preventing and Treating Crude Oil Emulsions. Bur. Mines
Bull., 417: 106 pp.
Swigart, T.E., 1961. Histoty of Petroleum Engineering. Am. Pet. Inst., Div. Prod., Dallas, Tex., pp.
925-931.
Waterman, L.C., 1965. Electrical coalescers, theory and practice. Chem. Eng. Progr., 61(10): 51-57.
125

Chapter 5

CHEMICAL RESOLUTION OF PETROLEUM EMULSIONS

DONALD U. BESSLER and GEORGE V. CHILINGARIAN

INTRODUCTION

More than 80% of the crude produced in the world comes to the surface with
various amounts of free and emulsified water. As oil fields grow older and are
subjected to secondary recovery waterflooding, the amount of water increases. Older
oil fields that have been waterflooded for many years may have 95-98% water
produced along with the crude oil.
Petroleum emulsions of the oil-in-water and water-in-oil type plus any free water
present cause serious problems to the producer, transporter, and refiner of petro-
leum. Reduced transportation costs, increased throughput of pipelines, and reduc-
tion in corrosion, scale formation, and bacterial growth can be achieved by
removing the water in the field. With the increasing government regulations on
effluent water and the cost of crude oil, the use of oil-in-water demulsifiers and
water clarification equipment has become an important aspect of the processing of
crude oil in the field.
Chemical resolution of petroleum emulsions of both types is an established
routine procedure in the production and handling of crude oil throughout the world.
It is effective, easily practiced, and inexpensive, when used with settling tanks,
heater treaters, and chemelectric treaters.

NATURE OF EMULSIONS

Definition of emulsions

An emulsion can be defined as a mixture of two mutually immiscible liquids, one


of which is dispersed as droplets in the other and is stabilized by an emulsifying
agent. The dispersed droplets are known as the internal phase. The liquid surround-
ing the dispersed droplets is the external or continuous phase. The emulsifying agent
separates the dispersed droplets from the continuous phase.
In the oil field, oil and water are encountered as the two phases. They generally
form a water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion, although as the water cut increases and
secondary recovery methods are employed, the “reverse” or oil-in-water (O/W)
emulsions are increasing.
126

Basically, there are three components in a water-in-oil emulsion:


(a) Water-the dispersed or internal phase.
(b) Oil- the continuous or external phase.
(c) Emulsifying agent-stabilizes the dispersion.
Besides these three components, certain conditions must also be met before an
emulsion could form. Two conditions necessary to form a stable emulsion are:
(a) The two liquids must be immiscible.
(b) There must be sufficient agitation to disperse the water as droplets in the oil.
Pure water and oil which contains no emulsifying agents will never form an
emulsion no matter how much agitation is applied. Inasmuch as these two liquids
“dislike” each other intensely, if confined in the same container, they will quickly
find a state of existence which gives the least contact or the smallest surface area. A
drop of water in a body of oil will take the shape which gives the least surface area,
i.e., that of a sphere.

Role of the emulsifier

Emulsifiers are surface-active materials found in crude oil or added as in the case
of sulfonate floods. The inclusion of solids tends to stabilize these emulsions to an
even greater degree. These include asphaltenes (a general term applied to a large
variety of chemical compositions containing sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen), resins,
creosols, phenols, organic acids, metallic salts, silts, clays, and many others. The
emulsifier either tends towards insolubility in either liquid phase or has an attrac-
tion for both phases, but always concentrates at the interface. The molecules of
emulsifier are mutually repulsed.
The three principal actions of the emulsifier are: (1) reducing surface tension, (2)
forming a physical barrier, and (3) suspending water droplets.

Stability of emulsions

The stability of emulsions is dependent on the various factors described below:


(1) Drop size. The size of the dispersed water drops is a measure of stability. The
type and severity of agitation generally deter*nes the drop size. The more shearing
action that is applied to the oil-water mixture, the more the water will be divided
into smaller drops and the more stable the emulsion becomes. Stable emulsions have
been found to contain all sizes of droplets, but the percentage of larger droplets is
very small. (See Figs. 5-1 and 5-2.)
( 2 ) Type of emulsifier. The type of emulsifying agent will drastically affect the
stability of an emulsion. There is a considerable difference in the power of different
agents. Their activity is generally related to two general functions- speed of
migration to the interface, and performance at that site. When the water and oil first
mix, the emulsifying agent may be evenly distributed throughout the oil. At this
time, the emulsion may be relatively unstable. With time, the agent migrates to the
oil-water interface due to its surface-active characteristics. This migration, with
127

time, produces a thicker and tougher film surrounding the droplet, resulting in an
emulsion that is more difficult to break than the fresh one.
( 3 ) Water content. The amount of water present in the regular emulsion and
available at the time agitation takes place is directly related to the emulsion’s
stability. Generally, as the water content increases, the stability of the emulsion
decreases. Water content above 50% tends to encourage the formation of water as
an external phase; thus, on dilution with water, the emulsion may invert and the
water then becomes the continuous phase.
(4) Viscosity. The viscosity of the external or oil phase plays a dual role. In an oil
having a high viscosity (high resistance to flow), a given amount of agitation will not
break up the water phase into droplets as numerous or fine as would be the case
with a lower-viscosity oil. On the other hand, the high-viscosity oil is able to
maintain larger drops of dispersed water in suspension and smaller dispersed
droplets will have an even greater resistance to settling. Thicker crudes also retard
the movement of emulsifier particles to the interface. In general, it can be said that
higher-viscosity (lower-API gravity) crudes form less stable emulsions in terms of
many small water drops, but this is more than offset by the difficulty of resolving
what is formed and promoting water separation.
(5) Solids. Emulsions can be stabilized by the presence of solids. Many of the
same assumptions discussed for the emulsifying agent will apply. In the case of
solids, the size of the water droplet will depend on the emulsifying solid.
( 6 ) Efectrical charge. The existence of electrical charges on the water globules can
cause the globules to be mutually repelling. At the time the globules are dispersed in
the continuous phase, they acquire an electrical charge which is located at the
interfacial boundary of the oil and water. The droplets of the dispersed phase are
surrounded by a film which possesses a charge, usually negative, the effect of which
extends outward into both phases. The repelling action of like charges prevents the
droplets from approaching each other close enough to allow coalescence.
(7) Surface tension. Surface tension of an emulsion system refers to the surface
tension of the continuous phase-dispersed phase boundary surface and is called
interfacial tension. The absorption of substances (emulsifying agents) at this
boundary surface is important in changing the surface tension between the two
phases. Emulsification is brought about by the emulsifying agents, which lower the
interfacial tension between the two phases, so that they will remain dispersed. When
the concentration of absorbed materials is sufficiently high, it may lead to the
formation of a tough membrane, which increases the emulsion stability. At the
interface and between the phases of an emulsion, therefore, two forces are at work:
(a) Interfacial tension, which tends to cause coalescence or dispersion; and
(b) coherence of the film of emulsion of emulsifying agent around the dispersed
phase, which tends to resist coalescence.
If the coherence of an agent is so great that the surface tension cannot overcome
it, the emulsion is stable.
(8) Film strength. The presence of some foreign materials in an emulsion
128

Fig. 5-1. Tight emulsion with small dispersed droplets which have considerable resistance to settling (a
tight emulsion is usually a stable emulsion).

Fig. 5-2. Loose emulsion with larger dispersed droplets (a loose emulsion is less stable than tight
emulsion because the large dispersed droplets tend to settle easily).

increases the strength of the film surrounding a drop of water. The smaller droplets
are harder to rupture than the larger ones. The film strength of a drop of water,
therefore, varies not only with drop size, but with impurities. To break the film, it is
necessary to introduce chemical action and/or to apply heat to rupture this film.
(9) Density. Another factor that affects emulsion stability and settling time is the
relative density of the oil and water. As this difference becomes greater, the action
between droplets is increased and more rapid settling is promoted.
(10) Aging. As discussed earlier, the naturally occurring emulsifiers in crude oil
are initially dispersed throughout the oil, and after mixing with water, tend to go to
the interface. It is this action that causes crudes to “age” and become more difficult
to treat with time. Inasmuch as the lower-API gravity crudes are thicker, this action
is slower as is the aging process. Normally, the higher the API gravity, the more
rapid the aging process.

CRUDE OIL PRODUCTION

Crude oils differ in characteristics according to their geological age, chemical


constitution, and associated impurities. Consequently, crude oil emulsions are
stabilized by a variety of materials, depending upon the origin of the crude. It is not
necessary to determine the exact character of the emulsifying agent to resolve the
emulsion by the use of chemical demulsifiers.
The waters associated with crude oils likewise vary widely in characteristics.
Some have densities greater than 1.20, whereas others are essentially non-saline.
129

Fig. 5-3. Treating plant with gas separator, gun barrel, and stock tanks.

Ions present usually include Na+, Ca2+, Mg”, C1-, HCO; , SO:-, and sometimes
Ba2+.
Oil-bearing formations commonly contain in addition to petroleum, varying
proportions of water and natural gas. Inasmuch as crude oil usually contains
sufficient emulsifying agents to stabilize an emulsion, it is only necessary that the
well produces some water as well as oil and that sufficient agitation be available to
accomplish the required mixing. The agitation arising from the turbulent flow of the
oil and the water through the well casing, tubing, and surface equipment is usually
sufficient to give rise to emulsification.

Gas v e n t

Fro w line
LHeofer fue/line

Chemicol Gas Heater Conductor Settling Storoge tank


feeder +ank

Fig. 5-4. Diagram of typical flowline treatment system. Many variations of this basic design are possible;
all elements shown here may not be required in all installations. Heavy line shows flow of chemicalized
liquids. (Courtesy of Dr. Louis T. Monson.)
130

The pipeline and other transportation companies, as common carriers, have


long-established specifications for crude oil which preclude the introduction into
their lines or systems of any lot of oil that contains more than a predetermined
(small) maximum percentage of water and emulsion. The permissible maximum is
determined in part by the ease or difficulty with which the emulsions can be
commercially resolved, but in general it is less than 3% and in most cases it is less
than 1%. High-API gravity crudes often have a 0.1 or 0.2% maximum allowable
water content. Consequently, crude oil is required to be “treated”, usually at or near
the point of production, to resolve any emulsion present and to remove the water
which is separated in the process. (See Figs. 5-3 and 5-4.)
A diagram of a typical flowline treatment system is shown in Fig. 5-4.

REDUCED-TEMPERATURE TREATING

In the past, the energy required to heat crude oil was supplied by products
produced on the lease or of such a low cost that no significant importance was given
to them by many companies. There was also an abundance of crude and the losses
incurred were not considered significant. Reducing the heat required is not novel
and this has been done for many years. The increased cost of fuel, crude oil prices,
and economics of operation have renewed interest in treating the crude oil in the
field at lower temperatures. The amount of heat required to treat a given crude will
depend on gravity, viscosity, pour point, equipment, time, and chemical used.
Heating of crude oil influences the treating process in several ways:
(1) It makes the oil thinner and, therefore, water droplets are able to fall faster.
(2) It increases the difference in the specific weight between water and oil,
causing the water droplets to fall faster.
(3) It melts and solubilizes solids such as paraffin, which may be acting to
stabilize the emulsion, thereby removing them from the interface.
(4) It improves the mobility of demulsifier and water droplets, thus improving
the rate of emulsion breaking.
From this it can be seen that if the treating temperature is reduced, it may be
necessary to increase the time, agitation, and/or chemical concentration.
The use of heat in treating contributes several advantages but at a loss of profits
due to unnecessary costs. Those costs are reflected in: (1) the amount of fuel used
for heating, (2) lower volume of produced oil, (3) lower gravity of produced oil, and
(4) equipment failure.
In the past, fuel for heating was provided by the produced gas, with little or no
value being placed on it. Today, with a market for everything produced, the heater
fuel has a definite value. For example, with certain assumptions listed below, this
value can be calculated.
Assumptions:
Fuel gas value = $2.00/Mcf
150 Btu/bbl oil/OF
131

300 Btu/bbl water/"F


30% water-cut emulsion
50% heating efficiency
1100 Btu gas
60°F temperature rise
Then the cost of fuel gas would be $6.08 per 100 bbl of treated oil. As oil is
heated, vapor pressure increases and light ends evaporate, thus reducing volume and
API gravity. The percentage loss is quite variable and subject to such influences as
crude gravity and composition, temperature change, treater pressure, heat exchange
efficiency, time, and other factors. Field evaluation of three leases producing
broadly differing gravity crudes showed the following: With 60°F temperature rise
and 25 psig treater pressure, volume of saleable oil was reduced by an average of
2.9%. At a value of $31.00/bbl, this results in a loss of $89.90/100 bbl. At
$2.00/Mcf, the value of the increased gas produced at the higher temperature
averaged $8.71/100 bbl. This yields a net loss of $81.19/100 bbl as a result of
volume loss at the hgher temperature.
Loss of light ends results in a decrease in gravity. Inasmuch as much crude is sold
on a sliding scale with the posted price decreasing as the gravity decreases, the profit
loss may be appreciable. A 2.9% volume loss on a 30" API crude oil exhibits a
gravity loss of 1.3" API. At a $0.02 penalty per 1.0" API gravity drop, this amounts
to a profit loss of $2.60/100 bbl.
Increased heat results in increased scaling and more frequent burnout of fire
tubes. While this constitutes a definite operating expense or potential profit loss, it
will fluctuate so broadly that no attempt will be made here to affix a dollar value.
Costs attributable to heat in the above examples total $89.87/100 bbl plus
equipment maintenance costs.
Experience shows that with most oilfield emulsions, some if not all of the added
heat can be replaced by a chemical. The increase in the amount of chemical
necessary to add will fluctuate considerably depending on the crude oil and the
temperature range involved. Relating to the previously used example, a 60" heat
reduction from 140°F to 80°F required three times as much chemical, which was an
increase from two quarts per 100 bbl at 140°F to six quarts per 100 bbl at 80"F, or
an increase of 1.0 gal. At a typical cost of $8.00/gal for chemical, the increased cost
would be $8.00/100 bbl. Compared to the previously calculated heat cost of $89.87,
the net saving by reducing heat would be $81.87/100 bbl.
Reducing heat can be a good way to sell more oil and increase profits. As a
practical approach to reducing heat, it is recommended that this be done 20°F at a
time. This allows for adjustments as needed to prevent possible accumulations of
"bad" oil.

CHEMICAL RESOLUTION PROCESS

The problem of resolving water-in-oil emulsions has been approached in a


number of ways over the years. Today, however, the chemical demulsification
132

process is by far the most widely used in the oil industry. It was pioneered by
William S. Barnickel, a pharmaceutical chemist from St. Louis, Minnesota (U.S.A.),
who discovered that mixing a minute proportion of a properly selected chemical
composition with a petroleum emulsion, under suitable operating conditions, would
cause the water to separate.
The scientific basis for the resolution phenomenon is not yet well defined. This is
not totally unexpected, if one recalls all the possible combinations arising from the
variations in crude oil composition, aqueous phase composition, phase/volume
ratio of the two liquids in any emulsion, and the occasional presence of such other
materials as fine silt and various formation particles. It can easily be shown that
tens of thousands of different emulsion systems could be produced from crude oils
and oil field waters.
Some chemical demulsifiers, such as the early soap reagents, are water-soluble or
water-dispersible, whereas others are oil-soluble or oil-dispersible. Some chemicals
are both water- and oil-dispersible, whereas others are apparently not soluble or
dispersible in any appreciable concentration in either the aqueous or oily media.
They may be anionic, cationic, or nonionic depending on the type of emulsion to be
resolved. Inorganic reagents are rarely used today in W/O “regular” emulsions, but
are still commonly used in O/W “reverse” emulsions.
Before one can determine which class of reagent is most effective in a particular
application, the formation from which the emulsion was produced, conditions of
production, and many other facts must be known. As a consequence, reagent
selection is ordinarily accomplished by actual demulsification tests on a representa-
tive sample of the emulsion.
Because of the variability of petroleum emulsions, the manufacturers supplying
reagents for their resolution commonly make many different commercial formula-
tions, a number of which may be in use in a single oil field at any one time.
Obsolescence rates are high and a reagent of one type may be succeeded by another
having entirely different composition and properties, at a particular location.
All these facts have not simplified the problem of evolving a theory which will
satisfactorily explain observed field results. The highly specific nature of the
chemical reagents used today to resolve petroleum emulsions suggests that the
mechanism of the resolution process is quite complex, and that it cannot be
explained by any simple theory.

Action of demulsifiers

Strangely enough, demulsifiers are very similar in nature to emulsifiers. The


action is all at the oil-water interface and, therefore, the faster the demulsifier gets
there, the better job it can do. After it reaches the interface, it works by flocculation,
coalescence, and solids wetting, as described below. For oil-in-water emulsions, the
actions of oil-in-water demulsifiers are very similar.
(1) Flocculation. The first action of the demulsifier on the emulsion involves a
joining together or flocculation of the small water drops. When magnified, the
133

flocks take on the appearance of bunches of fish eggs. If the emulsifier film
surrounding the water drop is very weak, it will break under this flocculation force
and coalescence will take place without further chemical action. In most cases,
however, the film remains intact and, therefore, additional treatment is required.
Good flocculation is characterized by bright oil.
(2) Coalescence. The rupturing of the emulsifier film and the uniting of water
droplets is defined as coalescence. Once this process of coalescence begins, the water
droplets grow large enough to settle out. Good coalescence is characterized by a
good water drop.
(3) Solids wetting. In most crude oils, solids such as iron sulfide, silt, clay,
drilling mud solids, paraffin, etc., complicate the demulsification process. Often
such solids are the primary stabilizing material and their removal is all that is
necessary to acheve satisfactory treatment. For removal from the interface, these
solids can be dispersed in the oil or water-wetted and removed with the water.

OPERATING PROCEDURES

Chemical injection

The purpose of the chemical injection is to introduce a chemical into the


wellstream so that it will neutralize the foreign materials acting as emulsifying
agents and permit the separation of water.
In order to get the most out of chemical injections, the actual location of the
injection point must be properly chosen. It should be located at a point far enough
upstream from the treating equipment to allow adequate mixing. A good point is at
the wellhead (Fig. 5-5) or the location of some other restriction such as a choke or
header. There should be sufficient turbulence, mixing, and time for the chemical to
exert its influence on the emulsion before entering any other equipment.
To effectively use the large number of different demulsifier formulations requires
a proficient method for selecting the proper compound for a given emulsion and
system.

Agitation

Sufficient agitation must be applied to the crude oil after the introduction of
chemical. Additional hard agitation may or may not be beneficial. Increase in the
amount of gentle agitation, such as in flow lines and settling tanks, is beneficial in
promoting coalescence. Reemulsification may occur if severe agitation is given to an
emulsion once it has broken into water and oil. This reemulsification may occur in
gas separators, pumps, or any other location in the system that produces severe
agitation once the emulsion has broken.
134

Heating

Many plants use heat in the treating process because it provides an aid to mixing,
coalescing, and settling. Heat aids the treatment in the following three ways: (1)
reduces the viscosity of the oil; (2) weakens or ruptures the film between the oil and
water drops by expanding the water; and (3) alters the difference in gravity of the
fluids and thereby tends to reduce the settling time.
In effect, heat accelerates the treating process and is used primarily to reduce the
size of the treating vessel. It must be remembered, however, that heat vaporizes the
light ends of the oil. Unless some means is taken to conserve these, a reduction in
API gravity and volume will result and it may be more beneficial to treat the crude
oil at lower temperatures.

Settling

Settling is the basic component in all treating procedures. All operations involv-
ing the use of heat, chemicals, or mechanical devices are designed to prepare the
oil-water mixture for the settling step in the chemelectric heater treater or settling
tank.
The treating vessel usually provides sufficient time for quiet settling to allow all
the water to settle. Time necessary to allow the water to settle is determined by the
difference in specific gravity between the water and oil, viscosity of the oil, and by
the size and condition of the water drops. While gentle movement will aid in
coalescence, more severe turbulence in the settling section will increase the settling
time.

Mechanical systems

Free water knockout


Many of the free water knockout systems used in the field have been designed for
specific applications. In general, free water knockouts have been used to separate
the oil and water produced from a single well or several wells. Larger units can also
be found where all the wells go into a free wqter knockout after the manifold. In
either case, their function is to remove the excessive volumes of free water ahead of
the treating plant. Free water knockout systems are generally used in connection
with production having a high water/oil ratio. Separation of gas may also occur in
the upper section of the knockout system.
Free water is defined as water produced with the oil that will settle out within
five minutes while the well fluids are stationary in a settling space within a vessel.
Specific application of a free water knockout system and requirements it is
expected to fulfill may vary and will have to be determined for each location. In
some areas, the amount of BSW leaving the knockout system is unimportant as long
as the treating plant is operating effectively. Other fields may have requirements of
20%or even as low as pipeline oil. Chemical injection may be applied before, after,
135

or both ahead and behind of the free water knockout system. Generally, it is ahead
of the knockout system in order to assist in the removal of the water.

Gas separator
Horizontal and vertical gas separators provide tremendous agitation potential.
The evolution of the gas in itself creates the turbulence and agitation which may be
even greater, depending upon the separator design. Without the efficient removal of
gas in these vessels, unwanted agitation will, at times, be created in downstream
treating vessels. The use of chemicals, such as silicones, will greatly aid in the
removal of gas.

Settling tanks
The rate of water drop is not too important because the chemical may continue
acting over a relatively long time. The water-oil interface will be at the bottom of
the settling tank and will not interfere with the saleability of the oil. (See Fig. 5-6.)

Gun barrels
Speed of water drop is generally not too important because gun barrels usually
have a high volume to throughput ratio. The chemical may continue acting over a
relatively long time. The interface need not be clean, but if an interface layer does
develop, it must stabilize at some acceptable thickness. An interface layer in a gun
barrel sometimes helps to treat in that it acts as a filter for solids and unresolved

Fig. 5-5. Flowing well with wellhead connections, which are referred to as a “Christmas tree”.
136

emulsion. Fresh oil containing demulsifier passing up through this interface layer
helps treat it out and prevents an excessive buildup.

Vertical heater treater


Inasmuch as volume to throughput ratio in a vertical heater treater is generally
lower than in a gun barrel, speed of chemical action becomes more important. With
this higher throughput, it is harder to stabilize an interface layer, so more complete
treatment is necessary in a shorter time. Solids control may be important in
controlling the interface.

Horizontal heater treater


Horizontal heater treaters normally have a high throughput, so chemical action
must be fast. The large interface area and shallow fluid depth require that the
interface be maintained fairly clean. This type of treater can tolerate only very little
interface accumulation. The higher the throughput, the less this can be tolerated
and, therefore, the more complete the chemical treatment must be. Inasmuch as
solids tend to collect at the interface, the chemical must also control any solids
which might be present.

Electrical dehydration
Inasmuch as chemelectric treaters are horizontal vessels, the same general actions
are required for them as for horizontal treaters. The chemical must break the
emulsion rapidly and completely. The electric field promotes excellent water coales-
cence, so the chemical need not provide this. The electric field tends to throw down
solids in the oil. These solids then accumulate at the interface, build up into the
electrical field, and being conductive, short it out. Chemelectric treaters, therefore,
require a chemical to effectively water wet any solids which are present.

RESOLUTION OF OIL-IN-WATER EMULSIONS

Oil-in-water emulsions, although not so commonly or widely encountered in


oil-producing operations as the water-in-oil type, are receiving increasing attention,
particularly because of the growing interest of governmental authorities in pollution
prevention. Although such emulsions commonly contain less than 1% oil and
frequently contain less than 1000 ppm of oil, they are unacceptable to disposal
systems at such levels. Maximum permissible oil content is usually on the order of
25 ppm or even less. The oil producer must, therefore, be prepared to clean his
waste water of oil before disposing of it. Thus, it behooves him to become familiar
with the characteristics of oil-in-water emulsions.
Oil-in-water emulsions are readily miscible with water. They are thereby dis-
tinguishable from the more common water-in-oil type crude oil emulsions, which are
miscible with oil. The O/W emulsions are usually more fluid than W/O emulsions.
137

Chemical demulsifiers have been developed which are extremely effective in


recovering the oil dispersed in such emulsions. This is accomplished without the
production of undesirable residues or flocs, which would themselves present dis-
posal problems. Oil-in-water demulsifiers, which ordinarily have different composi-
tions than water-in-oil demulsifiers, are usually effective in proportions much
smaller than those required to resolve conventional water-in-oil type petroleum
emulsions. This reduces the cost of resolving oil-in-water emulsions and allows the
producer to sell the recovered oil.
For optimum results, the ratio of demulsifier to water-in-oil emulsion may be of
the order of 1: 10,000-1 : 50,000, whereas the ratio of demulsifier to an oil-in-water
emulsion is more likely to be of the order of 1:40,000-1 : 200,000.
The procedure for demulsifying oil-in-water emulsions is substantially similar to
that described for water-in-oil emulsions: (1) The demulsifier is added to the
emulsion in the required proportion; (2) the chemicalized emulsion is agitated to
promote coalescence of the oil particles; and (3) quiescent settling is thereafter
provided in a suitable facility to achieve separation of the oil and water, which may
be aided by air-gas flotation. Froth flotation procedures may be helpful in
accelerating separation of the oil particles.
It is important to note that, in contrast to the experience with water-in-oil
emulsions, use of an excess of oil-in-water demulsifier is sometimes very disadvanta-
geous. An appreciable excess of reagent may produce an oil-in-water emulsion
which is at least as stable and undesirable as the emulsion originally subjected to
treatment. Ordinarily, however, an acceptably wide range of reagent concentrations
will be found to produce satisfactory resolution of the emulsion, before “overtreat-
ment” becomes apparent.
Heat is rarely useful in resolving oil-in-water emulsions chemically.

TROUBLE SHOOTING

When chemical, agitation, heat, time, and, in some cases, electricity are used to
produce good treatment, they are in balance with each other. If one of these
variables is changed, therefore, another one must normally be changed in order to
regain the most economical balance. For example, as treating temperatures are
reduced, it is usually necessary to increase the amount of chemical or time. Often
treating problems which develop are a result of some malfunction in the mechanical
system.

Chemical injection

If a system is not functioning properly, the first thing that must be done is to
check to make sure that the correct amount of chemical is getting into the system.
Even though a chemical injector is running properly, it may not be injecting
properly. Filter screens can become plugged, pumps can become gas locked, balls
and seats may be worn, and check valves may be leaking.
138

Check the location of the chemical pump. Chemical should be injected at a


mixing point and relocation of the pump may solve the problem.
Changing conditions of the wellstream may necessitate a change in the chemical
used. Before bottle testing is done, however, the various problems possible in the
system should be checked.

Gas separators

Gas separators can be plagued by solids buildup, especially if the solids content
is high. This may be particularly true if the demulsifier is injected prior to the
separator, resulting in release of solids from the emulsion. A suitable demulsifier
will break the foam and release the gas, but if excessive foam is the problem and the
chemical does not readily break the emulsion and release the gas at this point, it is
possible for foam to build up and carry emulsion out the gas outlet. Ineffective gas
removal in the separator can cause some rolling of fluids in vessels at atmospheric
pressure or in pressure vessels where operating pressures are exceeded.
Injection of 1-5 ppm of a silicone prior to the gas separator (Fig. 5-7) may be
beneficial to proper separator performance. Unless the silicone is an emulsion type,
normally a 2%solution is made in diesel or other solvent and then injected into the
well fluids.

Fig. 5-6. Beam pumping unit with settling tanks at ambient temperature.
139

Fig. 5-7. Flowline header with chemical injection and vertical gas separator.

Free water knockout

If the demulsifier is sensitive to excessive agitation, it may not have sufficient


quiet time to release the water. When the water leg carries free oil, it may be caused
by the demulsifier either being too slow or developing a poor interface.
An associated problem concerning a water-dump valve is a vortex reaching up
into the interface, causing an oily effluent water even if the interface is clear. This
can be eliminated by the installation of a vortex breaker, installed over the interior
of the outlet.
Poorly operating interface level controllers can upset the interface level and cause
a loss of water resulting in oil being dumped out. There is also a problem of
improperly positioned inlet splash baffles within the vessel and this can cause
problems regardless of the chemical. A lack of quiet time caused by an increase in
production can also cause excessive water carry-over with the oil.

Flow splitters

When flow splitters are provided with coalescing and knockout sections, exces-
sive agitation can be detrimental, resulting in water carry-over. Corrosion of the
weir boxes will also result in excessive water carry-over.
Any part of the system where a pressure drop across a water outlet line occurs is
susceptible to scaling, depending on the mineral content of the water. Such scaling
can cause the control valve to either block open or shut.
140

Heat exchangers

Heat exchangers are often the culprit in faulty treating systems. Holes between
the incoming wet stream and outgoing dry stream permit commingling of the two
and, regardless of what is tried, oil going to stock will be dirty. Injecting water-solu-
ble dye into the incoming stream will result in the rapid appearance of dye in the
clean oil line if there is communication.
Another method is to get a sample of oil from the top sight glass of the vessel and
compare its grindout to a sample obtained from the dump valve. Should the oil
from the sight glass be cleaner, it is quite possible that there is a hole in the heat
exchanger.
The same result would show up if there were a leak in the top plate of the treater
which separates the gas section, or a hole in the upper part of the incoming line.

Gun barrels

Leaks in internal conductors can contaminate the treated oil, whereas external
conductors will not present this problem. Spreader variations can also cause
problems. A cone-type spreader,,similar to an inverted funnel, causes very irregular
spreading and may not provide a suitable coalescing water wash. Improper distribu-
tion can also cause turbulence and rolling. Almost all gun barrels are at atmospheric
pressure, which can supplement the effects of rolling. Heating elements, if placed in
the water, will provide satisfactory heating action. If by chance the heating elements
are also in the oil phase, convection currents or rolling will prevent treatment and
result in unsaleable oil. Corroded steam coils can cause turbulence and steam
cutting of the oil.

Heater treaters

If the desired treating temperature cannot be maintained:


(1) Check the thermometers and thermostat. Make sure of the proper combus-
tion mixture.
(2) When the treater is constantly firing, determine the amount of oil-water
throughput and the fire box rating. Normally, 150 Btu’s are required for raising 1
bbl of oil 1°F and 300 Btu’s are required if it is water. By calculation it can be
determined if the heater treater is overloaded.
(3) If the treater is overloaded due to an excessive amount of water, the use of a
free water knockout and/or demulsifier that exhibits a faster water drop may allow
the treater to operate properly.
(4) If the treater is not overloaded, an inspection for fouling of the fire tube and
sand on the bottom of the treater is required.
If the pilot light will not stay lit:
(1) Check to insure the pilot gas is dry.
(2) Check the air-gas mixture for a blue flame.
141

If the interface is continually increasing in height:


(1) Check for proper operation of the water discharge valve.
(2) Check the lines and valves for salt or scale deposits.
(3) Check bottom of treater for a blockage that will reduce the flow of water.
If the interface is decreasing in height:
(1) If the oil level is above the oil outlet, check for a loss of pressure on the
treater and restrictions in the oil discharge line.
(2) If the oil level is below the outlet, check the temperature and chemical
injection.
Other possible problems that will cause improper treatment are:
(1) Foaming of the oil caused by the release of entrapped gas. This can be
corrected by preheating the oil or the use of silicones.
(2) Channeling in the filter section which will require repacking.
(3) Unlevel or corroded spreader plates.
(4) Solids or scale buildup within the treater.
( 5 ) Holes in internal piping.
When everything else has been checked and stable levels are being maintained,
but treating is still not adequate:
(1) Check for foaming oil being carried out the vent line. This will usually
indicate that emulsion in the foam is bypassing the settling section through the
equalizer line directly to the top of the oil in the settling section. This may require a
preheated coil. Severe foaming may be noticed in oil carryover in the vent line even
before poor treatment is indicated.
(2) Check filter section for channeling. Repacking may be necessary.
(3) A buildup of solids or scale may drastically reduce the residence time in the
treater. Solids buildup can usually be detected by feeling the difference in skin
temperature around the bottom. Inasmuch as solids do not transmit heat to the skin
of the vessels as readily as liquids, if cool spots are observed, a buildup is indicated.
Solids buildup may also cause channeling from under the spreader plates. Unlevel
or eaten-out spreader plates will also cause channeling.
(4) Make sure the thermometers are not faulty and that the sight glasses are not
plugged up. Either of these could lead to faulty judgements.

Chemelectric treater

Problems in a chemelectric treater are usually indicated by low voltage or the


pilot light blinking, dimming,. or going out. This is a signal transmitted from the
electrode section, which is caused by the charged (lower) electrode shorting to
ground.
The upper electrode is grounded to the vessel and any conductive material
between the electrodes can cause a short circuit. The charged electrode can also
short to the vessel or to the oil-water interface. Any accumulation of water, BSW,
iron sulfides, or similar material can result in a short circuit. The most common
cause of shorting is an interface buildup.
142

The electrical supply to the treater should be checked and examined for blown
fuses, burned out light bulbs, or tripped switch gears. If electricity is the source of
trouble and a shorting situation is indicated, the water level should be lowered
gradually. If the condition was caused by an interface buildup, then lowering the
water level would lower the interface and treater conditions should return to
normal, i.e., voltage will increase, amperage will decrease, and the light will become
bright and steady. Increasing temperature or slugging the system with a proper
chemical should clear up the buildup in the treater, but more than likely, some basic
change in treating will be required to prevent frequent recurrence of this situation.
If this procedure does not disclose the source of the trouble, further investigation
will involve closer inspection of the transformer and testing of electrical circuit to
pinpoint shorting conditions caused at entrance bushings, electrode, the insulated
hangers, or the safety float switch.

Produced fluids

Significant changes in emulsion characteristics occur rather infrequently and then


usually slowly over a long period of time. Slow changes in treating, however, may
also be the result of some slowly developing problem downhole or in the treating
plant. Rapid changes in the emulsion may occur following the introduction of a new
well, well workover, etc. Such changes may be temporary or permanent. Occasion-
ally, an acid job may leave a quantity of acid trapped in the formation. ,Such
trapped materials may break out weeks or even months later and cause temporary
treating upsets.
Frequently, a well will start cutting a tighter emulsion because of pump wear and
may require additional chemical. A change in the water/oil ratio may also change
the required quantity of demulsifier.

WASTE OIL TREATING SYSTEMS

There are no universal waste or slop oil treating plants, because there are no
universal slop oils or volumes of waste oil processed. The following comments,
suggestions and diagram (Fig. 5-8) are designed to aid in the selection or modifi-
cation of a waste oil treatment plant.

Treatment tanks

The size of the tank will depend on the volume of waste oil to be processed and
the time required for complete treatment. A good starting point is to allow 24 hr for
each batch treated. There should be sample valves at regular intervals on the side of
the tank in order to check the treatment. Most tanks have these sample cocks at 2-ft
intervals.
143

n
' 1#1oBBL
O0 -M
1
con
oo
'INSULAN

WASTL
oa
ACCOMULAT"

CHEMICAL

TREATMENT

Fig. 5-8. Waste oil treating facility.

If heat is to be used, the tank should be insulated. This will result in more rapid
heating, less heat loss; and more economical fuel costs.
When solids are present, there should be some method for removing them from
the tank. Solids should not be allowed to build up in the bottom of a tank, because
they will only make the next batch of waste oil harder to treat.
Cone-bottom tanks are highly recommended and preferred in handling solids-
laden waste oil. One common cone-bottom tank used in slop oil treatment has a
1000-bbl capacity., If a cone-bottom tank is not used, some method should be
provided for removing the solids from the bottom of the tank.
A swingline to remove the oil from the top can be used, if the separated
oil-solids-water are sensitive to agitation or if the interface easily redisperses into
the clean treated oil.

Heating

Heat aids demulsification and reduces the amount of processing time that is
requiied. The most desirable and safest method is to install steam coils from the
bottom to the middle of the tank. A steam generator or source of steam that is
capable of heating the oil to the desired temperature in 4-6 hr should be provided.
Heat lances, heat exchangers, gas-fired U-tubes, or circulation through an external
heater could also be used, but they are less desirable.
144

Even if the planned treatment temperature is 120-140°F, the system should be


designed so that temperatures of 180-190°F can be achieved should they ever
become necessary. A well-insulated tank will hold temperatures for a long time and
will require less heat input.

Agitation

No matter how good the chemical is, it would not work if it does not make
contact with the emulsion. Tanks can be mixed using air, steam, recirculation, or
commercial tank mixers. The effectiveness of these various methods depends on
tank size and temperature. Generally, more mixing gives better results.
The preferred method when installing new tanks or modifying older tanks is the
use of commercial tank mixers. The number of mixers required depends on the size
of the tank. Suppliers of commercial mixers can supply data and recommend the
size and number of mixers required.
If a tank is rolled with air or gas, it should be done for a period of about 3 hr at
high temperature. The size of the tank will determine the time required for mixing.
The 1000-bbl tanks are generally mixed for 3 hr and larger tanks are mixed for
longer times. The type of mixing is not important. What is important is that the
chemical is thoroughly mixed with the emulsion.

Chemical addition

Chemical (demulsifier, acid, or caustic) poured in the top of a tank with 5-gal
buckets does not promote good treatment. A chemical pump injecting chemical into
a flowline, preferably into the suction of a pump, helps mixing and demulsification.
Chemical should be added, at least, as the tank is filled. A chemical pump aids
dispersion of the chemical when batch treating, but is mandatory for continuous
systems.
When the chemical is batch treated into a tank after it is filled, the type and
amount of agitation becomes more critical than if the chemical were continuously
injected into the line that was used to fill the tank. The chemical should also be
added slowly as the tank is being mixed in order to achieve a better distribution of
the chemical.

Settling time

The amount of settling time required for a given slop oil depends on the gravity
of the crude oil and the treating temperature. Lower API gravity oil and/or lower
treating temperatures require longer settling times. Conversely, for a given oil, the
settling time can be reduced by increasing the temperature.
The settling time required to obtain treated oil can also be reduced by increasing
the amount of demulsifier that is being used or changing to a different demulsifier.
The normal settling time for most slop oils is 8-24 hr after the mixing has been
stopped. In some cases, the settling time may be as much as 48 hr.
145

Solids

When a noticeable amount of solids is present, it may be necessary to use a


wetting agent and/or caustic in addition to the demulsifier. The solids will be on the
bottom of the tank if their specific gravity is greater than water and at the oil-water
interface if their specific gravity is less than water.
If the treated oil is to be processed through the same system that generated the
slop oil, the solids must be removed in the waste-oil treating facilities and not be
permitted to re-enter the system. The waste-oil treating facilities are the best place
to remove the solids from the oil-treating system.

STOKES LAW

The separation of two immissible liquids is governed by Stokes’ law (see


Appendix 5.1), which gives the rate of fall of a small sphere through a viscous fluid.
Stokes’ law states that when this sphere is under the influence of gravity it attains a
constant velocity, which is given by the following equation:

where: g = 980 cm/sec2 (gravitational acceleration); pd = density of dispersed


phase in g/cc; pc = density of continuous phase in g/cc; pc = viscosity in poises of
continuous phase at settling temperature; r = radius of dispersed phase droplets in
cm; and u = rate of fall of dispersed phase in cm/s (or rate of rise if negative).
Examination of eq. 5-1 shows that the following three factors influence the rate
of fall of the water droplets in a water-in-oil system.
(1) As the viscosity of the continuous phase (oil) increases, the rate of fall
decreases. Temperature will also have an effect on the viscosity. As the temperature
increases, the viscosity decreases.
(2) As the difference in density of the dispersed phase (water) and the continu-
ous phase (oil) becomes greater, the rate of fall of the water drop increases.
(3) The radius of the dispersed phase (water) has the greatest influence, because
it is not only squared but can be increased considerably by coalescence. As the size
of the water drop increases, the rate of fall increases. Initially, in petroleum
emulsions the size of dispersed phase droplets is in the 3-10 pm range.
In addition to Stokes’ law, there are four other factors discussed below that will
aid in coalescence, thus allowing more rapid treatment:
(1) Stokes’ law applies to static systems, whereas oil field treaters contain
horizontal and/or vertical movement. It is this movement that encourages coales-
cence of water droplets yielding greater settling rates.
(2) The use of a water leg in treaters not only removes free water, but also aids in
coalescence and increasing size of water drops.
146

(3) As the temperature is lowered, the viscosity increases and, thus, velocity of
water droplets decreases. As these water droplets fall, however, more effective
sweeping and coalescence may occur yielding larger drop size.
(4) The use of increased amount of chemical or using a different chemical may
give rise to more interaction between the emulsion droplets and, thus, improve
coalescence.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS

(1) Describe the action of an emulsifying agent.


(2) Describe Bancroft’s rule.
(3) What relationship exists between the viscosity of an emulsion and the volume
of the inner phase?
(4) What is the function of a conductor (boot)?
(5) Describe the heat factor in treating the heavier crude oil emulsions.
( 6 ) What effect do fine solids have on emulsions?
(7) Derive Stokes’ law equation.
(8) Explain how the law derived in (7) may be used to help in breaking
emulsions.
(9) Name a few chemicals that can break emulsions.
(10) Plot a schematic diagram of temperature versus density for oil and water.
Compare.
(11) If viscosity of emulsion (O/W) at 70°F is 3200 cP, estimate its value at
170°F.

APPENDIX 5.1-DERIVATION OF STOKES LAW EQUATION

For Reynolds number, NR, below about 0.4, the drag coefficient, C,, for a
sphere is equal to 24/NR. Thus, for a laminar or viscous flow the drag force in lb is
equal to:

(5.1-1)

where p is mass per unit volume in slugs/cu ft, u is velocity in ft/s, d is diameter of
sphere in ft, A is the largest projected area in sq ft, and p is viscosity in lb-s/sq f t
(or slug/ft-s).
Inasmuch as the buoyant force, B, and drag force, D, are acting in upward
direction, whereas the weight, W , in lb is acting down:
B+D= W ( 5 .I-2)

1 poise = 2.089X10-3Ib-s/sq ft.


147

or

(5.1-3)

where y is specific weight in lb/cu ft ( y = p g ) ; g (gravitational acceleration) =


32.174 ft/s2.
Thus:

( 5 .I-4)

and

(5 .I-5)

REFERENCES

Abraham, H., 1960.Asphalt and Allied Substances. Vol. 1. Van Nostrand, New York, N.Y., 6th ed., p. 52.
American Petroleum Institute, 1975. Primer of Oil and Gar Production. Dallas, Tex.
Bansbach, P.L. and Bessler, D.U., 1975.Cold Treating of Oil Field Southwestern Petroleum Short Course.
Texas Tech. University.
Barnickel, W.S., 1914. U.S. Patent No. 1,093,098.
Bessler, D.U., 1980. Treating Emulsions from Enhanced Oil Recovery Projects. Chemical Marketing and
Economics, A.C.S. Meet., 179,Houston, Tex., March 26,1980,pp. 201-208.
Chilingar, G.V. and Beeson, C.M., 1969. Surface Operations in Petroleum Production. Elsevier, New York,
N.Y., 397 pp.
Clayton, W., 1954. The Theory of Emulsions and Their Technical Treatment. Chemical Publishing Co.,
New York, N.Y., 5th ed., 699 pp.
DeGroote, M., 1926-1964.U.S. Patents Nos. 1,590,617through 3,148,154(total 546).
Dodd, H.V., 1923.The resolution of petroleum emulsions. Chem. Met. Eng., 28: 249-253.
Dow, D.B. and Reistle Jr., C.E., 1925.The physical chemistry of oil-field emulsions. U.S. Bur. Mines,
Rep. Invest., 2692: 14 pp.
Gunvitsch, L., 1935. The Scientific Principles of Petroleum Technology. Van Nostrand, New York, N.Y.,
572 pp.
Monson, L.T. and Stenzel, R.W., 1946. The technology of resolving petroleum emulsions. In: J.
Alexander (Editor), Colloid Chemistry, Vol. 6. Reinhold, New York, N.Y., pp. 535-552.
Nellensteyn, F.J., 1938.The colloidal structure of bitumens. In: A.E. Dunstan (Editor), The Science of
Petroleum. Vols. 1-4. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, pp. 2760-2763.
Petroleum Extension Service, 1962.Treating Oil Field Emulsions. 2d ed., rev. University of Texas, Austin,
Tex., 86 pp.
Traxler, R.N. and Coombs, C.E., 1938.Structure in asphalt. Znd. Eng. Chem., 30:440-443.
Williams, A.R., 1953.A wash tank design. World Oil, 137: 203-213, 278-284.
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149

Chapter 6

VAPOR RECOVERY

VAREC ',G.V. CHILINGARIAN and S . KUMAR


INTRODUCTION

The first step towards energy conservation is probably taken in the oil and gas
producing field itself in the form of vapor loss prevention. A properly designed and
installed vapor recovery system is very effective in preventing all kinds of vapor loss.
In addition, it reduces fire and corrosion hazards, pollution, and. associated prob-
lems.
At the very outset, it is important to establish some clear-cut concepts about
vapor recovery. Some operators consider a vapor recovery system to be a storage
tank with a gas-tight roof; equipped with pressure apd vacuum relief valves. This
kind of system is not a recovery system, but merely a primitive means of preventing
some vapor loss under certain conditions, such as when no pumping operations are
taking place and when no temperature change in the vapor space is occurring. A
true vapor recovery system collects the vapors from the storage tanks at all times
under all conditions.

EVAPORATION LOSS

Evaporation loss is common when a volatile product is stored in any conven-


tional oil tank (cone or dome-shaped roof structure). There are essentially three
types of evaporation losses: breathing loss, filling loss, and boiling loss.

Breathing loss

Breathing loss refers to the daily evaporation loss due to the normal cycle of
atmospheric temperature change. During the daytime, the vapor space absorbs heat
from the sun causing the air-vapor mixture to expand, and the temperature of the
liquid surface gradually rises, increasing evaporation of the liquid. This causes some
air and vapor to be vented to the atmosphere. During the late afternoon, the venting
gradually decreases.
At night, heat is radiated from the vapor space through the tank shell and roof.
This results in condensation, creating a partial vacuum which draws in air through

Permission was granted to reproduce portions of Varec, Inc. Handbook and Catalog.
150

the vent. Warm air rising in the center of the tank creates convection currents until
air and vapor become stabilized.
In the early morning, when the vapor space becomes uniform in temperature and
hydrocarbon content, conditions are nearly static. In late morning, the heating and
venting cycle begins anew.

Filling loss

As liquid is withdrawn from a tank, the vapor space is filled by vapors


evaporating from the surface of the remaining liquid. When the tank is refilled, a
volume of air-vapor mixture is displaced, equal to that of the incoming liquid. The
excess vented to the atmosphere is the filling loss.

Boiling loss

Boiling occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point and the process of
vaporization takes place. This may occur along the shell on the sunny side of the
tank. Boiling causes excessive evaporation losses, but fortunately is not commonly
encountered in lease tank batteries.

EVAPORATION CONTROL

Conservation by evaporation control may be defined as any control of product


evaporation, which results in the reduction or complete elimination of stored
product loss to the atmosphere (Varec Division, Emerson Electric Co., 1970).
It is quite difficult to quantitatively estimate evaporation losses and vent valve
requirements, because of the numerous variables that govern these relationships, i.e.,
vapor space volume, vapor pressure of product, vapor pressure change with temper-
ature change, rate of temperature change, etc. Data has been gathered, however, by
various researchers, which enables an engineer to make close estimates.
According to Varec (1976), methods of conservation vary in accordance with the
degree of evaporation loss control desired as determined by consideration of
economics which may be affected, plant safety, and the requirements of law. On
low-pressure fixed roof tanks, conservation vent valves reduce evaporation losses by
limiting the amount of air admitted to, or vapors released from, the vapor space. If
vent valve settings and the tank are capable of maintaining pressures equal to or in
excess of vapor pressure, vaporization will take place until the partial pressure of
product vapors in the vapor space is equal to product vapor pressure at the
prevailing liquid surface temperature. Any change of conditions, such as an increase
or decrease of vapor space volume, and a corresponding increase or decrease of
pressure in the vapor space, change of temperature in the vapor space, or change of
product vapor pressure due to temperature change may result in loss of equilibrium.
Thus, unless the tank is capable of withstanding the resulting increase or decrease in
pressure, vapors must be released or air admitted to prevent structural damage.
151

Fig. 6-1.System of manifolded tanks. (Courtesy of Varec Division, Emerson Electric Co., 1976.)

A system of manifolded tanks, such as shown in Fig. 6-1, is commonly referred to


as a vapor balancing system. This is a somewhat more efficient method of conserva-
tion, especially where operations can be arranged so that when one tank in the
system is being filled, at the same time and at the same rate another one is being
emptied. Theoretically, assuming no temperature change in the product or its
vapors, vapors are transferred from one tank to another without loss. Actually,
appreciable vapor losses through the vents will occur due to: (1) unequal pumping
rates; (2) vapor space temperature changes; and (3) the probable increased rate of
product vaporization in the tank being filled, due to agitation and product tempera-
ture increase from heat added by line friction and other outside sources.
Any one of the aforementioned methods of conservation is effective in reducing
evaporation losses. A third method, which completely eliminates the loss of vapors,
is known as a.vapor recovery system. A typical tank installation is shown in Fig.
6-2.Basically, this is a closed system, wherein the vapor space pressure of individual
tanks (or a group of manifolded tanks) is very closely regulated at some pressure
well within the range of vent valve pressure and vacuum settings. In addition to the
necessary control equipment, a complete system requires a means of pumping off
excess vapors (which may be processed or stored as a supply for repressuring) and a
source of makeup gas for repressuring. Excellent results have been reported from all
installations where large volumes of high vapor-pressure product are handled
(Varec, 1976).
152

PRESSURE IEXROS

BREATKR W V E
WITH F M ARXSTER

__ TNUtnGE
ITYFiCbL EbCH TANK 1

OF C W R E S S O R WRY GAS \
i l M E UP
IUTOMATIC DRIP TRAP

Fig. 6-2. Typical vapor recovery system. (Courtesy of Varec Division, Emerson Electric Co., 1976.)

Several tank manufacturers produce conservation type storage tanks, which


effectively reduce evaporation losses. Although there is an increasing trend toward
this type of tank, particularly in new installations of large-capacity, fixed-roof tanks
operating at pressures below 15 psig are the most common type of storage tanks. In
this category, the cone-roof tank, operating at essentially atmospheric pressure, is
the minimum accepted standard in present day practice (Varec, 1976).

FUNDAMENTALS OF THE VAPOR RECOVERY SYSTEM

Vapor recovery equipment is installed on field production and storage tanks and
on storage tanks containing crude oil and refined products at the refinery. In
general, a vapor recovery system serves five purposes:
(1) Economy-conserves valuable light components and, therefore, there is more
income from sales.
(2) Conserves oil (or product) gravity by reducing evaporation losses.
(3) Reduces fire and explosion hazards by preventing air from entering and
mixing with the vapor during out-pumping operations.
(4) Reduces internal tank corrosion by preventing the addition of oxygen to
vapor from humid air, which otherwise would be drawn into the tank.
153

( 5 ) Controls air pollution by preventing loss of vapor to the atmosphere. This is


an important function in view of the E.P.A. regulations relating to smog and
pollution control in oil field operations. The level of exposure of oil field personnel
to toxic vapors, which are invariably associated with oil and gas production, is also
reduced.
When vapor recovery equipment is installed on field production tanks, the
amount of gas which can be recovered per barrel of produced crude varies widely,
depending upon several factors. Most important are gravity, temperature of the
crude oil, and the drop in pressure which takes place following low-stage separation.
Where a pressure drop of about 20 psi or higher occurs between the low-stage
separator and the flow tanks, the volume of vapors recovered in California (U.S.A.)
fields, for example, range from less than 20 to more than 60 cu ft/bbl of produced
crude oil. In case of appreciable pressure drop, there is a high content of entrained
liquids in the vapors, making them even more valuable (Varec, 1976).
If elevated separators are operated at near atmospheric pressure, the great bulk of
recoverable vapors will be removed from the crude oil before it enters the tanks.
Because of agitation and especially if heat is used to achieve an oil-water sep-
aration, it may be worthwhile to recover the vapors even in this case.
The air content in vapors is reduced by “repressuring” the tanks with dry gas
from the absorption plant, for example, whenever required. For example, when a
tank is being pumped out and the release of vapors from the oil within is not
sufficient‘to fill the vapor space at the rate of pumping, instead of taking in air to
fill the vapor space, dry gas from the absorption plant is used. Reduction of the air
content in the tank reduces the fire hazard. The gravity of the oil is preserved as
oxidation is reduced, thus lowering the temperature of the vapors and the oil
surface. The presence of inert, dry gas slows down corrosion.
The above discussion was directed towards economics of a vapor recovery
system. The cost of the system is balanced against the profits accrued through
conservation of the light fractions and the increased value of the product due to the
preservation of product gravity. Indirect savings include reduced corrosion and fire
hazards.
It is assumed that an engineer would recommend installation of a recovery
system only after carrying out a detailed financial analysis. Generally speaking,
vapor recovery systems are viable in all cases where gas production is significant.
The factors that affect the amount of vapor that can be recovered are:
(1) Drop in pressure that occurs between the last stage of the separators and the
tank.
(2) Crude oil gravity, which is a function of various chemical and physical
properties such as vapor pressure and content of light fractions.
(3) Temperature of the crude oil. Heating for the purposes of demulsification is
included here.
154

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED

The main functions of a vapor recovery system are: (1) removing pure vapor
from the tanks during product inpumping operations and during thermal expansion
of the vapors inside the tanks, as a result of atmospheric temperature increase or
heat from the sun, etc; and (2) adding pure vapor to the tanks during product
outpumping operations and during thermal contraction of vapors inside the tanks
due to temperature reduction. This can be accomplished by various means from the
standpoint of controlling the vapors to and from the tank portion of the system.
A vapor recovery system should be automatic in operation, self-protective, and
should function without maintenance for long periods of time, even in highly
corrosive service.
The equipment required can be briefly summarized as follows:
(1) Devices to make the tanks gas-tight and spark-proof. May need self-closing,
spark-proof gauges and thief hatches.
(2) Pressure and vacuum relief vents, either in conjunction with the balance-line
header or as an integral part of the hatches. (Refer to the API Guide for Tank
Venting presented in the Appendix of this chapter.)
(3) Vacuum and pressure regulators.
(a) Regulator on vacuum line, to remove vapors.
(b) Regulator to control automatic repressuring of tank with field gas, usually
from the gas-oil separators. This will prevent air from entering tanks when vacuum
develops.
(4) Compressor to compress vapors from collecting system battery and send
them into the field low-pressure gathering system. If there are vacuum gathering
lines near the tank, compressors are not required.
Figure 6-2 shows a manifolded tank system. A pipe manifold interconnects the
tanks vapor-wise. The manifold is fitted with breather valves which serve to relieve
excessive pressure or vacuum, which may be created as a result of abnormal system
operation or malfunction of pressure-control equipment. Each breather valve in-
cludes a flame arrester for fire protection when and if the breather valve functions.
An emergency relief manhole cover is used on each tank for relieving very excessive
pressure buildup. Vapor-control regulators are provided: one to control the release
of vapor from the system when the normal operating pressure within the system
reaches a predetermined level; the other to control the addition of vapor to the
system when the normal operating vacuum within the system reaches a pre-
determined level. A manometer can be used to visually determine whether or not the
system is operating within predetermined pressure and vacuum limitations.
Control of product inpumping and outpumping operations has great effect upon
the proficiency of the vapor control system. It is desirable to limit the withdrawal of
vapors from the tank system to a minimum. The ideal operation, although impracti-
cal to expect from the operator, is to predetermine and schedule product pumping
so that vapors will be transferred between tanks within the tank system by means of
the manifold. This would involve continuous and equal rates of product inpumping
155

and outpumping. Inasmuch as this is impractical, the basic vapor system at the
tanks must be pressure balanced. The various relief valves, relief manhole covers,
and regulators must be set so that when the normal product inpumping rate causes
the vapor space pressure within the tank system to exceed a predetermined limit, the
vapors will be released through the pressure (wet gas) regulator (Fig. 6-3). Con-
versely, when the normal product outpumping rate causes a vapor space vacuum

Fig. 6-3. Typical installation of pressure (wet gas) and vacuum (dry gas) regulators. (Courtesy of Varec
Division, Emerson Electric Co., 1976).
156

within the tank system to exceed a predetermined limit, vapors will be added
through the vacuum (dry gas) regulator.
Settings of the regulators must be closer to atmospheric pressure than settings of
the breather valves and the emergency relief manhole covers.
Under normal operating conditions, the regulators must control only the flow of
vapor to and from the tank system. In the event that a slightly abnormal pressure or
vacuum increase occurs, which exceeds the capability of the regulators to control,
then the breather valves relieve the excess. In the case of a greatly abnormal increase

Fig. 6-4.Typical installation of fittings on a low-pressure, cone-roof tank. (Courtesy of Varec Division,
Emerson Electric Co., 1976.)
157

Fig. 6-5. Float-actuated gauge, powered by negator motor (controlled power). (Courtesy of Varec
Division, Emerson Electric Co., 1976.)
158

in pressure or vacuum, which the regulator and breather valves cannot handle, the
emergency manhole covers relieve the excess. Figures 6-2 and 6-3 show typical
settings for the various equipment involved in the vapor control system at the tanks.
In Fig. 6-4, a typical installation of fittings on a low-pressure, cone-roof tank is
presented. A gas-tight, float-actuated gauge, powered by a motor, is presented in
Fig. 6-5. It measures changes in liquid level as a function of float travel. The float
acts upon a counterbalanced, nongraduated, perforated tape which moves a dial
counter. Dial-counter reading minimizes the possibility of error, which was inherent
in reading devices using a graduated tape.

DESIGN OF VAPOR RECOVERY SYSTEMS

In planning the installation of a vapor recovery system, one has to consider


several factors: (1) volume of gas; ( 2 ) specific gravity of gas; ( 3 ) allowable tank
pressures (allowable pressure drop and pressure drop actually required are both
considered); (4) available vacuum for removing vapors; (5) available market or
facilities for processing surplus gas; ( 6 ) availability of gas for repressuring for a fully
closed system; and (7) type of tank installation (individual or manifold system).
In arriving at the volume and'content of the vapors, one can use recording orifice
meters to determine flow rates and the gas chromatograph test to establish their
average gasoline content. It is believed advisable to make these surveys over a
period of several days in order to offset variations in volume and composition
caused by temperature changes.
Where field vacuum lines do not exist, small compressors driven by electric
motor or gas engine, usually ranging in horsepower input from 5 to 25 hp, may be
used to supply vacuum for removing the vapors. These compressors are either air- or
liquid-cooled, with single or double cylinder, and are single-stage. Where discharge
pressures are required, two-stage equipment is employed. These small, fairly cheap
compressors, operating continuously day after day, have permitted the installation
of many systems which otherwise would not have been possible because of the
necessity for running large lines considerable distances to a field vacuum line.
To prevent any liquid, which may condense in the intake line, from being pulled
into the compressor cylinder, scrubbers are placed just ahead of the unit. Whereas
they are equipped with a bleed at the bottom so that any accumulated liquids can be
drained as often as needed, mercury high-level switches are provided as a safety
precaution. Likewise, to prevent overheating of the compressor, mercury switches
are used to shut down the motor when temperatures become too high (Varec, 1970).
To collect vent gas satisfactorily and safely, regulators (Fig. 6-5) must operate
dependably at predetermined, supersensitive pressures, frequently as low as one- or
two-tenths of an inch of water above and below atmospheric. At maximum flow,
pressure drop through the vapor line (between the tank and regulators) plus dead
weight of the vapor in the regulator control line must not exceed vent valve opening
pressure.
159

Regulators should be capable of handling the pressure and vacuum requirements


of the tanks as determined by calculations. Venting formulas [see American Petro-
leum Institute (API), 19681 or actual oil/gas ratios are guides to be used. Regulator
sizes are obviously smaller than the vent unit sizes because of the required
differences in valve design and pressure drop. As an example: the vent units may be
required to handle normal venting of 30,000 cu ft/hr of gas at 0.35-02differential
pressure drop and 20,000 cu ft/hr of inhaled air at 0.50-02differential drop. The
wet-gas regulator would be required to handle the same 30,000 cu ft/hr at from 1 to
20 in. of mercury pressure drop, and the dry-gas regulator, 20,000 cu ft/hr of
makeup gas at from 1 to 30 psi pressure drop. Thus, whatever capacities are

2.0 '-EMERGENCY RELIEF MANHOLE


A FULL FLOW OPEN
b
1.8-

1.6-
BREATHER
U 1.4 - VALVE
W
a 1.2-
3
.r' 1 1
1.0
W

3
v)
0.8-
W
v)
FULL FLOW OPEN
a 0.6- t
PRESSURE (WET
GAS) REGULATOR
0.4 - I
0.2-
+ I
ATMOSPHERIC o

I 0.21- FULL FLOW OPEN

U
l-
W
a 0.865 in. WATER :0.5 ounces/%q in.
3
.-c I.o

5 1.2 EMERGENCY RELIEF MANHOLE


U
a IBREATHER
VALVE

1.73 in. WATER = 1.00ounces Irq in.


FULL FLOW OPEN
\' 1.8

' +
PRESSURE OR VACUUM SETTING

Fig. 6-6. Pressure balance for a typical vapor recovery system. (After Hein et a].. 1969. fig. 5, p. 76.)
160

required of the regulator, are also required of the vent valve for any emergency
eventualities. After regulator requirements have been determined, capacity charts
for regulators must be consulted to select the correct size.
Size of pressure- and vacuum-relief vents must be sufficient to insure against
damage to tanks. They should have sufficient capacity to exhaust incoming dry gas
in case the repressuring regulator sticks open, and to admit air to vent the suction
line in case the wet-gas regulator sticks open. With the pressure-vacuum relief
manhole covers set to pop open in the event that a trap valve sticks and throws the
entire gas load on the battery, there is little danger of tank rupture.
Certain auxiliary equipment for additional safety to the system is recommended.
A sediment trap is required in order to protect the dry-gas regulator against foreign
matter such as sand, millscale, etc. Foreign matter passing through the valve at high
velocities can seriously damage the valve seats, thus requiring their repair. A
back-pressure check valve should be installed downstream of the wet-gas regulator
for the purpose of protecting the valve and system against downstream flame
ignition, which might spread back up through the wet-gas regulator. A manometer
should be installed in the common control line and not in any portion of the vertical
riser, because the pressure at the "sensing point" is the true critical value. A
manometer installed on the vertical riser would be subject to varying flows and
would tend to give erroneous readings. The manometer serves both in initially
setting the regulators and also in observing the condition of the system. An
automatic drip trap, which is installed at the low point of the common control line,
serves the purpose of draining condensate. An explosion- or pressure-relief valve

-
ROOF CONNECTIONS BALANCE LINE BRANCHES
ANGLE BRANCHES R O U N D E D CORNER

A b
Pressure drop
4 k
Pressure drop
JL
P r e ssu r e d r o p
BRANCHIS

equals 40diameters. equals 20diameters. n e g l i g i b l e . -=qqjG$ %if


Ratio 2 pressure drop
equals 5 diameters.
VAPOR LINE CONNECTIONS 90' angle pressure drop Ratio 1.3 persure drop
WELDED
9 0 "ELBOW WELDED
9 0 ' ELBOW 9 0 ' FORGED OR equals 40 diameters. equals 6 diameters.
SWEDGED ELBOW
60' m g k pressure drop Ratio 1.25 pressuredrop

662 RATIO.!
equals 17.5 diameters.
4 5 O angle pessure drop
equds 8.8 diame8ers.
30' angle pressure drop
equals 9 diameters.
Ratio 1.0 pressure drop
equals 10 diameters.
Ratio .75 pressure drop
Pressure drop Pressure drop Pressure drop
equals 40 diameters. equals 20 diameters. equals 10 diameters. equals 6.8 diameters. equals 16 diameters.
FULL PIPE AREA ELBOWS 13' angle pressure drop Ratio .50 pressure drop
Ratio 2 pressure drop equals 5 diameters. equals 3.9 diameters. equals 30 diameters.
Ratio 1.1 pressure drop equals 6 diameters.
Ratio 1 .25 pressure drop equals 9 diameters.
Ratio 1 .O pressure drop equals I0 diameters. M A I N VAPOR LINES
Ratio .75 pressure drop equals 16 diameters.
Ratio S O pressure drop equals 30 diameters. WHEN CONNECTING LAPGB A N D SMALL LINES.
-
S Q U A R E WELDED TEES ROUNDED CORNER TEES
4 'p' .

<
T A P E R 7 D' TAPER-,
7 5

i t r > I f q- -I. \
D - 1'42 0

Pressure drop eqsuls Pressure drop equals Pressure drop Pressure drop Pressure drop
40 diameters. 6 diameters. equds 40 diameters. equals 20 diameters. equds 9 diameters.
Fig. 6-7. Gas pressure drop in tank roof fittings and pipe bends. Equivalent length of straight pipe
expressed in pipe diameters. (Courtesy of Varec Division, Emerson Electric Co., 1976.)
161

should be installed at the top of the vertical riser for the purpose of relieving
excessively high pressures caused by an ignition emanating downstream of the
wet-gas regulator. When hydrocarbon vapor ignites, it expands approximately 15
volumes (sometimes almost instantaneously), depending upon the composition. The
size of the explosion-relief valve, therefore, must handle 15 times the volume of the
vacuum pipe, calculated at atmospheric pressure. An expansion of 15 volumes
increases the pressure 15 atm.
This increased pressure will travel down the line in two directions from the point
of origin, ahead of any flame, and will be relieved at the explosion-relief valves.
A pressure balance chart for a typical vapor recovery system is presented in Fig.
6-6.
In the design and installation of vapor recovery systems, it is important to keep
in mind that the pressure drops involved are small. Vacuum- and pressure-relief
valves are set to function somewhere between 0.5 and 2.0 oz/in.2 (about 1-4 in. of
water).
The total pressure drop through a vapor recovery system must be kept well
within the limits of pressure- and vacuum-relief valve settings. For this reason, it is
necessary that the header, laterals, and all other piping be properly sized and
streamlined. If maximum benefit of the recovery system is to be gained, the piping
must be of sufficient diameter to permit the vapors to be readily withdrawn. Also,
angles, bends, and other resistances to flow should be kept at a minimum (Fig. 6-7).
Although most engineers, experienced in flow calculations, have preference
regarding flow formulas, the following formula may be used for estimating pipe
sizes:

q = 3550
/ Apd’
+
GI [l + ( 3 . 6 / d ) 0.03d]

where: q = quantity of gas, cu ft/hr; A p = drop in pressure, in. of water; G = specific


gravity of gas at flowing conditions, air having sp. gr. = 1; d = internal diameter of
pipe, in.; 1 = length of pipe, ft.
The above formula applies only for straight pipes, with fairly smooth interior
surface, and should only be used for flow of gas where pressures do not exceed 1
psig.
Having determined the line sizes and pressure drops, allowances should be made
for possible further expansion. In order to handle sudden overloads, it is usually
advisable to slightly oversize the piping. Ordinarily, to hold the weight of the header
and laterals to the minimum, the lightest-weight pipe obtainable is used. In some
cases, sheet metal duct piping is satisfactory. The use of this light-weight pipe in
flanged, shop-fabricated sections will materially reduce installation costs.

STORAGE PRESSURES
When low vapor pressure products are being stored, the construction of most
tanks is such that vent valves should not open at pressures and vacuum higher than
162

TABLE 6-1
Table of weight conversions for steel tank roofs (After Varec. 1976, p. 3) a

Gauge and thickness, Weight Weight Weight


steel deck materials (Ib/sq ft) (oz/in.2) (in. H20/in.2)
16-gauge (0.0625”) 2.553 0.284 0.490
14-gauge (0.0781”) 3.187 0.354 0.613
12-gauge (0.1094”) 4.473 0.497 0.860
11-gauge (0.1250”) 5.107 0.568 0.982
10-gauge (0.1406”) 5.740 0.638 1.103
9-gauge (0.1562”) 6.374 0.708 1.225
8-gauge (0.1719”) 7.00 0.778 1.346
7-gauge (0.1875”) 7.65 0.850 1.471
6-gauge (0.2500”) 10.20 1.133 1.961
~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~

a Based on US. Standards.

0.5 oz/in.2. The internal pressure at which a tank may be maintained, however, is
dependent upon design and condition of the tank. Generally speaking, cone-roof or
low-pressure fixed-roof tanks should not be operated at pressures beyond dead
weight loading of the deck. Vent valves for such tanks, therefore, should be sized
and pressure settings so fixed that maximum normal relief requirements are attaina-
ble within this limitation (Table 6-1).
It is equally important that the required flow capacity be obtained when the tank
is breathing-in without developing a vacuum, which will cause damage. This
requires consideration of tank size, design, the possibility of external loading, and
other considerations, which make a general rule-of-thumb method for determining
maximum safe working vacuum and maximum allowable vacuum impossible.
According to Factory Mutual Engineering Division, Loss Prevention Bulletin No.
13.23, 1-f in. H,O negative pressure is the maximum allowable for vertical
cone-roof tanks having 3/16-in. roof plates. No recommendation, however, is made
for tanks of heavier construction and it is, therefore, suggested that established
company policy or the recommendation of the tank manufacturer be followed.
For high vapor pressure products, entirely different vent valve designs are used.
These valves are equipped with dead weight vacuum pellets for settings of 0.5
oz/in.2 to 0.5 psig, depending upon tank construction. Higher pressure settings are
obtained by weight-and-lever arm, spring loading, or even diaphragm-operated relief
valves. It is important to note that increasing storage pressures reduces storage
losses. This, however, is complicated by the changes in temperature and the
consequent changes in vapor pressure, which may lead to vapor release during the
day and air admittance at night.

VENT VALVE PRESSURE SETTINGS

Dalton’s law of partial pressures states that the total pressure of a mixture of
gases equals the sum of the pressures that each gas would exert if present alone at
163

the same temperature in the volume occupied by the mixture (provided, of course,
that there is no chemical reaction or that there is no tendency for one gas to dissolve
in the other). Partial pressure of an individual component in a gaseous mixture is
equal to the product of the total pressure and the mole fraction of that individual
component:

where: p,Y = partial pressure of a component in the vapor phase; 'TT = total pressure
of the system; and y,, = mole fraction of the component in the vapor phase.
For example, if a tank contains a volatile product and equilibrium exists between
the liquid and vapor at an absolute temperature T, and at atmospheric pressure
(14.7 psia), the vapor space will contain a mixture of gas having a pressure of ( pmin)
and air at a pressure of (14.7 -pmin). If the temperature in the vapor space is
increased to some other absolute value ( T 2 ) ,the partial pressure of the air will
increase to (14.7 - pmin)T2/Tl, At this increased vapor space temperature, the
product-surface temperature will also increase, resulting in an increased vapor
pressure ( p , , ) . This makes a total pressure (absolute) in the vapor space equal to
[(14.7 - pmi,)T,/T1 + p,,]. Thus, the theoretical storage pressure ( p s ) , at which
equilibrium is re-established and at which no breathing losses occur, is equal to:

Obviously, this equation applies to standing storage only and its use is restricted
to tanks which' are constructed to withstand pressures so calculated (Varec, 1976).
In order to make use of this equation, it is necessary to obtain data on vapor
space and liquid-surface temperature. According to Rogers (in Varec, 1976), maxi-
mum liquid-surface temperatures in the United States vary from 85 to 115°F. The
maximum vapor space temperature is approximately 40°F higher than the maxi-
mum liquid-surface temperature, whereas the minimum vapor space temperature is
15°F lower than the maximum liquid-surface temperature. According to informa-
tion published by the A.P.I. (1965), the maximum liquid-surface temperature on the
Gulf Coast, Atlantic seaboard, and northern Middlewest in U.S.A. is about 100°F.
In the Mid-Continent area and the arid Southwest of the U.S.A., temperatures as
high as 115°F are encountered. On the West Coast of the U.S.A., at locations
directly tempered by the Pacific Ocean, the maximum liquid-surface temperature
may be as low as 80'F.
The size and shape of a tank, product outage, color and condition of exterior
surface paint, length of daily exposure to direct solar heat, and heat input from the
introduction of warm product, all have a definite effect on inside temperature. The
maximum liquid-surface temperature, resulting from atmospheric conditions only, is
equal to or is slightly above the maximum atmospheric temperatures. If more
accurate information is not available, therefore, it is suggested that the maximum
TABLE 6-11
Daily average temperature relationships between atmospheric temperature and those in the tank (All other sources of heat disregarded) (After Varec, 1976,
P. 5 )

Tank Maximum atmospheric temperature ( O F )


60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120 125 130
Max.liquidsurfacetemp. 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120 125 130
Min. liquidsurface temp. 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120
Max.vaporspacetemp. 100 105 110 115 120 125 130 135 140 145 150 155 160 165 170
Min. vapor space temp. 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115
165

atmospheric temperature be used as the maximum liquid-surface temperature and


that the preceding data be accepted as a basis for estimating probable vapor space
and liquid-surface temperatures. These temperature relationships are presented in
Table 6-11.

Example 6-1

Gasoline having Reid vapor pressure of 9 Ib/in2 is stored in a tank. Determine


storage pressure (p,) required to eliminate standing storage losses from a tank
operating at sea level and in a climate where maximum and minimum liquid-surface
temperatures, as the result of atmospheric conditions, are estimated at 100°F and
90°F, respectively. Under such conditions, according to Table 6-11, maximum vapor
space temperature will be 140'F and minimum temperature will be 85°F. Product
has a vapor pressure of 8.1 psia at 90°F ( pmin)and 9.6 psia at 100°F (p,,). Thus:
+
Tl = 460" 85' = 545"R
+
T2= 460" 140" = 600"R
By substituting in eq. 6-3:

T2 600
p, = (14.7 -phn)-
Tl
+ p , , - 14.7 = (14.7 - 8.1)-
545
+ 9.6 - 14.7 = 2.2 psig

Altitude should be taken into consideration if storage tanks are located at


altitudes where barometric pressures vary appreciably from the sea level pressure of
approximately 14.7 psia. For example, atmospheric pressure at 4000-ft elevation is
approximately 12.7 psia and, thus, required storage pressure to prevent standing
losses from the same product subject to identical temperature variations at this
altitude is equal to:

600
p , = (12.7 - 8.1)-
545
+ 9.6 - 12.7 = 2.0 psig

VALVE FLOW CAPACITY

The free gas capacity of a valve varies inversely with the square root of the gas
gravity (with respect to air = l.O), Gg. In addition, qg varies directly as the square
root of the ratio of the absolute standard temperature (520"R) to the absolute valve
inlet temperature. Thus:
166

where: qg = free gas capacity of the valve; qa = free air capacity of the valve;
Gg = specific gravity of gas (air = 1); and Ti = absolute valve inlet temperature, OR.
The qg and qa must be expressed in the same units, e.g., ft3/min or m3/hr.

VENTING

Conservation vent valves mechanically limit the loss of vaporized product to the
atmosphere. The same variables that make evaporation loss calculations difficult,
must also be considered in arriving at vent valve flow rates required to protect tanks
under conditions requiring maximum normal pressure or vacuum relief.
Conservation vents also serve as safety equipment and are, therefore, designed
for the worst conditions anticipated in order to safeguard against tank damage due
to underventing. But in several instances, the conservation role is overemphasized,
leading to a tendency toward size reduction to conform more nearly with capacity
requirements based on normal operating conditions. This is a very poor economic
decision, because damages to a tank may result in repair costs which are several
times the cost of additional venting equipment. Also, installation of equipment,
after a tank has been placed in service, is very often hazardous.
Many formulas, charts, and tables have been developed, based on experience and
available data, for vent valve flow capacity requirements. The American Petroleum
Institute (A.P.J.) has reviewed all of these, and the A.P.I. Venting Guide (A.P.I.,
1968) presented in the Appendix of this chapter, serves as the general guide for the
petroleum industry at the present time.

FAST PAYOUTS FROM VAPOR RECOVERY SYSTEMS

Conservation venting equipment, properly installed and maintained, will often


pay for itself several times a year in evaporation savings alone. Studies have shown
that lease-tank evaporation is often reduced by as much as 50%, solely through the
use of gas-tight tanks equipped with vapor conservation devices. There have been
several reports claiming total return of conservation vent valve and installation costs
on the first shipment of crude oil from gas-tight field production tanks. In addition,
by reducing air content, corrosion of the tank and its equipment is reduced and fire
prevention is enhanced. Another advantage is the fact that properly equipped tanks
result in insurance savings and offer other safety features which cannot be estimated
on a strictly monetary basis (Varec, 1976).
In 1951, a survey conducted by Oil and Gas Journal (Stormont, 1951a, b)
covering vapor recovery systems in California showed that very rapid payouts can
be obtained where substantial volumes of vapors are available. They also indicated
that in a number of cases reasonable payouts can be made from rather small
volumes. The following illustrative examples are taken from the survey.
167

Example (A)-System payout from vapor recovery only

There were 4 tank batteries, each equipped with a conventional vapor system.
Batteries consisted of 1600-bbl steel tanks in groups of 3, 5, 6, and 13. With the
exception of the number of tanks, other system characteristics, such as gas content,
trap pressures, etc., were similar.
Cost of the vapor recovery equipment per battery ranged from $2000 for 3 tanks
to $5500 for 13 tanks.
In this example, $101,007 was realized from the recovered vapors from a total of
27 tanks. Total cost of construction and equipment was less than $14,000 (engineer-
ing time was not included). This was the case of an exceptional payout (Table 6-111).

Example (B)

In this example, the recovered tank vapors amounted to 17,000 Mcf or 32 cu


ft/bbl of crude oil produced (Table 6-IV). Average liquid content of the vapors was
14.4 gal per 1000 cu f t accounting for 244,800 gal or 7.5% of the 3,256,000 gal
contained in all the gas.

TABLE 6-111
Performance of Company A, Fresno County, California (After Stormont, 1951a)

Month Vapor Liquid content Value of Value of Total


recovered (isobutane liquid stripped value of
(Mcf/mo) plus) fractions a gas vapors
(gal) (9 ($1 ($1
1950
March 8518 73,136 4388 886 5274
April 10,554 111,084 6665 1098 7763
May 14,777 133,819 8029 1537 9566
June 11,776 147,008 8820 1537 10,357
July 15,914 191,053 11,463 1655 13,118
August 16,082 210,482 12,629 1673 14,301
September 13,452 168,393 10,104 1399 11,503
October 10,583 108,642 6519 1101 7619
November 11,120 110,538 6632 1156 7789
December 10.896 97.808 5868 1133 7002

1951
January 10,228 94,194 5652 1064 6175

Total 136,900 1,446,157 86,769 14,238 101,007

a Estimated on the basis of 6c/gal for butane and gasoline content. No credit given for propane content.
Calculated on the basis of 16t/1000 cu ft for dry gas, allowing 35% for shrinkage and lease fuel.
For period March 7-31 inclusive.
168

TABLE 6-IV
Vapor recovery operations in Company B during January, 1951 (After Stormont, 1951a) (524,600 bbl of
crude oil and 1,614,000 Mcf of gas produced)

Monthly Average liquid content Total


volume (gal/Mcf) liquid
(Mcf) 21-lb butanes propane total ‘Ontent
gasoline (gal)
Tank vapors 17,000 3.75 4.55 6.10 14.40 244,800
Low-pressure gas, 30 psi 220,000 1.15 1.40 2.50 5.05 1,111,000
High-pressure gas, 480 psi 1,377,000 0.22 0.56 0.60 1.38 1,900,200
Totul 1,614,000 3,256,000

Example (C)

As shown in Table 6-V, tank vapors recovered amounted to 18 cu ft/bbl of


produced crude oil and 2.1% of the total gas gathered. The collected vapors
contained 5.5 % of all recoverable liquid hydrocarbons.

TABLE 6-V
Vapor recovery operations at Company C during January, 1951 (After Stormont, 1951a)

Monthly Average liquid content Total


volume (gal/Mcf) liquid
(Mcf) 21-lb butanes propane total ‘Ontent
gasoline (gal)
Tank vapors 8,500 3.90 3.40 3.50 10.80 91,800
Low-pressure gas, 30 psi 339,000 1.28 1.21 1.75 4.24 1,437,360
High-pressure gas, 450 psi 49,000 0.70 0.78 1.20 2.68 131.320
Torul 396,500 1,660,480

Example (0)

Although the percentages of gasoline fractions are not shown in Table 6-VI, one
can see that 13,149 Mcf of recovered tank vapors amount to 52 cu ft/bbl of
produced crude and 1.2% of the total gas gathered. Tank vapor accounts for
approximately 12% of the butanes plus recovered.
At the time of the survey in 1951, the cost of vapor recovery equipment was in
the range of $400 to $500 per tank. Some installations, however, ran over $1000 per
tank because a relatively larger compressor was required.
169

TABLE 6-VI
Vapor recovery operation at Company D unit during October, 1951 (After Stormont, 1951b) (254,800 bbl
of crude oil and 1,095,639 Mcf of gas produced)

Monthly Average liquid content Total


volume (gal/Mcf) liquid
content
(Mcf) isobutane-plus
(gal)
Tank vapor 13,149 8 105,000
Low-pressure and
High-pressure gas 1,082,490 - 748,919
Total 1,095,639 853,919

SUMMARY

It is estimated that, on the average, rapid payouts occur on installing vapor


recovery systems, many in less than one year.
Although vapors ,represent only a small fraction of the total gas recovered, the
gasoline content may run as'high as 10% or more of the liquid in the total gas from
field.
Vapor recovery offers oil operators important additional revenue by recovery of
light hydrocarbons, dollar value of natural gas saved, and increased value of stored
oil due to preservation of product gravity. Other considerations, not directly
measurable dollarwise, are reduction of fire hazard, oxidation, and corrosion.
Fortunately, a good conservation practice can yield attractive profits to the oil
operator who installs a complete, gas-tight, vapor recovery system.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
"\

(1) List five reasons for installing vaflor recovery systems on lease-flow tanks.
(2) List four factors which affect the amount of gas that can be recovered.
(3) Describe the equipment required for vapor recovery.
(4) In outline form, present steps followed in designing vapor recovery equipment.
( 5 ) Draw a schematic diagram (flow diagram) of all the surface equipment; start
at wellhead.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The help extended by Robert Siler, District Manager of Varec, and B.C. Wride is
indeed greatly appreciated by the writers.
170

REFERENCES

American Petroleum Institute (A.P.I.), 1965. Evuporution Loss of Petroleum from Storuge Tunks.
American Petroleum Institute (A.P.I.), 1965. Guide for Venting Atmospheric and Low-Pressure Storuge
Tunks. API RP 2000. 10 pp.
American Petroleum Institute, 1968. Venting Atmospheric and Low-Pressure Storuge Tunks (Nonre-
frigeruted). API Standard 2000, 1st ed., 18 pp.
Hein, W.G.. Johnson, J.L. and Chilingar, G.V., 1969. Vapor recovery. In: G.V. Chilingar and C.M.
Beeson (Editors), Surfuce Operutions in Petroleum Production. Am. Elsevier, New York, N.Y., pp.
67-86.
Rogers, W.F., 1976. Method of calculating oil evaporation losses. In: Tunk Venting und Guuging: Tunk
Equipment, Gus Control and Safety Devices. Handbook and Catalog No. P-8. Varec Inc.
Stormont, D.H., 1951a. Conservation of lease-tank vapors. Oil Gus J., 50(2): 93-96.
Stormont, D.H., 1951b. Tank-vapor recovery at Guijarral Hills effects payout in few months. Oil Gas J.,
50(4): 85-87.
Varec Division, Emerson Electric Co., 1910. Pollution und Gus Control Equipment. Bull. CP6003-A, 61 pp.
Varec, Inc., 1976. Tunk Venting und Gauging: Tunk Equipment, Gus Control und Safety Devices.
Handbook and Catalog No. P-8.
Varec, 1979. Pollution und Gus Control Equipment, Vupor Recovery Systems, Gus Piping Systems,
Technical Reference. Bull. 6003-B, Cypress, Calif., 52 pp.
171

A P P E N D I X 6 . I - V E q T I N G A M O S P H E R I C A N D L O W - P R E S S U R E STORAGE T A N K S ( N O N -
R E F R I G E R A T E D ) * (d N D A R D 2000, 1st ed., M A Y 1968.)

Scope perate-zone climate and normal operating conditions.


The many abnormal variables which must be considered
This standard applics to the normal and emergency in connection with tank-venting problems make it im-
venting requirements for aboveground liquid petroleum practicable to set forth definite simple rules which are
s t o m tanks and aboveground and belowground re- applicable to all locations and all coaditions. Larger
frigerated storage tanks designed for operation from
46 oe per sq in. vacuum through 15qsig pressure. The vents may be required on tanks in which oil is heated, on
rcqwkements of this standard do not apply to floating- tanks whizh receive oil iron] wells or traps, and on tanks
ocMer-root tanks. subjected to pipeline surgcs. Similarly, the use of flame
Bn@neeringstudies of a particular tank may indicate arresters or other restrictions, which may build up pres-
that it is desirable to use a venting capacity other than sure under certain conditions, m y requirc the use of
thstatimated in accordance with this standard. larger vents on tanks.
Part I of this standard applies only to aboveground Part I1 of this standard applies only to aboveground
notrefrigerated liquid petroleum storage tanks. It out- and belowground refrigerated liquefied hydrocarbon
1$4(safe and reasonable practices for the normal tem- storage tanks.

PART I-NONREFRIGERATED ABOVEGROUND TANKS


1.0 Determination of Venting Requirements However, lhe required capacity may be reduced for those
prcducta whose volatility is such that vapor generation or
Venting requirements are set forth for the followin4 condensation, within the permissible vessel pressure operating
conditions: range, will provide all or part of the vcnthg requirewnts.
Where noncondcn~blesM pmt, chi3 should be taken into
1. Inbreathing resulting from maximum out5ow of oil .ccounL
from tank.
2.1 Inbreathing Nacuum Relief)
2. Inbreathing resulting from contraction of vapors
ca)lsed by maximum decrease in atmospheric tem- 2.1 1 Venting capacity requirement for maximum
pctatun. oil movement out of a tank should be equivalent to
560 cu ft of free air per hour for each 100 bbl (4,200
3. Outbreathing resulting from maximum inflow of oil gal) per hour of maximum emptying rate, including
&to tanks and maximum evaporation caused by such gravity flow rate to other tanks, for oils of any flash
iO8OW' point.
4. Outbreathing resulting from expansion and evapora-
tion which result from maximum increase in atmospheric 2.12 Venting capacity requirement for thermal in-
temperature (thermal breathing). breofhing for a given tank capacity for oils of any flash
5. Outbreathing resulting from fire exposure. point should be. at least that shown in column 2 of
Table 1.
2.0 Normal Venting Capacity Requirements
2.2 Outbreathing (Pressure Relief)
Normal venting capacity shall be obtained without
cxcceding the operating pressurc or vacuum which may 2.21 Venting capacity requirement for maxinium
be applied regularly to a tank without causing physical oil movement into a tank and resulting evaporation:
damage or permanent deformation to the tank. 1. For oil with a flash point of 100 F or above, should
Total normal venting capacity shall be. at least the be equivalent to 600 cu ft of free air per hour for each
sum of the venting requirements for oil movement and 100 bbl (4,200 gal) per hour of maximum filling rate.
hmaleffect.*

* Reprinted with permission of American Petroleum Institute, New York, N.Y.


172

2. For oil with a flash point below I00 F, should be 3.0 Emergency Venting Capacity Requirements
equivalent to 1,200 cu ft of frce air per hour for each When storage tanks are exposed to fire, the venting
100 bbl (4,200 gal) per hour of maximum EUing rim. rate may be in excess of that resulting from a combina-
2.22 Venting capacity requirement for thermal tion of normal thermal effects and oil movement. In
ouibreathing, including thermal evaporation, for a given such cases, the construction of the tank will determine
tank capacity: whether additional venting capacity must be provided.
1. For oil with a dash point of 100 F or above, should 3.1 Tanks With Weak Roof-to-Shell Attachment
be at least that shown in column 3 of Table 1. On fixed-roof tanks with a roof-to-shell attachment
2. For oil with a dash point below 100 F, should be (maximum %-in. single-fillet weld) as described in
at least that shown in column 4 of Table 1. Par. 3.5.2(c) and (e) of API Standard 650: Welded
Steel Tanks for Oil Storage, the roof-to-shell connection
will fail preferentially to any other joint, and excess
TABLE 1-Thermal Venting Cepadtj Repoirementi pressure will be safely relieved, if the normal venting
(Expressed in cubic feet of free air per hour- capacity should prove inadequate. In tanks built to
14.7 psia at 60 F.) these specifications, consideration need not be given
Outbreathing to any additional emergency venting requirements.

Inbreathing
--
(Pressure)
Flash 3.2 tanks Without Weak Roof-to-Shell Attachment
Tank Capacity (Vacuum) Flash Poinr Point
All 100 F or Below Where the tank is not provided with a weak roof-to-
(Barrels) (Gallons) Stocks Above 100 F shell attachment as described in Par. 3.1, the following
1 2 3 4 procedure shall govern in evaluating the required vent-
60 2,500 60 40 60 ing capacity for fire exposure.
100 4,200 100 60 100
500 21,000 500 3 00 500 3.21 For tanks designed for pressures of 1 psig or
1,000 42,000 1,000 600 1,000 below, the total rate of venting shall be determined in
2,000 84,000 2,000 1,200 2,000
3,000 126,000 3,000 1,800 3,000
accordance with Table 2. (No increase id venting is
4.000 168,000 4,000 2,400 4,000 required for tanks with more than 2,800 sq ft of exposed
5,000 210,000 5,000 3,000 s.000 wetted surface. The basis for Table 2 is given in the
10,000 420,000 10,000 6.000 10,000 Appendix.)
15,000 630,000 15,000 9,000 15,000
20,000 840,000 20,000 12,000 20,000 3.22 For tanks and storage vessels designed for
25,000 1,050,000 24,000 15,000 24,000 pressures over 1 psig, the total rate of venting shall be
30,000 28,000 17,000 28,000
35,000 3 1,000 19,000 3 1,000
determined in accordance with Table 2, except that
40,000 34,000 2 1,000 34,000 when the exposed wetted area of the surface is greater
45,000 37,000 23,000 37,000 than 2,800 sq ft, the total rate of venting shall be calcu-
50,000 40,000 24,000 40,000 lated by the following formula:
60,000 44,000 27,000 44,000
70,000 48,000 29,000 48.000 CFH = 1,107
80,000 52,000 3 1,000 52,000
90,000 56,000 34,000 56,000
100,000 60,000 36,000 60,000
120,000 68,000 41,000 68.000
140,000 75,000 45,000 75,000
160,000 82,000 50,000 82,000
180,000 90,000 54,000 90,000
lnterpolile for intermediate sira.
NO=%
I. For tanks with 8 capacity of more than 20,000 bbl (840,000gal).
the reguircmenls for the vscuum condition are very close to the theo-
rcticslly computed YSIYC of 2 EU f l of air per hour per squaw foot of
total shell and roof area.
2. For tanlo with a capacity of lus than 20,OW bbl (840.000 gal). the
thermal inbrcathing requirement for the vacuum condilion haa been based
on 1 CY n of free sit per hour for each banti of lank capaciw. This is
substantially equivalent to P mean rate of YPPDI 8paEbtcmwraturc changc
of 100 F per hr.
3, For slocki with P flash point at 100 F or ~ ~ O V Cthe . outbreathing
requirrmenl has k e n amumcd a8 60 percent of the inbreathing capacity
requirement. I h c tank roof and shell tempemure E B M O ~ iise as rapidly
under MY condition as they c a n drop. rush as during I sudden cold rain.
4. For stacks with P flash mint below IM) F. lhe thermal ~ i e w u r c -
venting requirement has bem ksumed equal to ihc vacuum rcqhiremeat
in Order to ~ l l o wfor ~apoI(2~Uonat the liquid curface and far the higher
specific grwity of the tnnk vapors.
173

TABLE %-Total Rate of Emergency Venting Required L = latent heat of vaporization of the specific liquid,
for Fire Exposure Vs. Wetted Surface Are. in British thermal units per pound.
(Wetted area versus cubic feet of free air per hour- M = molecular weight of the specific liquid.
14.7 psia at 60 F.)
Wetted Venting Wetted Venting 3.24 Full credit may be taken for the vent capacity
Area Requirement Area Requirement provided for normal venting, since the normal thermal
(Square (Cubic Feet (Square (Cubic Feet effect can be disregarded during a fire, and it can also
Fat) perHour) Feet) per Hour) be assumed that there will be no oil movement into the
20 21,100 350 288,000 tanks.
30 31,600 400 312.000
40 42;lOO 500 354;000 3.25 If normal vents are inadequate, additional
50 52,700 600 392,000
60 63,200 700 428,000 emergency vents of the type described in Par. 4.2 shall
70 73,700 800 462,000 be provided so that the total venting capacity is at least
80 84,200 900 493,000 equivalent to that required by Table 2.
90 94,800 1,000 524.000
100 105.000 1.200 557.000 3.26 T h e vent size may be calculated on the basis
120 126;OOO 1;400 587;OOO of the pressure which the tank can safely withstand.
140 147,000 1,600 614,000
160 168.000 1.800 639.000 3.27 T h e total rate of emergency venting deter-
180 190,000 2,000 662;OOO mined by Par. 3.21 or 3.22 may be multiplied by the
200 211,000 2,400 704,000
ZSO 239,000 2,800 742,000 appropriate one of the following factors when additional
300 265,000 Over 2,800 * protection is provided:
' FW expo(ed wetted aurfrcca with more lhm 2,8W 8q 11. l e e Par. 3.21, 0.5 when drainage away from the tank or vessel is
3.22, .nd 3.24.
NOTBl:
provided.
1. 1ntCfloate for htcrmcdiate Y B I Y U . 0.3 when 1 in. thickness of external insulation is
2. I h c weNd area for B e lank or storage YCSIC~ shall be cslcylatcd a8
provided.
fouom:
SQhnO a d rphemld: the total cxposcd Surface Up to the mPxlmum
horizontal diameter or to a height of 25 ft. 0.15 when 2 in. thickness of external insulation is
whichever is srcaler.
Horimntal tank: 75 pcrccnl of the total exposed surface.
provided.
Vmical unk: the tom upmed area of L c shell within a
muimum height of 30 fl above grade.
0.075 when 4 in. thicknesa of external insulation is
provided.
Note 2: The values for insulation are based o n an arbi-
WheW trary conductance value of 4 Btu per hr per sq ft per deg F
per in. of thickness. Insulation shall resist dislodgement by
CFH = venting rcquircmcnt, in cubic feet of free air fire-hose streams and shall be noncombustible.
per hour-14.7 psia at 60 F.
A = exposcd wcttcd surface, in square feet. Note 3: Water films covering the metal surfaces can, un-
der ideal conditions, absorb substantially all incident radia-
N m I: The foregoing forn~ulais based on tion. However, the reliability of effective water application
is dependent upon many factors. Freezing weather, high
Q = 21.000 A',. winds, clogging of the system, unreliability of water supply,
at given in API RP 520: Design and Installation of Pressure- and tank surface conditions are a few factors which may
RdieVing Systems in Refineries, Parf I-Design. The total heat prevent adequate or uniform water coverage. Because of
absorbed, Q, is in British thermal units per hour. The constant, these uncertainties, the use of an environmental factor other
1,107, is derived by converting the heat input value of 21,000 than 1.0 for water spray is generally discouraged.
Bhl per hr per sq ft to standard cubic feet of free air by using
tbs latent heat of vaporization and molecular weight of hexanc 4.0 Means of Venting
(aCr Apwndix of this standard for further detail).
3.23 The total venting requirements in cubic feet 4.1 Normal Vents
of free air determined from Table 2 and the formula in Normal venting shall be accomplished by a pilot-
Par. 3.22 are based on the assumption that the stored operated relief valve, prcssure relief valve, pressure
liquid will have the characteristics of hexane, since this vacuum (PV) valve, or an open vent with or without
will provide results which are within an acceptable a flame-arresting device. in accordance with the follow-
d e p e of accuracy for almost all liquids encountered. ing requirements:
However, if a greater degree of accuracy is desired,
the total emergency venting requirement for any specific 1. A pilotsperated relief valve, if used, shall be so
liquid may be determined by the following formula: designed that the main valve will open automatically
and protect the tank in the event of failure of the pilot
Cubic feet of free air per hour = Y E valve diaphragm or other essential functioning device.
L a Relief valves equipped with a weight and lever prefer-
Where: ably should not be used.
V = cubic feet of free air per hour from Table 2 or 2. A pressure relief valve is appliciible on tanks oper-
the formula in Par. 3.22. ating above atmospheric pressure; in cases where a
174

vacuum can be created within a tank, vacuum protcction 5.0 Testing of Venting Devices
may be required. The capacity of venting devices shall be established
3. PV valves are recommcndcd for usc on atnlospheric by any of the following:
storage tanks in which oil with a flash point bclow 100 F 1. In accordance with Par. UG-131 of Unfred Pres-
is stored and for use on tanks containing oil which is sure Vessels, Sect. VIII of A S M E Boiler and Pressure
heated above the flash point of the oil. A flanic arrester Vessel Code (1965), with the exception that the deter-
is not considered necessary for use in conjunction with mination of theoretical flow for the valve (actual dis-
a PV valve. charge area) and the application of any coefficient to
4. Open vents with a flame-arresting dcvice may bc determine flow capacities shall be based on formulas
used in place of PV valves on tanks .in which oil with a which describe flow rates occurring below the critical
flash point below 100 F is storcd and on tanks conlain- pressure drop, rather than those shown in Par. UG-
131(e), item 2, which describe theoretical flow rates
ing oil which is heated above the flash point of the oil. above the critical pressure drop.
5 . Open vents may be uscd to provide vcnting capncity 2. By determining flow capacities of manhole covers
for tanks in which oil with a flash point of 100 1: or with long bolts and similar venting devices by calcula-
above is storcd, for heated tanks whcrc thc oil stordg': tion, using a flow coefficient of 0.5, rather than by flow
tempcrature is bclow the oil flash point, for tanks with test. The flow formula used shall be suitable for non-
a capacity of less than 59.5 bbl (2,500 gal) used for critical flow and shall give proper consideration to
the storage of any product, and for tanks with a capacity actual flow area, flowing pressure, and features of the
of less than 3,000 bbl (1 26,000 gal) used for the storage vent which would affect flow capacity. Data and cal-
of crude oil. culations to show how capacities were determined shall
6. In the case of viscous oils, such as cu:baA and be available.
penetration grade asphalts, whcre the danger of t x k 3. By flow-testing at least one production model of
collapse resulting from sticking pallets or from pluggin2 every type and size of venting device under the condi-
of flame arresters is greater than the possibiiity of i l a m tions listed hereinafter. Tests may be made by the
transmission into the tank, open vcnts may be used as manufacturer if certified by a qualified impartial ob-
an exception to the requirement for PV valvcs or flame- server, or tests may be delegated to an outside agency.
arresting devices as called for in items 3 and 4.
5.1 Capacity Data
4.2 Emergency Vents
5.1 1 Capacity data shall be presented in the form
Emergency venting may be accomplished by the of curves or tables which give the volume of flow
use of: through both vacuum and pressure ports, and which
1. Larger or additional open vents as limited by Par. cover the full range between the opening pressure (or
4.1, items 3 and 4. vacuum) and the pressure (or vacuum) at which the
ports are fully open. Capacity data for pilot-operated
2. Larger or additional PV valves or pressure relief vents or devices which open fully at set pressure (or
valves. vacuum) may be expressed as a flow coefficient, this
3. A gage hatch which permits the cover to lift under coefficient being the ratio of the flow of the vent to
abnormal internal pressure. the flow of a theoretically perfect nozzle of the same
4. A manhole cover which permits the cover to lift diameter.
under abnormal internal pressure. 5.12 Capacity data shall indicate points of initial
5 . A connection between the roof and the shell which opening and final closing of the venting device; the
is weaker than the weakest vertical joint in the shell or closing noted as pressure (or vacuum) is decreased
shell-to-bottom connection. A tank with a roof-to-shell after fully opening the ports.
attachment (maximum ?bin. single-fillet weld), as 5.13 Capacity data shall be expressed in terms of
described in Par. 3.5.2(c) and ( e ) of API Standard cubic feet of free air per hour at 60 F and at a pressure
650, is recognized as having a weak seam connection of 14.7 psia.
and, therefore, will not require emergency vents.
5.14 Pressures shall be expressed in inches of
6. Other forms of construction demonstrably compa-
water; however, auxiliary scales shall be expressed in
rable for pressure relief purposes.
ounces per square inch, and other units of measurement
4.3 Vent Discharge may also be included if desired.
For tanks located inside buildings, discharge from 5.15 Sufficient measurements shall be made at
vents shall be to the outside of the buildings. A weak pressures in the viciuity of the opening points, particu-
roof-to-shell connection shall not be used as a means larly at 1.15, 1.25, and 1.50 times the opening pressure
for emergency venting a tank within a building. or vacuum, in order to clearly establish the flow capacity
at those points.
175

5.16 The pressure or vacuum at which the valve 5.23 Valves to be used on productica tanks or
disk reaches its fully open position shall be noted in the to be mounted on special nozzles or fittings shall be
capacity data sheet. mounted on the test equipment in the same manner as
they are to be mounted in the field, with their axes in
5.17 Capacity data shall include a statement of the the position normally used on a tank.
manner in which the valves were mounted and tested.
If any fluid other than air is used in the test, this fact
shall be noted on the test report, together with the 5.3 Test Tank
temperature of the fluid actually used and its specific
gravity at standard conditions. 5.31 The test tank shall be so constructed as to
prevent high-velocity jets from impinging on the venting
5.2 Mounting of Venting Device for Test
device.
5.21 To minimize the effect of entrance losses, the 5.32 Provisions shall be made to dampen pulsations
venting device shall be mounted on the top of the test in the test medium supply in order to avoid errors in
tank at a location near the center of an area which is flow metering.
essentially flat. The flat area shall have a diameter at
least five times greater than the nominal diameter of the 5.4 Flow Metering
device to be tested. 5.41 Air or other suitable gas shall be employed in
5.22 The valve shall be mounted for test on a
testing the venting device.
straight-pipe nipple which has the same nominal di- 5.42 Air or gas flow shall be measured in accord-
ameter as the valve and a length one and one-half times mce with Chapter 4, “Flow Measurement by Means of
the nominal diameter. The pipe nipple shall squarely Thin Plate Orifices, Flow Nozzles, and Venturi Tubes,”
enter the top of the test tank near the center of the flat of Part 5, “Measurement of Quantity of Materials,” of
portion, with the end of the nipple machined to 90 deg the supplement on “Instruments and Apparatus” to the
with the axis and flush with the inside of the tank. ASME Power Test Codes.
Rounding of the entrance in excess of a %-in. radius
shall not be permitted.
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177

Chapter 7

NATURAL GAS AND NATURAL GAS LIQUIDS

BRUCE A. ECKERSON, ARNOLD L. JOHNSON and


GEORGE V. CHILINGARIAN

INTRODUCTION

The contribution of natural gas to the national supply of energy in the U.S.A. is
presented in Figs. 7-1 and 7-2, with forecast through the year 2000. The demand for
natural gas is now greater than the supply during periods of cold weather.

100

LEAR
90

80

70
i3
E
a
8"
AND GAS LIPUIDS
b
3
;so

'
a
J

3!
I-
8'
40

6L 30

20

10

0 1920 1930 1940 I950 1960 1970 K)

Fig. 7-1. Distribution of United States energy market among various fuels, 1920-1980.
178

In the United States, over 75% of the required energy comes from petroleum and
natural gas (DeGolyer and MacNaughton, personal communication, 1976). Natural
gas and natural gas liquids contribute approximately 32% of this total.
Figure 7-1 shows the distribution of the total United States market from 1920 to
1980: (1) since 1920, the water power has remained approximately constant at 4%;
(2) nuclear energy has reached about 3% in 1975; (3) from 1920 to 1975, coal's share
of the market has decreased from 78% to 18%;(4) from 1920 to 1975, oil's share has
increased from 13% to 42%; (5) from 1920 to 1975, the natural gas share has
increased from 4% to 30%; and ( 6 ) the consumption of natural gas liquids have
increased from a negligible amount in 1920 to 3% of the energy market in 1975.
Marginal gas reserves containing large quantities of inerts, such as carbon dioxide
and nitrogen, are now being considered for development. Removal of inerts is
expensive and these resen-s can be economically produced when natural gas prices
are allowed to seek t h c - proper level. It is imperative that all available gas be
produced in the most efficient way, which requires an understanding of natural gas
and its properties.

NATURAL GAS

Natural gas is a naturally-occurring mixture of hydrocarbon and nonhydro,.


carbon gases found in porous formations beneath the earth's surface, often in
association with crude petroleum (AGA, 1965).
Primarily, natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules belonging to the
paraffin series. The simplest hydrocarbon is methane, CH,; followed by ethane,
C,H,; propane, C,H,; butanes, C,H,,; and heavier components as shown in Table
7-1, and in Fig. 7-3. These compounds have the chemical formula of CnH2,,+,.
Natural gas is principally composed of methane with decreasing amounts of
ethane, propane, and heavier components. It normally is partially or completely
saturated with water vapor and may contain inert gases such as nitrogen and
helium, and acid gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and mercaptans.
There are many dry gas fields in which no liquids are produced, and the only
processing required is dehydration, or perhaps, heating value adjustment.
The other fields, in which a clear condensate is produced with the gas, are called
condensate fields. In these fields the phenomenon of retrograde condensation often
occurs; that is, liquid condenses out of the gas as the pressure is reduced (Katz et
al., 1959). Thus, when the high-pressure gas is produced into a lower-pressure
system through a choke, liquid forms. Liquid also condenses in the formation as the
pore pressure drops and, unfortunately, does not completely revaporize before
abandonment pressure is reached. Cycling plants are installed to prevent this loss of
product.
The produced gas is processed to remove the heavy ends; the residue gas, rather
than being sold, is injected to maintain reservoir pressure. When the reservoir has
179

TABLE 7-1
Composition of natural gases

Component Type of gas field Natural gas separated


Gas from crude oil
Dry gas, Sour gas,
Los Jumping condensate, Ventura "
Medanos " Pound ' Paloma L(
400 lb 50 Ib Vapor
(mole ') (mole ') %) (mole %) (mole %) (mole %)
Hydrogen sulfide 0 3.3 0 0 0 0
Carbon dioxide 0 6.7 0.68 0.30 0.68 0.81
Nitrogen and air 0.8 0 0 0 - 2.16
Methane 95.8 84.0 74.55 89.57 81.81 69.08
Ethane 2.9 3.6 8.28 4.65 5.84 5.07
Propane 0.4 1.o 4.74 3.60 6.46 8.76
Isobutane 0.1 0.3 0.89 0.52 0.92 2.14
n-Butane Trace 0.4 1.93 0.90 2.26 5.02
Isopent ane 0 * 0.75 0.19 0.50 1.42
n-Pent ane 0 0.63 0.12 0.48 1.41
Hexane 0 0.7 1.25
Heptane 0 0.15 1.05 4.13
Octane 0 6.30
Nonane 0
100.0 100.0 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
" In California. ' In Canada.

% ANNUAL
CHANGE 1979 O ' O ~ ~ 2000
~~ E
85-2000

YEAR

Fig. 7-2. Outlook on energy consumption in U.S.A.; forecast through the year 2000 (Copyright", 1985 by
Chevron Corporation.)
180

HYDROCARBONS IN NATURAL GAS

METHANE Ci CH4

ETHANE c2 C2H6 H-C-


" YC -H
k k
PROPANE C3 C3He Vt 'i'
H-C-C-C -H
k k h
M

Y H Y Y Y
PENTANE Ca CsH12 HC-~-C-C-C-H
~ A IH l H l H
Fig. 7-3. Principal hydrocarbons present in natural gas and their structural formulas. With few
exceptions, natural gas consists of at least 95% hydrocarbons. The remainder is nitrogen, carbon dioxide,
and, sometimes, small proportion of hydrogen sulfide. The principal hydrocarbon is methane with
heavier hydrocarbons, i.e., ethane, propane, butane, pentanes, hexanes, and heptanes, being present in
decreasing proportions.

been swept of heavy ends so that retrograde condensation no longer can occur, the
field is produced in a normal manner.
Gas is also produced with crude oil. This associated gas is normally rich in
recoverable liquids, and construction of a gas processing plant may be economically
justifiable even at relatively low gas production rates. At lower oil-gas separator
pressures the heavy ends content of the associated gas is higher.
Several gas analyses are given in Table 7-1 including dry gas, sour gas, gas from a
condensate field, and oil-well gas produced at different pressures. Although these
compositions are typical of many gases, it should be pointed out that nonhydro-
carbon contents may be many times those shown. Methane-ethane ratio may also
be as low as 4 : 1. This wide diversity of composition means that each gas must be
individually evaluated and properly handled. This is the function of a skilled gas
engineer, which is discussed later.
181

GAS PROCESSING PLANTS

A typical gas processing plant produces residue sales gas and a variety of liquid
products including ethane, liquefield petroleum gas (LPG), and natural gasoline
(Table 7-11). Inasmuch as early plants were intended to remove only heavier
components intended for blending into motor fuel, the term gasoline plant came
into being. Since World War 11, recovery had emphasized both on LPG and natural
gasoline. LPG is usually defined as propane, butanes, or mixtures thereof. In recent
years, the extraction of ethane for petrochemical feedstocks has become an im-
portant function of the gas processing plant. Operation of the plant involves the
removal of impurities such as water, carbon dioxide, and sulfur compounds.
The number and types of hydrocarbon products produced depends on the size of
the plant and its location with respect to other facilities. Whereas older plants
generally have their own fractionation facilities, newer plants more often produce a
single demethanized or deethanized product, which is shipped by truck or pipeline
to a central fractionating facility. Older plants had a relatively long life expectancy,
being built during times of restricted production, and were designed for handling
relatively small volumes of gas over long periods. Modern plants, on the other hand,
have shorter lives, which is a result of unrestricted production, and the economics of
larger short-lived facilities are less acceptable. A centrally-located facility can handle
products from many sources and can, therefore, have a long economic life.
Natural gas may be liquefied and transported by ship. Liquefied natural gas,
normally referred to as LNG, is becoming an important source of energy for
European, American, and Japanese markets. Large LNG plants are operating or
planned for construction in Alaska, Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and

TABLE 7-11
Composition of natural gasoline (liquid volume per cent)

Ventura Gasoline Plant Ten Section Gasoline Plant


Reid vapor pressure 38 psia 60 psia 100 psia 22 psia
Ethane Trace 0.5 0.7 0
Propane 1.1 16.0 43.8 0
Isobutane 19.0 16.0 10.7 0.2
n-Butane 41.0 34.7 23.0 22.7
Isopentane 13.2 11.2 7.4 24.1
n-Pentane 11.3 9.5 6.3 21.0
Hexane 6.8 5.7 3.8 12.6
Heptane 5.3 4.4 2.9 13.7
Octane 1.2 1.o 0.7 4.1
Nonane 1.1 1.0 0.7 1.2
Decane Trace Trace Trace 0.4
100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
182

other countries. Production of LNG, however, is not a normal surface operation in


petroleum production.

GAS SPECIFICATIONS

Sales gas specifications for natural gas include one or more of the following:
water content, hydrocarbon content, heating value, specific gravity, acid gas con-
tent, temperature, and pressure.

Water content

Water content is ordinarily expressed as pounds of water per million standard


cubic feet of gas; however, dew point temperature and pressure also are used. The
two methods have a definite relationship as shown by curves of water content as a
function of saturation temperature and pressure (N.G.P.S.A., 1966). Common
specifications are 1-, 4-,or 7-lb gas (i.e., lb water/Mscf gas) depending on the
severity of conditions to which the gas will be exposed. In some warmer areas a
maximum dew point of 50°F at delivery pressure is specified to assure that no water
will condense in underground lines. Ground temperatures seldom fall below that
level in those areas.

Hydrocarbon content

Hydrocarbon content is usually indicated indirectly by either heating value or


specific gravity. This procedure is not entirely accurate because composition can
vary widely in a multicomponent system without changing either property signifi-
cantly. Hydrocarbon dew points are sometimes specified or limits placed on gas
enrichment with reference to specific components, expressed as gallons of liquefia-
ble material per thousand cubic feet of gas (GPM, G/M, or gal/Mcf). Of particular
importance are hexanes and heavier components which may condense or otherwise
create problems in gathering or distribution systems. If significant amounts of
carbon dioxide or nitrogen are present, neither gravity nor heating value will
indicate hydrocarbon content. If both of these properties are measured, presence of
one or both of these impurities will be indicated because either will raise gravity and
lower heating value.
Hydrocarbon content is not specified as often as it was in the past. The demand
for energy has made purchasers less demanding. Gas is seldom sold strictly on a
volume basis today, the price being adjusted for the heating value of the gas. The
contract gas price is expressed as $/MMBtu; the price per Mcf is equal to
$/MMBtu X gas Btu per cf/1000.

Acid gas content

Acid gas content is specified according to the particular impurity. The usual
specification for hydrogen sulfide is 0.25 grain/100 scf, although specifications as
183

high as 1.0 grain/100 scf are sometimes found. As a comparison, current OSHA
standard for H,S in ambient air is 20 ppm (1.2 grains/100 scf); at that level,
protective gear is required. Mercaptans are also expressed as grains/lOO scf;
however, they do not often present a problem in gas sales because mercaptans are
added as a warning odorant for natural gas. Carbon dioxide content may also be
specified; an upper limit is commonly 5% by volume. There are a few reported cases
of carbonyl sulfide (COS), although its occurrence in natural gas is rare.

GAS TEST METHODS

The value of any specification depends on the availability of reliable test methods
to determine the specific property. Reference is made to published test methods of
the American Society for Testing Materials (A.S.T.M), Gas Processors Association
(G.P.A.), and the Pacific Energy Association (P.E.A.; previously Western Gas
Processors and Oil Refiners Association: W.G.P. and O.R.A.). Specific references
are given at the end of this chapter (G.P.A., 1980a-d; N.G.P.S.A., 1962,1966,1972;
P.E.A., 1943, 1950, 1966; W.G.P.&O.R.A., 1950a,b, 1955, 1956, 1965). The follow-
ing methods are the most common.
Water content

Water content is most often determined by measuring the dew point temperature
at a fixed pressure with a commercial device (Bureau of Mines Tester). This
indicator consists of a pressure chamber with a thermometer and a mirror that can
be cooled with a refrigerant. The dew point is visually observed and the water
content read from any standard chart (e.g., N.G.P.S.A., 1966). Some experience is
required to differentiate between the water and the hydrocarbon dew points. Water
content and dew point are relatively independent of gas composition. At very low
water contents, a. suitable refrigerant may not be readily available and, in some
cases, a continuous record is desired. In these cases a recorder using the conductiv-
ity of a hygroscopic salt is used.
Carbon dioxide and air

Determination of carbon dioxide and air, as well as hydrocarbons, is most


frequently done by gas chromatography. Carbon dioxide is also determined by
Orsat analysis which is based on volume reduction of a known volume of gas after
reaction of the carbon dioxide with sodium hydroxide solution. Air is sometimes
estimated by determining oxygen by Orsat analysis with a special reagent (pyrogal-
101) and assuming a normal air/O, ratio.

Hydrogen sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide is determined by the cadmium sulfide test in which a measured


volume of gas is first bubbled through a cadmium solution to precipitate cadmium
184

sulfide and then titrated iodometrically. In the presence of very high concentrations
of H,S the Tutweiler method is used by allowing it to react directly with iodine
solution. A qualitative test for the presence of H,S is the use of moist lead acetate
paper. Semiquantitative tests can be made with any of several “length of stain”
tubes, in which a substrate is impregnated with a reagent that turns dark on contact
with H,S. The length of darkening and the volume of gas are a measure of the H,S
con tent.

Specific gravity

Specific gravity, whch can be determined with a gravity balance, is commonly


measured with a Ranarex or calculated from the gas analysis.

Heating value

Calorimeters are used for direct determination of heating value. Inasmuch as the
equipment is very expensive, however, it is more common to analyze the gas by
chromatography and calculate the heating value from known properties of the
individual components. A method for this calculation has been published by the
G.P.A. This method is also used for specific gravity and compressibility determina-
tions.

Gas measurement

Measurement of natural gas usually involves inserting a restrictive orifice in the


line and measuring the pressure drop across the orifice. Basic measurement data
were developed by the American Gas Association, which appears in the publications
of G.P.A., P.E.A., and the Southern California Meter Association. Chapter 2 of
Volume I1 discusses the equipment and procedures involved in gas measurement in
detail.

NATURAL GAS LIQUIDS

Natural gas liquids can be classified as (1) ethane, (2) LPG (liquefied petroleum
gas), or (3) natural gasoline. The LPG is normally restricted to propane and butane
or mixtures thereof, with small amounts of ethane and pentane being present as
impurities. Natural gasoline is considered by many to consist of pentane and heavier
hydrocarbons, but the term is also applied to mixtures of LPG and pentanes plus
(i.e., pentanes and heavier fractions).

Liquid specifications

Liquid specifications as set by mutual agreement between buyer and seller vary
widely, but approximate limits for commercial products can be summarized as
follows:
185

Ethane
Maximum methane content = 1.5%by volume. Maximum carbon dioxide content
= 0.28% by volume. It is noncorrosive by using copper strip method.

Propane
A minimum of 95% propane by volume, a maximum of 1-2% butane, and a
maximum vapor pressure which limits ethane content. The currently used vapor
pressure is 208 psig, which is limited by the working pressure of DOT shipping
containers (300 psig at 130°F.) Corrosivity, sulfur content, dryness, and specific
gravity also may be specified. If propane is to be used as a motor fuel, the propylene
content is limited because of its low octane rating.
Butane
The percentage of one of the butane isomers is usually specified along with the
maximum amounts of propane and pentane. Other properties that may be specified
are vapor pressure, specific gravity, corrosivity, dryness, and sulfur content.
Butane-propane mixture
In the case of butane-propane mixture, in addition to limits on nonhydro-
carbons, the maximum isopentane content is usually stated. The particular mix is
identified by vapor pressure or percentages of the components.
Natural gasoline
In the midcontinent area, natural gasoline is designated or sold on the basis of
vapor pressure or, sometimes, by grade. The grade is defined by the vapor pressure
and the percent vaporized at 140'F and 740 mm Hg. On the Pacific Coast, gasolines
are usually sold on the basis of actual composition, which is determined from the
Reid vapor pressure-composition curves prepared for each product source. Specifi-
cations for natural gasoline limit the Engler distillation end point to 375°F. End
points of 300-32OoF, however, are more common.
Liquid testing
Standard tests for LPG and gasoline are given in the technical bulletins referred
to above. The P.E.A. Bulletin TS-352 presents an empirical method for computing
Reid vapor pressure from analytical data. Engler distillation and copper strip
corrosivity tests are A.S.T.M. methods. The G.P.A. has published an improved
copper strip method using instrumental readings to replace colorimetric visual
evaluation,

GAS TREATING

Water removal
The most common impurity in natural gas requiring treatment is water. Water
removal is necessary to prevent condensation of water and formation of ice or gas
186

PUMP

Fig. 7-4. Fluid process for gas treating.

hydrates. Liquid water can cause corrosion or erosion problems in pipelines and
various equipment, particularly in the presence of carbon dioxide and hydrogen
sulfide. Solid formation can plug pipelines, block control valves, and cause other
operating problems. The simplest method of water removal is to cool the gas to a
temperature equal to or below the required dew point. The range of this method can
be extended if cooling can be done at higher pressures. For example, if it is
necessary to produce a gas with a dew point of 50°F at 135 psig (water content of
60 lb/MMscf) when the best available cooling is 80"F, the required dew point can
be realized by cooling to 80°F at 460 psig or higher, under which conditions the
water content will be 60 lb/MMscf or lower.
In a majority of cases, cooling alone is insufficient and, in field applications,
usually impractical. Most dehydration requires the use of solid adsorbents or
hygroscopic liquids. Solid desiccants include alumina, silica gel, and molecular
sieves. Liquid agents for countercurrent contact are usually di- or triethylene glycol.
Ethylene glycol can be directly injected into the gas stream in refrigeration-type
plants (see Fig. 7-8).
Figure 7-4 shows a typical fluid process for gas treating which may be used for
glycol dehydration. Field units normally do not have a reflux drum or pump. The
regenerator overhead is cooled with air fins at the top of the column or by an
internal coil through which the feed flows. Reflux condenses and flows downward
by gravity.
Countercurrent vapor-liquid contact between the gas and the glycol produces an
outlet dew point that is a function of the contact temperature and the residual water
content of the stripped or lean glycol. Stripping (regeneration) of glycols is limited
by the temperatures to which they can be heated. Both di- and triethylene glycol
tend to decompose before they boil. The boiling point composition curves of both
glycols are almost identical; better stripping and, hence, lower dew points can be
187

COOLING GAS-OUT

Y
m, BED BED
COOLER

n7-+by
A

WATER

-@ COOLING
HEATING

GAS-IN
GAS - O U T +
, -
r

I
INLET I V PROCESS GAS-IN

obtained with triethylene glycol which has a higher decomposition temperature.


Normal dew point depressions are 50-60°F below contact temperature for diethyl-
ene glycol and 70-75°F for triethylene glycol.
Special techniques such as stripping of hot triethylene glycol with dry gas give
dew point depressions up to 100°F or more. The Drizo Process, which uses heavy
hydrocarbon vapors as a stripping medium for triethylene glycol, reportedly can
give equally low dew point depressions. Vacuum distillation can also be used.
Figure 7-5 shows a typical two-bed solid adsorbent treater used for dehydration.
While one bed is removing water from process gas, the other is being heated and
cooled. Sometimes a three-bed system is used: one bed is adsorbing, one is heating,
and one is cooling. An added advantage is that the three-bed system can be used as
a two-bed system while the third bed is being maintained or replaced. For this
reason, a third bed is most often used where a dehydrator failure can result in a
costly plant shutdown.
Desiccants, as mentioned above, may be alumina, silica or molecular sieve. Silica
gel and aluminas have capacities for water adsorption in the order of 7-8% by
weight; cheaper bauxite (crude alumina): 4-6%; and molecular sieves: up to 15%.
These are long-term design capacities and not the higher initial capacities often
quoted. Molecular sieves are severalfold more expensive, but provide very low dew
point outlet gas and are used almost exclusively for cryogenic plant feed prepara-
tion.
Because of its high tolerance to hydrogen sulfide, silica is usually selected for
sour gas dehydration. To protect molecular sieve beds from plugging by sulfur,
alumina beds are sometimes placed ahead of the molecular sieves to remove the
sulfur compounds.
Regeneration is usually carried out with gas heated to 350-400'F. Heating is
continued until the gas leaving the bed reaches 300-375°F. Although lower temper-
188

atures result in longer bed life, higher temperatures regenerate better. Molecular
sieves require regeneration gas having temperatures of 450-500'F.
Downflow is most commonly used during adsorption, with regeneration flow
being in the opposite direction and cooling in the same direction as adsorption. This
flow pattern requires the smallest vessel diameter because of higher permissible gas
velocities. There is no tendency to lift the bed and cause breakage. Upflow, although
more expensive because of initial vessel cost, is more conducive to trouble-free
operation.

Acid gas removal

Treatment of natural gas to remove the acid gas constituents (carbon dioxide and
hydrogen sulfide) is most often accomplished by contact with an alkaline solution.
The basic flow is the same as that shown in Fig. 7-4. Common treating solutions are
aqueous solutions of the ethanol amines or alkali carbonates. A number of special
treating agents have been developed in recent years the action of which is based on
physical absorption and chemical reaction. Most of the newer agents are economi-
cally competitive only when the ,partial pressure of the acid gas is high (50-75 psi or
higher). When only carbon dioxide is to be removed in large quantities, or when
only partial removal is necessary, hot carbonate or one of the physical solvents is
the most economical selection. The hot carbonate process operates at about 200'F
and both the heat exchanger and the solution cooler are eliminated (Fig. 7-4).
Hydrogen sulfide is sometimes removed by the iron oxide or dry box method.
The gas is passed through a bed of wood chips or shavings impregnated with iron
oxide, while the bed is being kept moist by circulation of a small stream of soda ash
solution. The hydrogen sulfide reacts with the iron oxide to form iron sulfide and is
regenerated by passing air through the bed, either continuously or on a batch basis.
Aeration of the bed converts the iron sulfide to elemental sulfur and iron oxide. The
method is suitable only for small quantities of sulfur, inasmuch as only about 90%
removal per bed can be realized. If several beds in series are required, the process is
not economic. The total sulfur removed by a bed is limited, because it becomes
clogged with elemental sulfur and must be discarded.
Modern environmental considerations may require that impurities should not be
discharged to the air. Most hydrogen sulfide removal processes return the hydrogen
sulfide unchanged. If the quantity involved does not justify installation of a sulfur
recovery plant, usually a Claw plant, then a process must be selected which
produces elemental sulfur directly. The dry box is suitable for the removal of small
quantities of hydrogen sulfide, whereas larger quantities require a continuous
process such as Ferrox or Stretford. Ferrox process is based on the same reactions
as the dry box method except that it is fluid and continuous. Stretford is a licensed
process using a solution containing vanadium salts and anthraquinone disulfonic
acid (ADA). In an excellent book, Dr. R.N. Maddox of Oklahoma State University
discusses these treating methods in detail (Maddox, 1974).
189

Nitrogen removal

Nitrogen is sometimes found in sufficient quantities to lower the heating value of


the gas. Such a gas can sometimes be sold at reduced prices if it can be blended with
a gas having a higher heating value. Some gas reserves were left undeveloped in the
past because the low energy content in the gas would not justify treatment. At
current high gas prices, however, plants for the removal of nitrogen are being
considered and a few have been installed. Nitrogen removal requires liquefaction
and fractionation of the entire gas stream which is quite expensive.

LIQUID EXTRACTION

Recovery of liquid hydrocarbons can be justified either because it is necessary to


make the gas salable or because it is economic to do so. With the increasing scarcity
of natural gas, purchasers are less critical and processing for liquid recovery is
usually based on economic considerations alone. Figure 7-6 shows the value of
recoverable liquids as natural gas energy. The justification for building a plant
depends on the spread between the value of enriched gas containing heavier
hydrocarbons and the price of lean gas plus the value of extracted liquid. The
spread must be sufficient to pay operating costs, amortize the plant cost, and
provide an adequate rate of return on capital. In many cases, particularly when the
volume of gas is small, processing cannot be justified.
If salability of the gas is the only reason for processing, then liquid removal
usually is a field operation using either crude oil enrichment, adsorption, or

30

m
c

8 10

0
I.o 1.5 21) 2.5
Dollar8 per million BTU
Fig. 7-6.Value of liquids as gas.
190

refrigeration processes. If liquid recovery is economic, the extent to which extraction


is carried out will depend on the availability of a market for the products and
heating value limitations of the residue gas. Most of the liquid recovery plants
recover a substantial portion of the propane and essentially all of the butanes and
heavier hydrocarbons comprising gasoline. These products can be readily moved by
rail, truck, and pipeline. Ethane recovery depends on availability of a product
pipeline, although small amounts of ethane are moved by truck or rail when mixed
with heavier hydrocarbons. Sufficient amount of ethane, however, must be left in
the gas to meet contractual requirements for heating value.

Crude enrichment

The purpose of crude enrichment is to produce two products: sales gas and
enriched tank oil. The tank oil contains more light hydrocarbon liquids than the
virgin crude oil and the residue gas is drier (leaner). Inasmuch as crude oil is finally
separated at atmospheric pressure, only those fractions can be added that can be
retained at that pressure. Every crude oil enrichment process, therefore, must, in
some manner, remove light ends from the oil to make room for the gasoline-and the
LPG fractions. One of the simplest and yet least often recognized methods is
manipulation of the number and operating pressures of the gas-oil separators
(traps). In rare cases, separator temperatures also can be varied. Selection of trap
pressures will also affect the nature of other processing steps and significantly affect
the amount of gas compression.
One method of removing light ends is using pressure reduction (vacuum condi-
tioning). A typical process of this type is shown in Fig. 7-7. Heating, stripping with

SALES
GAS

CRUDE
OIL
I
COOLER I

COMPRESSOR
bR
1
p
-k
TO FUEL OR
COMPRESSION

PUh

Fig. 7-7. Crude oil enrichment process.


191

dry gas, or a combination thereof are also used. Generally, stripping is done at low
pressure, after which the crude so stripped is pumped to high pressure to act as an
adsorbent. The enriched crude oil is then reduced to atmospheric pressure in stages
or using fractionation (rectification). Crude oil enrichment is used where there is no
separate market for light hydrocarbon liquids, or where the increase in API gravity
of the crude will provide a substantial increase in the price per unit volume as well
as volume of the stock tank oil.

Adsorption

When gases are relatively lean, adsorption-type units are installed for liquid
recovery. Equipment is similar to that used for dehydration (Fig. 7-5),and operation
is identical except for the length of the cycle. Dehydration is normally accomplished
in eight hours or longer and permits saturation of the bed with water, resulting in
the displacement of adsorbed hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbon recovery requires 30-60
min per cycle and most of the adsorbed hydrocarbons are retained. The size of the
unit depends on the amount of liquid to be adsorbed and, therefore, the process is
not economically feasible for rich gases.

Refrigeration processes

Refrigeration processes can be classified according to the source of the refrigera-


tion and the nature of the basic separation step. A typical flow sheet is shown in
Fig. 7-8. In this case, mechanical or compression-type refrigeration is used to reduce

I GAS
SALES I f
FUEL
GAS

t
192

the temperature, and the basic separation is simply a phase separation followed by
liquid stabilization. When wellhead pressures are high and large pressure drops can
be used, expansion across a choke (Joule-Thomson effect) will supplement mecha-
nical refrigeration or even supplant refrigeration by an outside medium. Propane
and ammonia are the most common refrigerants. Ethylene glycol is injected into the
system at points where icing or gas hydrate formation can occur. The glycol is
recovered from the main separator and regenerated in the manner shown in Fig. 7-4.
The most common process used today, when liquid recovery can be economically
justified, is the one which uses a turboexpander to produce the necessary refrigera-
tion. Very low temperatures and high recovery of light components, such as ethane
and propane, can be attained using this process, a typical flow chart of which is
presented in Fig. 7-9. Inlet gas is dehydrated in molecular sieve beds and cooled by
heat exchange. The separated liquid containing most of the heavy fractions is fed to
a demethanizer column. The cold vapors are expanded through a turbine which is
loaded by a compressor wheel on the same shaft. This removal of energy from the
gas results in much lower temperatures than are possible by ordinary Joule-Thom-
son expansion. The expander outlet is a two-phase stream that is fed to the top of
the demethanizer column, which serves as a separator. The liquid is used as the
column reflux and the separated vapors combined with vapors stripped in the
demethanizer are exchanged with the feed gas. The heated gas, which is partially
recompressed by the expander compressor, is further recompressed to sales pressure
in a separate compressor. Inlet gas is used for heating reboiler, which makes the
193

FGAS
UEL

GLYCOL
I SALES
J

I
GAS

INTAKE t
GAS v
HEAT
EXCHANGER a
2
s
-43 REBOILER
CONDENSATE

Ir
\--1

-To
GLYCOL WATER I 1

Fig. 7-10. Vapor rectification process.

process very efficient, i.e., the fuel is only required for dehydrator regeneration and
for recompression. When the inlet gas is rich in liquefiable hydrocarbons, the inlet
heat exchange is supplemented by mechanical refrigeration ahead of the primary
separator.
Vapor rectification processes, typified by Fig. 7-10, also employ mechanical
refrigeration, but the basic separation is accomplished in a series of steps in the
vapor-rectified column. Refrigeration is applied to the column overhead to produce
reflux and, sometimes, to partially condense the feed. If the recovery of lighter
liquids is sufficiently high, the reboiler may be placed on the vapor rectifier and the
stabilizer is not used. The process is very flexible within the limits set by heating
medium, refrigeration system, and equipment size. Production can be varied simply
by resetting the top and bottom temperatures.

Absorption

Up until the early 1970s most hydrocarbon recovery plants involved oil absorp-
tion process. These complex plants tend to consume excessive fuel and are difficult
to operate. In a time of energy conservation and the trend towards construction of
short-lived plants, oil absorption process has become economically undesirable in
most new applications. Although the majority of operating plants still use this
process, very few newly-constructed plants utilize it. Oil absorption process involves
countercurrent contact between stripped or lean oil with the incoming wet gas,
(Figs. 7-11 and 7-12), at such conditions of temperature and pressure that the
desired amounts of the liquefiable components are dissolved in the oil (Figs. 7-13
and 7-14) together with lesser amounts of lighter components. Refrigeration is
frequently used to obtain lower (more favorable) temperatures. The remainder of
194

Wire Mesh Demirler


R e s i d u e G o s lo S a l e s

Lean Oil

Troy

Bubble C o p

Down Spoul

W c l Gor

Rich Oil

u
Fig. 7-11. A schematic diagram of bubble tray absorber.

the plant can be divided into the following functional sections: (1) separation of
light ends from the oil; (2) separation of absorbed materials from the oil; (3) final
removal of light ends from the raw product; and (4) separation of the raw product
into various finished products.
A typical oil absorption system is illustrated in Fig. 7-15. The extraction of a
given component in the absorber depends on (1)the number of equilibrium contacts
(theoretical trays) in the absorber during countercurrent flow of gas and liquid and
(2) the absorption factor A defined as L / V K , where L = moles of liquid, V = moles
of vapor, and K = equilibrium ratio. Inasmuch as the L / V is a molal ratio, a
low-molecular-weight oil will yield a large L for the same volume of oil circulated.
Refrigeration, intercooling, and presaturation of the oil with light components are
all used to reduce effective absorber temperature and increase the absorption factor
by reducing K,the equilibrium ratio (mole fraction of a component in the gas: mole
fraction of component in the oil). Increase in pressure also reduces K up to a point;
195

Fig. 7-12. Bubble cap (a, b) and bubble tray (c, d).

LEAN OIL RATE O A L S ~ C F

Fig. 7-13. Relationship between the propane recovery (in 76) and lean oil/gas ratio (in gal/Mcf). Ventura
gasoline plant, California.
196

o/o PROPANE RECOVERED

Fig. 7-14.Relationship between the propane recovery (in %) and recovery of butane and pentane.
Ventura gasoline plant, California.

however, after reaching a minimum at some high pressure (500-600 psig), the value
of K starts to increase. Absorber pressure is usually set by the sales or end-use
pressure. Absorbers used in cycling plants are operated in the 1400-2000 psig range,
because it is more economic to cool or circulate more oil than to greatly increase the
recompression horsepower.
The rejection of unwanted light ends may be carried out in one or more steps.
Methane is nearly always removed in the rich-oil rectifier by pressure reduction and
heating. In many plants this column also removes the ethane. Following rich-oil
rectification, the absorbed material is removed from the oil in the stripper or a still.
If a heavy absorption oil is used, stripping is commonly done by preheating the oil
and countercurrently contacting it with steam. Steam is used because it is easily
condensed and is immiscible with the raw product. With low-molecular-weight oils,
197

S
I CONDENSER

COOLER

Fig. 7-15. Oil absorption process.

the still feed is heated by ‘exchange with the still bottoms and a fired heater is
installed as a reboiler. Low pressure is conducive to good stripping, whereas high
pressure aids condensation. Although most operations represent a compromise
between these two factors, some plants use two stills in series: one at high pressure

ISOBUTANE

PROPANE BUTANE

XED

N4TURAL GASOLINE FROM


DISTILLATION AREA

REBOILER

DEPROPANIZED GA5OLINE
I

I I

Fig. 7-16. Flow diagram of fractionation area.


198

to condense the light ends and the second at low pressure to insure good stripping
of the heavier gasoline fractions. If the oil is not well stripped, the lighter compo-
nents in the oil will be vaporized in the absorber and lost in the residue gas stream.

Fractionation

As was mentioned earlier, the trend is toward construction of large, centrally


located, fractionating systems; however, at times local systems may be justified. The
order of fractionation (i.e., which product is produced first) can vary widely. There
are two general rules of thumb which can be substantiated by economic evaluation:
(1) remove any unwanted light ends in the first column so that the other columns
can run totally condensing; and (2) remove the largest product stream first. In
practice this means that the first column will be a deethanizer unless (1) all ethane
was removed in the rich-oil rectifier or (2) an ethane product is being made and
shipped as an ethane-propane mix. Normally propane or ethane is the largest
volume product and the depropanizer is the next column; they are followed by the
debutanizer and the butane splitter (Fig. 7-16). Using this design each column can
operate at a successively lower pressure and streams will flow from column to
column without pumping. On the other hand, if propane recovery is low, it may be
desirable to debutanize first in order to get rid of the large gasoline stream and then
depropanize, followed by a splitter if there is one.

GAS GATHERING

Custody transfer of the gas normally takes place immediately downstream of the
trap, and it is the responsibility of the gas plant operator to gather the gas for
processing. Substantial savings in compressor horsepower can be realized if multiple
stages of separation are used. This means a partial duplication of the gathering
system to bring gas at two different pressures to a compressor station. A careful
economic study must be made to evaluate the advantages of one system over the
other during the life of the operation.
Generally, the processor gathers the gas at low pressure and compresses it to the
processing pressure which is usually the residue gas sales pressure (see Fig. 7-27). In
most gas processing units the greatest capital investment is for the gas compressors
and auxiliaries. If the gas gathering lines are short, it is advantageous to locate
compressors at the plant where they can be attended for more efficient operation. It
is a good rule of thumb that length of gathering lines to a compressor suction should
never exceed five miles. Field compressors, designed for unattended operation,
should be used for greater distances. In the later stages of a field’s operation, when
gas volumes have declined and gathering lines may be oversized, it may be possible
to bypass the field compressors. Laying of pipelines (pattern-wise), size of pipelines,
and location of compressors should be based on economic considerations, both
current and future.
199

i COOL1 n

Fig. 7-17. Example of a gas-gathering system for an oil field.

If the wells are in a gas field, rather than an oil field, the gathering lines are
normally-sized to deliver the gas at utilization pressure. As the wellhead pressure
declines, compression is added to maintain the flow.
Hydrate formation in gas gathering lines is often a serious problem, particularly
if high pressures, low temperatures, and long distances are involved. Gas hydrates,
which resemble wet snow and have a crystalline structure, can plug lines and valves
if allowed to form. Hydrates may form at temperatures considerably above the
freezing point of water; for example, at a pressure of 800 psi a water-wet,
0.7-specific gravity gas will form hydrates at a temperature of approximately 65°F.
There are three methods commonly used to prevent hydrate formation in gas
gathering lines:
(1) Operation at temperatures and pressures at which hydrates cannot form.
Wellhead gas heaters are sometimes used to heat the gas entering the gathering
system, such as at the Shell’s Jumping Pound Plant in Canada.
(2) Dehydration of natural gas at the source before it enters the gas gathering
lines. This system is used at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (Wilson, 1974) and at the Ekofisk
Field in the North Sea (Kennedy, 1972).
(3) Injection of hydrate inhibitors into the gas gathering lines. Methanol is
commonly used where only a small amount of inhibitor is required. It is sometimes
used for large systems particularly when salt water is present. For example,
200

methanol is injected into the gathering line at the offshore production platform for
the Viking Field in the North Sea. A methanol-water mixture is separated from the
well fluid at the associated onshore facilities. This stream is subsequently fractionated
to recover methanol as a top product and salt water as a bottom product.
When salt is not present, ethylene glycol is sometimes injected into the gathering
line to prevent hydrate formation. Dilute glycol is separated at the gas processing
plant for reconcentration and is recycled back to the inlet of the gathering system.
This procedure was followed in the offshore Molino Field near Santa Barbara,
California.
Two-phase flow is frequently encountered in gas gathering lines. This occurs
when warm gas enters the system and subsequently cools to a temperature below its
dew point and/or when well fluid consisting of gas, condensate, and water enters
the gathering system. Under certain flow conditions, long sections of line may fill
with liquid, thereby increasing the pressure drop in the system. Liquid can be
displaced out of the line to improve its efficiency by running spheres (“pigs”)
through the line. It may be necessary to install a large vessel or “slug catcher” at the
outlet of the gathering lines to collect these large volumes of liquid. The slug catcher
acts as a surge to level out the liquid flow to the processing facilities. An example of
this is the 3000-bbl capacity slug catcher at a pressure of 1050 psig installed in the
onshore facilities of the Viking Field.
Although only gas transmission lines and gathering lines in incorporated areas
are subject to regulation by the Federal Office of Pipeline Safety, prudent operators
should design and install all pipelines in accordance with those standards. Steel lines
must have certain minimum wall thickness and be designed for the required
operating pressure and density of population. They must be coated, wrapped,
cathodically protected against corrosion, and buried with the proper amount of
cover to avoid rupture by outside operations. Many operators are now using PVC or
other plastic pipe for gas gathering lines below a pressure of 50 psig. These pipes are
less expensive, require no coating, and are less expensive to install.

GAS INJECTION

Produced gas may be processed and injected back into the formation from which
it is produced. Additional gas from other formations may also be injected to
supplement the gas produced from a given oil zone. This is done for two reasons: (1)
reservoir engineers have determined that the production of oil can be maximized
(maximum recovery) by maintaining the field pressure and/or (2) the gas cannot be
sold because an outlet is not available and venting is not permitted because of air
pollution regulations. Injection pressures of 3000-4000 psig are common.
201

GAS ENGINEERING

The gathering and processing of natural gas is very complex, and careful
evaluation of all engineering and economic factors is essential for an efficient and
profitable operation (see Fig. 7-18). This is the function of a gas engineer with the
assistance of specialists from other fields.
The first step in the evaluation of a new project is to determine gas reserves. This
is usually done by a reservoir engineer with assistance from a geologist. The results
of this study must also include an estimate of deliverability versus time. Although
the well test is helpful, test volumes tend to be higher than can be realized in
sustained production. The well test results also include compositional data. A
complete analysis is much more desirable than some quick test methods used for
product allocation. Consideration must be given to probable changes in composition
in oil well gases as gas/oil ratios increase.
On the basis of the gas analysis and the market conditions, the process engineer
will prepare a flowsheet for the processing scheme and the mechanical engineer will
prepare detailed designs and mechanical equipment specifications. Preliminary cost
estimates are prepared by the process and/or mechanical engineer. The gas engineer
will make an economic evaluation outlining production, income, expenses and
profitability. If the profitability meets the requirements of the management of a

FUNCTIONS OF ENGINEERING DEPT.


QE
NATURAL GAS AND GASOLINE DIVISION
j -1
I I
I PROCESS ENGINEERING 1 I MECHANICAL ENGINEERING I

I
1 JUSTIFICATION, PROFITABILITY, PAYOUT I
. t ,
(PROJECT)
PROJECT

I HYDROCARBON BALANCE I
I P L O T PLAN 1
I EQUIPMENT RATING 1
L I

I 1
I PROCESS ENGINEERING I 1 - 1
PROCESS PROBLEMS AND CONSTRUCTION
INSTRUMENTATION SUPERVISION

I START UP ]
Fig. 7-18. Example of functions of engineering department of the natural gas and gasoline division
202

particular company, the project will proceed. Economic criteria vary widely; among
those used are payout, rate of return on capital, ratio of cash flow to investment,
and the net present value at a specified discount rate.
Final engineering design may be completed in-house and the engineering draw-
ings submitted to contractors for construction bids, or the entire project may be
submitted to contractors for both final design and construction. The size of the
engineering group determines how much work is done in-house. In very small
companies, a few engineers perform all the engineering functions and preliminary as
well as final design may be made by an engineering contractor.
The various facets of gas engineering are so interrelated that even a specialist,
such as the process or mechanical engineer, should be as familiar as possible with all
aspects of a project, including field production, so that the proper decisions can be
made. The production engineer responsible for field operations should also be
familiar with the problems of the gas processor in order to make the entire
operation run smoothly.

SAMPLE PROBLEMS AND QUESTIONS

(1) Draw a simplified flow 'diagram of absorption, stripping, and stabilization


operations.
(2) Describe three general methods of concentrating the components of gases.
(3) List agents which can remove hydrogen sulfide from natural gases. Also show
corresponding reactions.
(4) Draw a simplified flow diagram and cross section of an ethylene recovery
unit.
(5) For a specific period of operation of the ethylene recovery plant, the
compositions of the various streams are given below in mole%:

Component Feed Make Discharge Purge


29.2 0.0 23.3 42.6
2.9 0.0 2.5 3.9
1.1 0.0 1.1 1.3
1.3 0.0 1.3 1.6
58.4 0.0 71.5 49.2
1.2 13.9 0.2 0.5
5.9 86.2 0.0 0.8
100.0 100.1 99.9 99.9

For the period covered by the table, the number of moles of discharge gas was
1.447 times the number of moles of purge gas, and 94.8% of the C,H, was recovered
in the make gas.
For each 100.0 moles of feed gas, compute the number of moles of each
component and the total number of moles in each of the other streams, entering the
answers on a skeleton-flow diagram.
203

(6) For a specific period of operation of the natural gasoline plant, the composi-
tions of the various streams are given below in mole%:

Raw Absorber Reabsorber Stabilizer Finished


gas residual residual residual gasoline
gas gas gas
Cl 44.5 60.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
c2 16.9 22.9 0.0 0.0 0.0
c3 16.2 14.2 55.4 53.1 0.0
c4 12.1 2.6 44.6 46.9 34.4
c: 10.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 65.6
100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

For each 110.0 moles of the raw gas, compute the number of moles of each
component and the total number of moles in each of the other streams, entering the
answers on a skeleton-flow diagram.
(7) Crude oil is heated in exchangers by the counter-current flow of fuel oil.
Measured at 60°F, the exchangers handle 30,500 gal/hr of the crude and 10,250
gal/hr of the fuel oil. The gravity and U.O.P. characterization factor of the crude
are 35" API and 11.3, whereas those for the fuel oil are 20" API and 11.3,
respectively. The fuel oil is cooled from 750 to 250"F, and the crude enters the
exchangers at 85°F.
Compute the heat lost by the fuel oil in Btu/hr. Estimate the outlet temperature
of the crude oil, assuming all of the heat lost by the fuel oil is picked up by the
crude.
(8) Engineers were studying the advisability of deasphalting lube oil by contact
with a mixture of propane and normal butane. A mixture containing 32.1 mole%
propane, 31.2 mole% butane, and 36.7 mole S lube oil was flashed at 25 psig and
100°F. Under these conditions, the equilibrium ratios ( K= y / x ) were 3.87 for
propane, 1.28 for butane, and 0.00 for the lube oil. For 100.0 moles of the original
mixture, compute the number of moles and mole % of each constituent in the
equilibrium liquid. For the first approximation, assume that the total number of
moles of liquid is 1.75 times the total number of moles of vapor, or L / V = 1.75.
(9) Outline a satisfactory sampling procedure for a nonretrograde wet gas and
sketch the equipment required. What precautions should be taken?
(10) A mixture of nitrogen and propane having a gross heating value of 1035
Btu/cu ft is used as a fuel in lieu of natural gas. It is transported in a buried line. If
the ground temperature is 50"F, what is the maximum permissible pressure that will
avoid condensation of liquid in the line?
(11) (a) Define "equilibrium ratio".
@) What factors affect the value of the equilibrium ratio?
(c) What methods can be used to correlate the most complex of the factors
listed in (b)?
(12) On purchasing propane as a motor fuel, what properties should one specify?
Why? Describe testing procedures.
204

APPENDIX 7.1 - SAMPLE PLANT FLOW PROBLEMS (After Chilingar and Beeson, 1968, pp.
360-365)

Ethylene recovery plant problem

For a specific period of operation of the ethylene recovery plant, the composi-
tions of the various streams are given below in mole %:

Component Feed Make Discharge Purge


30.3 0.0 22.5 49.7
3.1 0.0 2.2 5.3
1.0 0.0 0.7 1.8
1.5 0.0 1.5 1.8
56.7 0.0 72.5 40.0
1.3 12.1 0.5 0.6
6.1 87.9 0.2 0.6
100.0 100.0 100.1 99.8

For the period covered by the table, the number of moles of discharge gas was
1.765 times the number of moles of purge gas, and 95.1% of the C,H, was recovered
in the make gas.
For each 100.0 moles of feed gas, compute the number of moles of each
component and the total number of moles in each of the other streams. Enter the
answers on a skeleton-flow diagram.

Description of plant used for ethylene recovery


The feed gas stream, which is piped directly from the demethanizer column, is
introduced about midway in the tower. It moves upward in contact with (and
countercurrent to) the activated carbon bed, moving downward through the tower.
At 140°F temperature, which is maintained at the feed point, the carbon selectively
adsorbs the ethylene and other gases of higher molecular weights.
The unadsorbed lighter gases, with predominating methane and hydrogen, pass
upward and are removed as a discharge gas. This removal occurs at a disengaging
plate located just below the cooling section at the top of the tower. This discharge
gas is then used around the plant as fuel.
In order to keep the system free of an excessive amount of 60-mesh or finer
carbon particles, a portion of the unadsorbed gases is permitted to pass up the
tower, and past the cooling section, as purge gas.
The adsorbed gases (mostly ethylene) pass downward with the carbon, into the
stripping section, where the temperature of the carbon is increased to about 510°F.
At this temperature the adsorbed gases are desorbed from the carbon, pass back up
the tower, and are removed as make gas at the second disengaging tray situated just
above the stripping section. A small portion of these gases, however, continues on
up past the disengaging tray and serves as reflux in the section of the tower below
205

the feed tray. These gases serve to liberate the lighter components which may
contaminate the adsorbed material.
The last traces of adsorbed gases are removed by the steam (at 150 psig), which is
introduced below the stripping section. This steam passes upward and out with the
make gas, and is then condensed in a cooler. In order to remove the remaining
moisture from the product, the make gas is finally passed through an alumina
dehydrator.
As the carbon leaves the base of the tower, it is moved back up to the top
through a pipe. A sealing leg at the bottom of the tower prevents the stripping steam
from entering the lift section. The gas pressure for lifting the carbon is supplied by a
centrifugal blower. On reaching the top of the tower the carbon is dehydrated and
cooled to about 120°F in the cooling section.

Solution:

(95.1)( 6.1)
Moles of C,H, = = 5.8 moles
100

5.8
Total moles in make gas = -- 6.6 moles
0.879

Material balance:

100.0= 6.6 + P + 1.765P

solving for P (moles of purge gas)

P = 33.8 moles

and

D = 100 - 33.8 - 6.6 = 59.6 moles (discharge gas)


Component Feed Make Discharge Purge
Mole % Mole % Moles Mole % Moles Mole % Moles
H2 30.3 0.0 0.0 22.5 i3.4 49.7 16.9
NZ 3.1 0.0 0.0 2.2 1.3 5.3 1.8
0 2 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 0.4 1.8 0.6
co 1.5 0.0 0.0 1.5 0.9 1.8 0.6
CH, 56.7 0.0 0.0 72.5 43.2 40.0 13.5
CZH, 1.3 12.1 0.8 0.5 0.3 0.6 0.2
C2H4 6.1 87.9 5.8 0.2 0.1 0.6 0.2
100.0 100.0 6.6 100.1 59.6 99.8 33.8
206

Moles
Purge 33.8
Discharge 59.6 -=-
59*6 - 1.765
P 33.8
Make 6.6
100.0

5.8
Recovery of C,H, in make gas = - = 95.1%
6.1

Natural gasoline plant problem

The compositions of various streams (mole %) in a natural gasoline plant are as


follows:
Component Raw gas Absorber Reabsorber Stabilizer Finished
residual gas residual gas residual gas gasoline
c, 76.0 84.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
c2 9.5 10.5 ' 0.0 0.0 0.0
c3 6.0 3.9 78.6 73.7 0.0
c4 4.5 1.7 21.4 26.3 35.5
c; 4.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 64.5
100.0 100.1 100.0 100.0 100.0

Assume that the liquid volumes are additive and that 1 gal of gasoline can be
obtained from 37.0 scf of C, vapor, 31.0 scf of C, vapor, or 26.0 scf of C: vapor.
(a) Calculate the number of moles (based on 100 moles of raw gas) for each
stream and each component.
(b) Calculate the total number of moles per day (based on 15,000 standard Mcf
per day of raw gas being processed) of residual gases from the absorber, the
reabsorber, and the stabilizer.
(c) Calculate the composition of the raw gasoline fed to the stabilizer.
(d) Compute the number of gallons per day of finished gasoline produced (based
on 15,000 standard Mcf per day of raw gas being processed).

Description of natural gasoline plant


The natural gasoline plant (see Figs. 7.1-1, 7.1-2, 7.1-3, and 7.1-4) is processing gas
which is pumped from the casing heads of oil wells. The raw gas is compressed,
cooled, and then sent upward through an absorbing column, countercurrent to a
stream of cold absorption oil. The residual (or fuel) gas leaving the absorber
contains almost all of the C, and C, present in the raw gas. As the gasoline-rich
absorbing oil leaves the bottom of the absorber, it is pumped through a heat
exchanger, and through a steam preheater, into a common stripping still and
207
FIELD FUEL r

COMPOSITIONS
VOLUME %
WET RESIDUE LlOUlD FIELD
GAS GAS HYDROCARBONS FUEL
METHANE 80.38 90.87 0 70.55
ETHANE
PROPANE
ISO- BUTANE 9 58
NORMAL BUTANE 2.24 .02 2 3 14
PENTANE + I69 17 4 4
100 00 100 00 100 00 100 00

Fig. 7.1-1. Example of compositions of various flow streams in a natural gasoline plant.

rectifier. The stripped absorption oil, which is devoid of all gasoline fractions, is
pumped from the bottom of the still through the above mentioned heat exchanger,

-
and through a cooler, back to the top of the absorption column.

4
LIGHT
FRACTIONS
!I

UTILITIES
STEAM
ABSORPTION RIC DlSTILLATION FRACTIONATION WATER
AREA AREA AREA E L E C T R I C POWER
COMPRESSED A I R

t
TO STORAGE
SPEC I F IC A T ION N A T U R A L

HYDROCARBONS

Fig. 7.1-2. Schematic flow diagram showing the various areas of gasoline plant.
208

,
r----* -
-

Fig. 7.1-3. Flow diagram of absorption area

The raw gasoline vapors from the top of the still are partially condensed and
collected in a small rundown tank. Inasmuch as the uncondensed vapors contain
sufficient amounts of pentane and heavier hydrocarbons, they are sent up through a
small reabsorber in order to relieve the main absorber of a heavy recycle load. The
reabsorber is fed at the top with gasoline-free absorption oil; and the rich oil from
the bottom is added to the rich oil from the absorber. The reabsorber does not
absorb propane, but absorbs some of the butane and all of the pentane. The
unabsorbed gas from the reabsorber is a residual or fuel gas.
The condensed raw gasoline from the still is pumped through the second heat
exchanger, and a steam preheater, to a stabilizer. The residual or fuel gas taken
overhead contains all of the propane, part of the butane, but none of the pentane.

Gosolip Vapors and Stwm


t c
I

Hot Lton Oil ACCUMULATOR


Cold Leon Oil

COOLER
Fig. 7.1-4. Flow diagram of distillation area.
209

The finished, propane-free gasoline is pumped from the bottom of the stabilizer
through the second heat exchanger and a cooler to storage.

Solution:
Absorber residual gas:
C, = 84.0%= 76.0 moles

Total moles = -
loo x 76.0 = 90.5 moles
84.0
3.9
c, = -
84.0
x 76.0 = 3.5 moles, etc.

Finished gasoline:

C: = 64.5%= 4.0 moles

Total moles = -
loo x 4.0 = 6.2 moles
64.5
35.5
c, = -
64.5
x 4.0 = 2.2 moles

Reabsorber residual gas and stabilizer residual gas:


If R and S are the total number of moles in these two streams, respectively, then

0.786R+0.737S=2.5; 0.214 R + 0 . 2 6 3 S = ( 3 . 0 - 2 . 2 ) = 0 . 8

On solving these two equations simultaneously,


S = 1.9 moles and R = 1.4 moles

(a) The number of moles of C , , C , , C , , C,, and :


C in: (1) absorber residual gas
are 76.0, 9.5, 3.5, 1.5, and 0.0, respectively; (2) reabsorber residual gas are 0.0, 0.0,
1.1,0.3, and 0.0, respectively; (3) stabilizer residual gas are 0.0, 0.0, 1.4,0.5, and 0.0,
respectively; and (4) finished gasoline are 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 2.2, and 4.0, respectively.

15,000,000 = 39,600
(b) Moles/day raw gas =
379

Absorber residual gas = 0.905 X 39,600 = 35,800 moles/day


Reabsorber residual gas = 0.014 X 39,600 = 550 moies/day
Stabilizer residual gas = 0.019 x 39,600 = 750 moles/day

Note: At 60'F and a pressure of 760 mm Hg,the volume of 1 Ib-mole of a perfect gas is 379.4 cu ft (379
is commonly used).
210

(c) The number of moles of C , , C,, C,, C,, and C: in raw gasoline fed to the
stabilizer are 0.0, 0.0, 1.4,2.7, and 4.0, respectively. Thus,
Feed to stabilizer = 0.081 X 39,600 = 3210 moles/day.
(d) Finished gasoline:
C , = 0.022 x 15,000,000/31 = 10,600 gal/day
C: = 0.040 X 15,000,000/26 = 23,100 gal/day

Total 33,700 gal/day

REFERENCES
American Gas Association, 1965. Gas Engineers Handbook. Industrial Press, New York, N.Y., pp. 2-13.
Chilingar, G.V. and Beeson, C.M., 1968. Surface Operations in Petroleum Production. Am. Elsevier, New
York, N.Y., 397 pp.
Gas Processors Association, 1980a. LPG Specifications and Test Methods. Publication 2140. G.P.A.,
Tulsa, Okla. 42 pp.
Gas Processors Association, 1980b. Calculation of Gross Heating Value, Specific Gravity and Compressibil-
ity of Natural Gas Mixturesfrom Compositional Analysis. Publication 2172. G.P.A., Tulsa, Okla., 6 pp.
Gas Processors Association, 1980c. Method for Determination of Hydrogen Sulfide and Mercaptan Sulfur
in Natural Gas. Publication 2265. G.P.A., Tulsa, Okla.
Gas Processors Association, 1980d. Natpral Gasoline Specifications and Test Methods. Publication 3132.
G.P.A., Tulsa, Okla., 33 pp.
Katz, D.L., Cornell, D., Kobayashi, R., Poettmann, F.H., Vary,J.A., Elenbaas, J.R. and Weinaug, C.F.,
1959. Handbook of Natural Gas Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., 802 pp.
Kennedy, J.L., 1972. Ekofisk plans include gas injection at 9200 psi. Oil Gas J., 70(9): 69-73.
Maddox, R.N., 1974. Gas and Liquid Sweetening (Petroleum Series). Campbell, Norman, Okla., 300 pp.
Momson, W.E., 1964. Summary of Energy Balance for the U.S. I.C. Bur. Mines Inf. Circ. 8242.
Natural Gas Processors Suppliers Association, 1962. Liquefied Petroleum Gas Specifications and Test
Methods. N.G.P.S.A., Tulsa, Okla., 36 pp.
Natural Gas Processors Suppliers Association, 1966. Engineering Data Book. N.G.P.S.A., Tulsa, Okla.,
310 pp.
Natural Gas Processors Suppliers Association, 1972. Engineering Data Book. N.G.P.S.A., Tulsa, Okla.,
425 pp. (Latest revision).
Pacific Energy Association, 1943. Determination of Hydrogen Sulfide in Natural Gas. Bull. TS-431. P.E.A.,
Vernon, Calif.
Pacific Energy Association, 1950. Determination of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen in Natural Gases. Bull.
TS-501. P.E.A., Vernon, Calif.
Pacific Energy Association, 1966. Methods of Test for Liquefied Petroleum Gas. Bull. TS-441. P.E.A.,
Vernon, Calif., 81 pp.
Western Gas Processors and Oil Refiners Association, 1950a. Method for Determining the Specific Graviv
of Gases. Bull. TS-391. W.G.P & O.R.A., Long Beach, Calif.
Western Gas Processors and Oil Refiners Association (formerly California Natural Gasoline Association),
1950b. Tentative Standard Procedure for the Determination of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen in Natural
Gases. Bull. TS-501. W.G.P. & O.R.A., Los Angeles, Calif., 16 pp.
Western Gas Processors and Oil Refiners Association, 1956. Tentative Standard Procedure for the
Measurement ofNatural Gas with Orifice Meters. Bull. TS-561. W.G.P. & O.R.A., Los Angeles, Calif.,
89 PP.
Western Gas Processors and Oil Refiners Association, 1965. Tentative Standards of Test for Liquefied
Petroleum Gas. Bull. TS-441. W.G.P. & O.R.A., Los Angeles, Calif., 81 pp.
Western Gas Processors and Oil Refiners Association, 1955. Tentative Standard Method of Test for the
Reid Vapor Pressure of Natural Gasoline. Bull. TS-352. W.G.P. & O.R.A. Los Angeles, Calif., 22 pp.
Wilson, H.M., 1974. Three flow stations will handle Prudhoe East Production. Oil Gas J., 72(11): 57-72.
211

Chapter 8

OIL AND GAS TRANSPORT

SANJAY KUMAR and GEORGE V. CHILINGARIAN

MTRODUCTION

Inasmuch as it is usually much cheaper to use pipelines than to use barges,


tankers, trucks, etc., complex transcontinental piping systems have been developed.
Some of the major advantages of using pipelines include:
(1) Economy.
(2) Reliability under almost all conditions (e.g., adverse weather, breakdowns,
non-availability of tankers, etc.).
(3) Control: An installed pipeline can usually handle a wide range of flow rates.
(4) Continuity of flow, which is highly desirable in modern continuous-flow oil
refineries, because a minimum of storage facilities are required at either end.
The designs of simple systems are briefly discussed here. The fundamental concepts
involved are very useful and their knowledge is absolutely essential for any practic-
ing petroleum engineer.

FUNDAMENTALS OF FLOW IN PIPES

Reynolds applied dimensional analysis to the phenomenon of the transition from


laminar to turbulent flow. He concluded that it occurred at a fixed value of a
dimensionless group, which is called the Reynolds number ( N R e )in his honor:

NRe = dVp/p = d V / v = inertia forces/viscous forces (8-1)

where d = diameter of the conduit through which the fluid is flowing, V = velocity

V = O AT PIPE WALL
I

LAMINAR FLOW TURBULENT FLOW

Fig. 8-1.Velocity profiles in a circular conduit for laminar flow (left) and turbulent flow (right).
212

2
of the fluid, p = density of the fluid,’ p = dynamic viscosity of fluid, and
Y = kinematic viscosity of fluid.
For laminar or viscous flow, N,, < 2100; for transitional or intermediate flow,
2100 < N R e < 10,000 3 , and for turbulent flow, N,, > 10,000.3
For cases where the flow is not through a cylindrical pipe (the cross-section is
other than circular), the concept of effective diameter has been developed:

d, =4R, (8-2)
where hydraulic radius, R , = (area of flow)/(wetted perimeter).
If the cross-section of a pipe is square, for example, cross-sectional area of
flow = a’,

d a2 a
wetted perimeter = 4 a , and R , = = -= -. Thus: d , = 4 R , = a .
4 4a 4
In the case of circular cross section, area of flow, A = r d 2 / 4 , wetted perimeter
=rd, R , = ( m d 2 / 4 ) / ( r d )= d / 4 , and d , = 4 R , = d .
The schematic diagrams of velocity profiles for laminar and turbulent flows are
shown in Fig. 8-1.
Allowable working pressure of pipeline
The allowable working pressure of a pipeline, p a , is equal to:
St’Fe ( d o - d , )
Pa = (8-3)
do
where S = specified minimum yield strength, psi; t’ = temperature derating factor,
dimensionless; F = design factor (construction type); e = longitudinal joint factor
(i.e., anomaly due to weld seam); it is equal to 1.0, except for butt-welded
ASTM-A53, API-5L ( = 0.6), fusion-welded A 134 and A 139 ( = 0.8), and spiral-
welded A 211 (= 0.8); d , = inside diameter of pipe, in.; d o = outside diameter of
pipe, in.

The specific weight, y , is the weight per unit volume and can be expressed in terms of lb/cu ft. The
density, p’, which is mass per unit volume and is equal to y / g , where g is the gravitational acceleration
( = 32.174 ft-sec-’), can be expressed in terms of slugs/cu ft. For example, pure water, which has a
specific weight of 62.4 lb/cu ft, has a density, p ’ , of 1.94 ( = 62.4/32.17) slugs/cu ft. In other words, the
mass is attracted by the earth with a force of magnitude p’g. Inasmuch as 1 slug = 32.17 lb,, a density of
1 slug/ft3 = 32.17 lb,/ft3. The density expressed in lb,/ft3 will be designated by p throughout this
book.
Inasmuch as p = shear stress/shear strain = T/(dV/dy), the units of dynamic viscosity are Ibfsec/ft2
or slugs/ft-sec. 1 poise = 100 centipoises = 1dyne-sec/cm2 = 1 g/cm-sec = 0.00209 slug/ft-sec = 0.00209
lb,sec/ft’ = 0.0673 Ib,/ft-sec. 1 slug/ft-sec = 479 poises. 1 stoke -100 centistokes -1 cm2/sec =
0.001076 ft‘/sec.
Value of 3100-4000 is commonly assigned to this limit.
213

Horsepower

The hydraulic horsepower, P,, is equal to 0.000017 X bbl/D X psig = 0.00053 X


gal/min X psig.

Friction

Obviously, friction is associated with any kind of flow. Pipes are defined as
smooth, if the relative roughness k, (= r/di) is < ( c = absolute surface
roughness in inches and di = inside diameter of pipe in ft).
The Fanning equation for steady state flow in uniform circular pipes which are
full of liquid under isothermal conditions is as follows:

where A p , = pressure loss due to friction, lb/ft2; f = Fanning. friction factor,


dimensionless; I = length of pipe, ft; V = fluid velocity, ft/sec; y = fluid specific
weight, lb/ft3; p = density (mass/unit volume), lb,/ft3; g = gravitational accelera-
tion, 32.2 ft/sec2; g, = dimensional constant, 32.2 lb,-ft/lb-sec2; and d = diameter
of pipe, ft.
If A p , is expressed in psi, the eq. 8-4 becomes:

The Fanning friction factor, f , is equal to:

16
f = - for laminar flow, '
NRe

f = 0.1419( N R e ) -0.3192 for intermediate flow,

f = 4 log- NReJT for partially turbulent flow, and


1.4126

According to Hagen and Poiseuille, at N R e ranging from 2000 to 2300, f = 64/NR,. Thus, extreme
care must be exercised on using values of f available in the literature, because they may be multiples of
the f given in Fig. 8-2. The equation f = 64/( V d p / p ) is widely accepted.
214

1 = 4 log- NReJT
-
1.255
JT
for fully turbulent flow (Prandtl-Khrmhn formula)
For rough pipes, using the absolute roughness, E in microinches, the above relation-
ships are slightly modified:

1 2.51
(8-9)

for intermediate flow (Colebrook's relation),

1 3.71di
- = 4 log-
sr NRe
for turbulent flow (Prandtl-Khrmhn equation), (8-10)

f=f, + 0.68NRef? - (Supino formula), (8-11)


i i i )

where f, = friction factor for smooth pipes. These equations present fairly good
approximations over a wide range of NRe.
The most widely used correlation between NRe and f (Moody, 1944) is shown in
Fig. 8-2. For an excellent discussion of fundamentals of flow in pipes, the reader is
referred to Szilas (1975) and Craft et al. (1962, pp. 1-100).

Friction head loss in fittings and connections

The Crane Company, which conducted exhaustive tests to find the resistance of
valves and fittings to single-phase flow, classified all valves and fittings as follows:
( 1 ) Branching- tees, crosses, side-outlet elbows, etc.
(2) Reducing or expanding-swages, reducers, chokes, bushings, etc.
( 3 ) Deflecting-elbows, bends, return bends, etc.
Crane Company also included an equivalent length concept, i.e., expressing head
loss due to the friction in valves and fittings in terms of equivalent head loss due to
the friction in a straight pipe.

In 1911, Blasius formulated the following empirical equation for turbulent flow:

f = 0.316/N;<'.

This equation is valid for smooth pipes at Reynolds numbers up to about lo5.
Formula 8-8 is commonly called Prandtl's formula and is expressed as follows:
Fig. 8-2. Friction factors for various types of commercial pipes. (From Moody. 1944 p. 671; courtesy of the Am. Soc. Mech. Eng.) NRr= V D p / p . where
V = velocity in ft/sec, D = pipe diameter in ft, p = fluid density, Ib/cu ft. and p = viscosity of fluid in Ib/ft-sec (cP/1488).

215
216

I'( - ")* FEET OF FLUID

SEE ALSO EQUATION (5)


IF A, = 00 SO THAT V, = 0
h = - 'I' FEET OF FLUID

V'
h = K - FEET OF FLUID
29

Fig. 8-3. Resistance coefficients for valves and fittings (reprinted from Engineering Data Book, 1979, p
75, table 32 (a); courtesy of the Hydraulic Institute, Cleveland, OH).
217

FI
I -
BELL MOUTH
INLET OR REDUCER
K=0.05

SQUARE EDGED INLET


REGULAR
SCREWED
45O ELL.
K

K = 0.5

INWARD PROJECTING PIPE


K = 1.0

I
NOTE: K DECREASES WITH
INCREASING WALL THICKNESS OF
PIPE AND ROUNDING OF EDGES

LINE
FLOW
1

3'. .5 I n 2 A SCREWED
TEE

BRANCH
FLOW

h=K -
V'
2a
FEET OF FLUID
Fig. 8-3 continued.
21 8

0.wm
0.w15
0.w10
D
-
O.OW5
SMOOTH

0 1 2 3 4 s (I 7 8 8 10
R
-
D

Fig. 8-4. Resistance coefficients for 90" bends of uniform diameter. (From Engineering Data Book, 1979,
p. 79; courtesy of the Hydraulic Institute; Cleveland, OH).

The decrease in static head due to velocity is expressed as:


V2

and if there is a valve or fitting in the line, then the head loss due to the friction h , is

t
K
06

04

03

02

01

00
10 15 20 25 30 35 40

Fig. 8-5. Resistance coefficient for sudden reducers. (From Engineering Data Book, 1979, p. 82; courtesy
of the Hydraulic Institute. Cleveland, OH).
219

equal to:

V2
hl=K- (8-12)
2g
where K = resistance coefficient, defined as the number of velocity heads lost due to
the valve or fitting.
Inasmuch as the same head loss can be also expressed by the Fanning equation:

h 1 v2
=f--
d 2g

1
K=f- (8-13)
d
The ratio l / d is the equivalent length (in pipe diameters) of straight pipe, which will
cause the same pressure drop as the fitting under the same flow conditions. Thus,
the equivalent length (in ft) of a straight pipe, I,, is equal to:

(8-14)

where ( I / d ) = equivalent l / d for a given fitting, and d = diameter of the pipe in


which the fi&g is installed.
The K values for various valves and pipe fittings are presented in Figs. 8-3, 8-4,
8-5, 8-6.

PRINCIPLES OF PUMPING

Pumping mechanisms

The six basic mechanisms of artificially-induced fluid flow are (Perry and
Chilton, 1973): (1) the action of centrifugal force, (2) volumetric displacement
(mechanical or by another fluid), (3) mechanical impulse, (4)transfer of momentum
by another fluid, (5) electromagnetic force, and (6) gravity. The mechanisms (1) and
(2) are commonly used in the petroleum industry.

Measurement of performance

The amount of useful work performed by a fluid-transport device is the product


of the rate (capacity) at which fluid is transmitted and the head (the height of a
column of fluid equivalent to the pressure differential between inlet and outlet ends
of the device). Capacity can be expressed in ft3/min, whereas head can be expressed
in ft.
220

h
NDTF:

GL GATE VALVE -3,000


'14 CLOSED
'/2 CLOSED
- 2,000
' -FULLY OPEN
--~1,000 50
-
7 500
ANGLE VALVE, OPEN
I
STANDARD TEE -
- 300 30 30
- 200
22
/SQUARE I- 20
=loo !
SWING CHECK VALVE,
FULLY OPEN F++
,BORDA ENTRANCE 14
16

--
-I

-
-- 0.5
- 0.3 I

- 0.2
LONG SWEEP ELBOW OR'
RUN OF STANDARD TEE
- 0.1
0.5

Fig. 8-6. Resistance of valves and fittings to flow of fluids. (Reprinted from Technical Paper No. 409,
1942; courtesy of Crane Co., New York).
221

The overall efficiency of the pumping system is defined as the ratio of useful
hydraulic work performed to the input work to the device.

8.33HGQ -
--H p
Hydraulic horsepower, P h = (8-15)
33000 1714
where H = total dynamic head, ft of liquid; H p = total dynamic head, psi; Q =
volumetric rate of flow, gal/min; and G = specific gravity with respect to water
( G , = 1). The brake horsepower of a pump, P b , is greater than the theoretical or
hydraulic horsepower by the amount of losses in the pump due to friction, leakage,
etc. The efficiency of the pump, vp, can, therefore, be defined as:

'h
v, =- (8-16)
'b

The total dynamic head H is equal to the total discharge head h , minus the total
suction head h , . The total suction head, h,, is equal to:

h , = h,, + ha + h,, (8-17)

where h,, = potential energy head at suction end, i.e., pressure head recorded on a
pressure gauge at the suction end in ft of liquid; h,, = velocity head, ft of liquid, at
the point of gauge attachment; and h a = atmospheric pressure head, ft of liquid.
Total discharge head, h,, is equal to:

h, = h,, + h a + h,, (8-18)

where h,, = pressure gauge reading at discharge end, ft of liquid, and h,, = velocity
head at discharge end, f t of liquid. Velocity head ( V 2 / 2 g )is equal to the vertical
distance necessary for a body to fall to acquire the velocity V.
There are limitations on the net positive suction head of the pump ( N P S H ) . The
maximum theoretical vertical distance between the pump and the level of suction
exposed to atmosphere is given by the following formula:

N P S H = h,, - h , - h , (8-19)

where h,, = static suction head, which is equal to the absolute pressure at the source
(ft of liquid) plus the vertical distance from this level to the pump center line;
h,, = friction head; and h , = head equivalent to the vapor pressure of the liquid.

OIL PIPELINE TRANSPORTATION

The flow of crude oil in a pipeline may be assumed to be isothermal if the oil
viscosity is low and the inflow temperature is close to the surrounding soil
temperature.
222

The design of a pipeline for hilly terrains has been discussed in detail by Beggs
and Brill (1972) and several others (see Chapter 9). Assuming a Newtonian liquid,
the principles are presented here.
As mentioned previously, the friction loss over a length of uniform pipe is given
by eq. 8-4:

This equation can be presented as follows:

(8-20)

where:

(8-21)

and h h is the hydraulic gradient.


Thus:

h , , =ALP = h I (8-22)
h
Y

where h,, = the total suction head at any point x along the length of the pipe and
y = specific weight of fluid.
One can then use the criterion of hydraulic gradient to determine the possible flow
over a given terrain, as shown in Fig. 8-7. Gradient h , is calculated using eq. 8-21,
and a line with a slope equal to this gradient is drawn from the outlet end 0 to the
inlet end. If this line A’ intersects the ground profile, there are two options:
(1) Increase the inlet head to h , . In this case, A’ is shifted upwards until it just
touches the profile at M. Because of safety considerations (safety factor), h , must
be higher than this minimum by 30-50 m.
(2) Increase the head h , to hma. This results in a line B having a different slope.
The point M is called the critical point, where the pressure head of the flowing
liquid is the lowest. If no throttling is applied at the tail end 0, the oil arrives at
atmospheric pressure, whereas if throttling is applied, the pressure head at the outlet
is h , .
The point M‘ in the valley is also critical, because one must calculate the pressure
head h and limit it to the maximum allowable operating pressure of the pipeline
( P= b ’ g ) .
The maximum flow rate in the pipeline can be determined as follows:
(1) Calculate the maximum head, h,, corresponding to the maximum allowable
operating pressure of the pipeline.
223

i 7
hl

1
09

Distance, f ? - f'
Fig. 8-7. Pressure profile for a pipeline laid over a hilly terrain. (Modified after Szilas, 1975, p. 479, fig.
7.1-1; courtesy of Akademiai Kiad6, Budapest, Hungary).

( 2 ) Determine the constants a and b in the equation f = a N i : for the flow


regime anticipated and the pipe in question. These are usually given in the pipe
manuals.
( 3 ) Substitute the above equation for f in eq. 8-21:

Inasmuch as V = -and g = 32.2 ft/sec-',


d277/4

(8-24)

or

(8-25)

This equation can be used to determine the maximum Q for a maximum h,, if
the only pump station is at the head end.
224

Example 8-1

Determine the maximum throughput of a 30-in. API 5LX grade X46 pipe
(maximum allowable stress, Sa(,,) = 21,000 psi), if the safety factor, F, = 1.2,
relative roughness c / d = l o p 6 (smooth pipe), d o = 30 in., d i = 28 in., Go,= 0.84,
poi,= 4 cP, pipe length = 40 miles, and outlet is located 400 ft above inlet.

Solution:

S, = Sam,/< = 21,000/1.2 = 17,500 psi.

Maximum allowable working pressure is given by eq. 8-3:

For additional safety, t h s h,, is, reduced by about 5%:

h,, = 3205 (0.95) = 3045 ft

Then, hh(,=) = (3045 - 400)/(40)(5280) = 0.012524 ft/ft

p, =4 CP= 4 x 6.72 X lb,/ft-sec =4 x 2.09 x l o T 5lb,sec/ft2,

p (4)(2.09)(10-5)
.. . v = o = = 5.2 x l o p 5 ft2/sec.
O po (0.84)(62.4)/32.2

Using a = 0.05 and b = 0.19 in eq. 8-24, Q can be calculated:

= 50.225 ft3/sec = 32,200 bbl/hr.

Increasing flow capacity of pipelines

There are two ways of increasing the flow capacity of an existing pipeline, which
should be achteved with a least-cost objective in mind:
(1) By installing one or more intermediate pumping stations along the pipeline.
(2) By installing a second pipeline alongside the already existing pipeline. This
so-called looped system is of two kinds:
225

(a) Complete loop-installation of a new line of the same length, but not
necessarily of the same diameter.
(b) Partial loop-installation of a new line shorter than the old line but of the
same inside diameter. This new line is preferably started at the tail end, in order to
achieve a lower average pressure in the entire system.
For short sections of the Moody friction factor chart, one can express f as an
exponential function of NRe:

f = aNi:

where a and b are constants. Assuming a = 0.05 and b = 0.19,

f = 0.05Ni:.19 (8-26)

From eq. 8-21:

2 f V 2 = 2(0.05)N;f,0.'9V2
hh= -
gdi 32.2di

- 0.05V2 diV
--
16.1di
-
(v)
~ 1 . 8 v0.19
1
= 0.0031 (8-27)
d;.l9

Inasmuch as V = Q / ( n / 4 ) d ? , in terms of Q, h , is equal to:

h h = 0 . 0 0 3 9 5 ~ ~-
"~( :*;:::) (8-28)

Thus:

Ql.81 = 252.95hhd,!.81
v0.19

or

(8-29)

and

(8-30)
226

These equations for h,, Q , and di can be used to calculate the parameters of the
new pipeline required.

( I ) Complete loop
Complete loop is regarded as two independent pipelines. In order to calculate the
diameter of the new pipeline, the following procedure must be followed:
If Qlmax=maximum flow rate in old pipeline (line l), Q, = total flow rate
desired, and Q, = flow rate in new Line 2 only, then Q , = Q, - elmax.
It is assumed that hhmaxis the same for both pipelines 1 and 2.
Equation 8-30 can be used to get the diameter of the new line d , (Q, = Q , , and
h h = hhmax):

di, = 0.3165( ~ ~ . ~ ~ ~ ~ Q 2 0 . ~ ~ ~ ) / h 2 ~ (8-31)

(2) Partial loop


In the case of partial loop for delivering at a rate Q, > elmax,
the gradient in each
line would be h , > hhmax.Using eq. 8-28:

hhl = 0.00395(

Inasmuch as the two pipelines have equal diameter and the same inlet pressure,
each will carry oil at a rate of Q,/2. Thus:

h,, = 0.00395( Q,/2)1'81/d4.81

Dividing hhl by h,, and solving for h,:

h,, = h h l ( i ) 1 . 8=
1 0.285hh1 (8-32)

After determining the two gradients, the length of the new pipeline can be either
calculated or determined graphically.
Graphical method. If the new pipeline is started at the head end Z, which is
done when pressure is to be maintained in the line due to hilly terrain, trace a
gradient h,, from the head end I and a gradient h,, from the tail end 0 as shown
in Fig. 8-8. The intersection point K enables determination of the length of the new
pipeline.
If the new pipeline is to be started from the tail end, which is preferable, then the
two gradients are reversed, as shown by the dashed lines meeting at point K'.
Calculation method. Refemng to Fig. 8-8:

h = h h m a x l = h h l ( l - l x+) h h , / ,
227

Dis?ance(l), miles W
-

Fig. 8-8. Pressure profile for a twin looped pipeline over a hilly terrain. (Modified after Szilas, 1975, p.
482, fig. 7.1-2; courtesy of Akademiai Kiad6, Budapest, Hungary),

Thus:

(8-33)

Example 8-2. Propose a feasible design for increasing the capacity to 75 ft3/sec,
using the data in Example 8-1.

Solution:
(1) For a complete loop:

Q , = 75 - 50.87 = 24.13 ft3/sec.

Using eq. 8-31:

d , , = (0.3165v0.0395Q,0~376)/h gz
- (0.3165) [ (5.128)(10 - )] 0.0395( 24.13)0.376
-
( 0.012784)0'208

= 1.756 ft = 21 inches.
The closest standard pipe size is Schedule 80, 24 in. OD, 21.562 in. ID, with a
wall thickness of 1.219 in.
228

(2) For a partial loop system:


Using eq. 8-28:

h hl = (0.00395v0.19Q:.81)/d4.81

= ((0.00395) [ (5 .128)(10-5)]0.19(75)'.8')/(28/12)4.8'
= 0.02543 ft/ft.

Using eq. 8-32:

h h , = 0.285hh, = (0.285)(0.02543) = 0.007248 ft/ft.

The length of the new pipeline in miles can be determined using eq. 8-33:

[x=
0.02543 - 0.012784
[ 0.02543 - 0.007248
]
(40) = 27.82 miles.

Booster pump stations


In designing booster pump stations, a simple graphical method can be used to
determine the minimum number of stations required.
Assuming that the oil is injected into the pipeline at pump stations at the
maximum allowable pressure of the pipeline, input pressure is the same at all
stations, except (usually) the last one. In designing for a minimum number of
pumping stations, the pressure gradient in the pipeline must reach the ground zero
level at the next pumping station along the line.
As shown in Fig. 8-9, starting from h,, at I , the gradient hh is plotted until it
intersects the ground profile. At this point, the second pumping station (the first
booster pump station) must be installed. Again the pressure at point B reaches h,,
and the same procedure is repeated for all the intersections with the ground profile,
until the outlet end 0 is reached. In Fig. 8-9 the last booster station will deliver oil
beyond point 0 (see Szilas, 1975, pp. 484-485).

Branching pipelines
Often, a single pipeline (called the main line or trunk line) is employed to
transport oil over large distances to a central location, from where it branches out to
various processing units. In order to determine the unthrottled throughputs of the
branch lines for any flow rate Q in the main line, both calculation and graphical
techniques can be employed (Szilas, 1975). It is much easier, however, to use a
simple log-log plot. The procedure is outlined below.
Consider a branched pipeline (Fig. 8-10.a) with flow rates Q , = 70 ft3/sec,
Q2 = 100 ft3/sec and Q3 = 150 ft3/sec. Then, using the h versus Q relationship for
these lines, draw the three h versus Q lines for the three branching pipelines. These
229

-
0

0'

Distonce(l), miles
Fig. 8-9. Pressure traverse with booster stations. (Modified after Szilas, 1975, p. 485, fig. 7.1-3; courtesy of
Akadtmiai Kiadb, Budapest, Hungary).

will all be parallel and are equivalent to a single line with a throughput.of Q,, which
is the sum of Q,, Q2 and Q3 (see Fig. 8-10.b).
From eq. 8-24:

3 'I 10 100 100


FLOW RATE, ~ ( f t J / r e c )
O3 @ G
Fig. 8-10. (a) Branching pipelines. (b) Flow rate versus head relation for branching pipelines. (Modifie
after Szilas, 1975, p. 487, fig. 7.1-5; courtesy of AkadCmiai Kiadb, Budapest, Hungary).
230

or

h, =KQ2-b (8-34)

where

2avb
K= is constant.
32.245 - b ( ;)2-

For a horizontal terrain, head loss h , is equal to discharge head h at the junction
B:

or log h = log K + ( 2 - b ) log Q . (8-35)

Equation 8-35 indicates that on a log-log paper, Q versus h relation is a straight


line. Inasmuch as ( 2 - b ) is a constant, the Q versus h relations for the branching
pipelines are parallel to each other, but have different K values.
The Q versus h relations for different pipelines are plotted on the log-log paper.
Adding the flow rates Q,, Q 2 ,. . . Q , of these pipelines yields a parallel line of the
same slope. This line is called the equivalent line and gives the sum of the
throughputs of the branch pipelines for any given head h. Thus, for any given total
flow rate Q , , one can get the throughputs Q,, Q 2 , ... Q , for the branch pipelines.
This is illustrated in Fig. 8-10.

NONISOTHERMAL FLOW

Pipelines transporting oil are commonly buried in the ground. If the oil viscosity
is high and the temperature of the flowing oil is significantly different from that of
the surrounding medium, the flow cannot be regarded as isothermal.

Fundamentals of heat transfer

Heat transmission can occur in three different ways: (1) conduction; (2) convec-
tion: (a) free and (b) forced; and (3) radiation.
When two bodies at different temperatures are in contact, conduction is the
dominant mechanism, whereas if the two bodies are not in contact but are separated
by a fluid body, the dominant mechanism is convection. In the latter case, the
temperature is transferred by the fluid in motion. If the two bodies are separated by
a vacuum, the mechanism of heat transport is radiation. Only conduction and
convection, however, are discussed in this chapter.
231

Conduction
Fourier's law is the fundamental differential equation for heat transfer by
conduction:
_
dq - dT
- - kA- (8-36)
dt dx
where dq/dt is the rate of flow of heat (quantity per unit time), Btu/hr; A is the
cross-sectional area across which heat flows, ft2; dT/dx is the rate of change of
temperature with distance in the direction of flow of heat (the temperature gradient),
"F/ft; and k is the constant called thermal conductivity, which is a characteristic
property of the material through which the heat is flowing and varies with
temperature, Btu/ft-hr-OF. Equation 8-36 can be used to derive the following
unsteady state energy equation for static fluids or solids in 3 dimensions:

cp( g) = &(kg) + $(k g ) + A(


) :k + q' (8-37)

where x, y , z are the distances along the x, y , z axes in Cartesian coordinates;


c = specific heat, Btu/lb,"F; p = fluid density, lb,/ft3; and q' = rate of heat
generation by chemical or nuclear reaction, electric current, etc.
In order to conform more closely to the physical shape of the system, this
equation can be transformed into cylindrical or spherical coordinates. In vector
notation, it may be written as follows:

(8-38)

Thermal conductivity, k, is approximately constant over a small range of tempera-


ture. Thus, eq. 8-38 can be simplified:
aT
CP-
at
= kV2T + 4' (8-39)

Steady-state conduction. For steady-state heat flow, dq/dt is constant and


aT/at = 0. Thus, eq. 8-39 becomes:
V2T= - q ' / k (8-40)
and eq. 8-36 may be written as follows:
dq/dt= -kA(dT/dx) (8-41)
where dq/dt = q / t = constant.
Unsteady stute conduction. In the case of unsteady state conduction, tempera-
ture is a function of both time and space. Equation 8-37 gives a general 3-dimen-
sional equation for such a situation. There is a numerical solution to this equation,
necessitating the use of digital computers. A variety of simplifications are incorpo-
232

rated to arrive at analytic solutions. One such case is the assumption of constant
physical properties c, p, and k , resulting in eq. 8-42:
aT 4'
at = a( V2T) + -
- (8-42)
CP

where (Y =k/pc, called thermal diffusivity.


Convection
Convection is an important factor in many cases of heat transfer involving
liquids and gases. When a fluid flows past a solid surface, in the immediate
neighborhood of the surface there is a film of fluid that does not contribute (or very
little) to the total flow. This film clings to the surface as shown by the velocity
distribution plot in Fig. 8-1. The film is in the laminar portion of the flow (the
laminar sublayer), through which heat is transferred by molecular conduction. The
turbulent core and the buffer layer between the laminar sublayer and the turbulent
core transfer heat by simultaneous conduction and convection. If physical proper-
ties are assumed to be constant, an energy balance equation on a flowing fluid
through which heat is being transferred is as follows:

(8-43)

where V,, 5,
V, are the velocity components in the x, y , and z directions and @ is
the energy dissipation due to the fluid viscosity, which is significant in the case of
flow of highly-viscous liquids and high-speed gas.
The local heat transfer coefficients were devised because of the impracticability
of measuring thicknesses of the several layers and their temperatures in a turbulent
flowing stream:
dq = hidAi(Ti - T,)
- = h , dAo(T, - To) (8-44)
dt
where h i and h , are the local heat transfer coefficients inside and outside the wall,
respectively (Btu/ft2-hr-"F), dA, = area element on the inside pipe wall; dAo = area
element on the outside pipe wall across which heat transfer is taking place, ft';
T, = wall temperature, OF; To = outside temperature, O F ; and T, = inside tempera-
ture, OF.

Natural convection
Natural convection occurs when a solid surface is in contact with a stagnant fluid
having a temperature different from that of the surface. The general equation used
is the Nusselt equation:
(8-45)
where NNu= Nusselt number, hI/k, (dimensionless); NGr = Grashof number,
233

I3p2gfiAT / p 2 (dimensionless); NPr= Prandtl number, c p / k (dimensionless); fi =


volumetric coefficient of thermal expansion, ( O F ) - ’ ; p = fluid density, lb,/ft3;
A T = bulk temperature gradient, O F ; 1 = length in contact, ft; g = acceleration due
to gravity, 4.18 x lo8 ft/hr2, and a and m are constants.
For cylinders at 1< NPr< 40, Kato et al. (1968) presented the following rela-
tions:

NNu= 0 . 1 3 8 N p (N:;17’ - 0.55) (8-46)

where NGr> lo9,

and NNu= 0.683N2~sN:;2s (8-47)


0.861 + N,,

where NGrG lo9

Forced convection
In the case of forced convection, the fluid is pumped across the solid surface and
the rate of heat transfer is a function of the physical properties of-the fluids, the
flow rates, and the geometry of the system.
For laminar flow in circular pipes, there are several relationships depending upon
the Graetz number, NGz= NReNp,d/f.For Ncz < 100, Hansen (1960) presented the
following relation:

( NNu)= 3.66 +
0.085Ncz h)’.l4( (8-48)
1 + 0.047NZ3 P w

where d = pipe diameter, 1 = pipe length, p b = viscosity of fluid at the bulk fluid
temperature, and p w = viscosity of the fluid at the pipe wall temperature.
For NGz> 100, the Sieder-Tate relation is satisfactory:
0.14
NNu= 1.86Ng3 (8-49)

For the transition region, the following equation was presented by Hansen (1960):

(8-50)

For turbulent flow ( N , , > 10,000) and 0.7 < NPr< 700, and f/d > 60, the Sieder-Tate
equation is recommended:
0.14
NNu= (8-51)
234

Application of heat transfer concepts to buried pipelines

Thermal properties of the soil must be evaluated when designing buried pipelines.
Heat transfer through the soil is proportional to its thermal conductivity, k, under
steady state conditions, whereas under transient conditions, the thermal diffusivity
a = k/cp is the controlling factor. It is, therefore, necessary to measure these soil
constants, k, p, and c, which can be done in the following two ways:

( I ) Estimation of thermal constants from soil properties


Thermal conductivity of the soil depends on the conductivity of the soil matrix,
grain-size distribution, bulk density of the dry soil, and humidity.
Gemant’s pioneering work was followed up by the studies of Makowski and
Mochlinski (1956) who derived an empirical expression for thermal conductivity of
wet soil in Btu/hr-ft-OF:

k, = 0.578( a log m + b)1O2 (8-52)

where a = 0.1424 - 0.000465(%~1);b = 0.0419 - 0.000313(%~1);%cl= percent of


clay in the soil; z = 0 . 0 1 ~ ~pd; = density of dry soil, lb,/ft3; and m = moisture
content of soil as a percentage of dry soil weight, 96.
In order to determine the thermal diffusivity it is necessary to calculate density of
wet soil, p,, in lb,/cu ft and specific heat of wet soil, c,, in Btu/lb,-OF. In terms
of pd and cd, these variables are equal to:

p, = pd(1 + 0.000624m) (8-53)

and

c, = (cd + 0.01m)/(1+ 0.01m). (8-54)

Combining the above three equations:

k, - 0.578( a log,,m + b)lOz(l + 0.01m) (8-55)


a,=--P W C W pd(l + o.o00624m)(Cd -k 0.01m)

(2) Estimation of thermal constants by direct measurement


Thermal conductivity is usually measured in situ by a field conductivity probe.
Heat is applied at a constant rate to this thin cylindrical probe which is pushed into
the ground. The rise in temperature of the probe surface is measured as a function
of time. The k value can be determined from the heat input and temperature-time
relationship.
Yearly average diffusivity of the soil can be obtained from the measurements of
the soil temperature at various depths below the surface. If the annual temperature
235

T i m e , t, sec +

u Tsmin -Pt
Reference Temperature (O'F)

Fig. 8-11. Fluctuation of soil temperature with time. Z = ground surface, ZZ = at a depth x . Amplitude
decreases with depth. (Modified after Szilas, 1975, p. 493, fig. 7.2-1.)

cycle is assumed to be sinusoidal (see Fig. 8-11), then the temperature change on the
ground surface, AT,, is equal to:

AT, =AT,,, sin at (8-56)

where A denotes temperature fluctuation and w = 277/t,, with t, = time for 1 cycle.
Figure 8-11 shows how the amplitude decreases with depth and that the tempera-
ture wave I1 at depth x is displaced in phase with respect to the ground-surface
wave (see Szilas, 1975, p. 493). The temperature variations can be expressed as:

aT a2T
--=ff- (8-57)
at ax2
where x = depth from the ground surface (x = 0 at ground surface).
Using eq. 8-56 in solving eq. 8-57,

AT, =AT,,, exp( -x/+) sin(21it/tp - x/-) (8- 58a)

and phase shift

At, = ( x / 2 ) { F (8-58b)

When the sine term in eq. 8-58a is equal to unity, the maximum temperature
fluctuation (amplitude) at a depth x is obtained:

AT,,, =A exp I- /x *s/at,


qmax (8-58~)
236

Example 8-3. What are the extremes of daily temperature and the phase shift
(a) at a depth of 1 ft and (b) at a depth of 5 f t if a = 5.3 X lo6 ft2/sec and the
surface temperature varies from 90 to 40°F during the day.

Solution: See Fig. 8-11.


The surface amplitude of the temperature fluctuation is equal to:

Using eq. 8-58a, the amplitude at a depth of 1 ft is equal to:

AT,,, = 25 exp[ - (l){r/(86,400 x 5.3 x ] = f1.82"F.


At a depth of 5 ft, the amplitude is equal to:

AT^,^ = f 5 . i x 10-SOF.
In order to evaluate the temperature extremes, first it is necessary to calculate the
mean temperature, which is approximately equal to:

Then, the temperature extremes at a depth of 1 ft are equal to:

T,,, = + AT,,, = 65 + 1.82 = 66.82"F


and
-
Tlmin= T, - AT,,, = 65 - 1.82 = 63.18"F.

At a depth of 5 ft:

= 65.00005"F and TSmin


TSmax = 64.99995"F.

By using eq. 8-58b, the phase shift at a depth of 1 ft is equal to:

At, = (;)/86,40O/(r X 5.3 X

= 36,017.5 sec = 10 hr.


Similarly, at a depth of 5 ft:

At, = 50 hr.
237

Steady-state flow in buried pipelines


Temperature of the oil injected into a pipeline usually differs from that of the
soil. Soil is generally cooler than the oil. Some of the factors contributing to the
variation of axial oil temperature in the pipe are:
(1) A part of the potential energy of the oil flowing in the pipeline is transformed
into heat, due to the shearing at the liquid-solid pipe wall interface and the
liquid-liquid shear within the bulk liquid. This heat increases the oil temperature.
(2) Temperature also increases due to the exothermic process of separation of
solid components (such as waxes) from the oil. Inasmuch as extensive separation
leads to reduced flow efficiency and eventual blocking of the oil, crude oils are often
dewaxed before pipeline transportation.
(3) Temperature decreases due to the transfer of heat from the pipeline to the
lower-temperature soil.
In calculating the heat generated by friction, one can assume an average constant
friction gradient along the pipeline. A pressure differential, Aprriction, is equivalent
to a force F, = A p , (7rd2/4) in lb, along the length I of pipe. (1 ft-lb, = 0.001285
Btu). If the flow rate is Q (ft3/sec) and the heat generated by F, is q, then velocity,
V, is equal to:

V = Q/( 7rd2/4)

and q = 0.001285 F,I.


The heat generated by friction per unit time per unit distance of flow, @J

(Btu/sec-ft), is equal to:

@ = 4 =0.001285FrI/t = [0.001285(A p , )( 7rd2/4) V ]/ I = 0.001285AprQ / l


It I
(8-59)

Using constant w and A, which are actually temperature dependent, the heat
liberated per one O F drop in temperature (Btu/'F-sec) is equal to:

where X = latent heat of fusion of the solids (paraffins) that separate out of the oil,

Y Surface

Fig. 8-12. Schematic diagram of an infinitesimal element of flowing fluid, exhibiting a temperature drop
dq.
238

Btu/lb,; w = amount of solids formed per lb, of oil per O F drop in temperature,
lb/lb,il-oF; p = density of the paraffin-containing oil, lb,/ft3; and Q = oil flow
rate, ft3/sec.
On considering an infinitesimal volume element, as shown in Fig. 8-12 where the
temperature of the flowing oil decreases by dT, over a length d l of pipe, one can
obtain, by heat balance:

PQC, dT, = @ dl + QpwXdT, - k(T, - T,) d l

Change in Heat Heat Heat lost


heat content generated generated to
of the by by separation surroundings
flowing friction of paraffins
liquid

where T, = axial temperature of the flowing oil in the pipeline, OF; T, = original soil
temperature at the same depth, OF; k = heat transfer coefficient per unit length of
pipe, Btu/ft-hr-OF; and c, = specific heat of the flowing oil, Btu/lb,-OF:
Or :

(Qpc,-AQpw) dT,=(@+kT,-kT,) d l (8-61)

On substituting Qpc, - QpwX = A (constant) and Qz + kT, = B (constant) in eq.


8-61, integrating (initial conditions: I = 0 and T = TI):

/ ( B - kA
T,) dT,=/dl

Solving, and resubstituting for A and B, one obtains:

(8-62)

The oil temperature also varies radially. In turbulent flow, the radial temperature
variation is slight, whereas in laminar flow, it may be significant. In the latter case,
the axial temperature Tfis somewhat higher than the average temperature. Exam-
ples of temperature profiles are shown in Fig. 8-13. In practical calculations, the
latent heat of fusion of paraffin is usually not considered. As shown in Example 8-4,
however, it may be significant.

Example 8-4
Oil is injected at a flow rate Q = 700 bbl/hr into a 20-mile long pipeline having
I.D. = 12 in. The oil gravity is 0.85, temperature T, = llO°F, viscosity is 4.2 CP
239

Velocity + Temperoturr

(a) I b)

Fig. 8-13. Velocity (a) and temperature (b) profiles for oil flowing in a pipeline. (Modified after
r=
Chernikin, 1958 in: Szilas, 1975, fig. 7.2-4, p. 498). r=
0.317 m/sec, 69"C, T, = 55.5"C.

(8.778 X slugs/ft-sec), soil temperature T, = 40 OF, relative roughness c/d =


0.0001, w = 0.003/"F, c, = 0.455 Btu/lb-OF, X = 200 Btu/lb,, and k = 1.2 Btu/hr-
ft-OF. There are 2 globe valves, 1 long sweep elbow, and 100 couplings present. Find
the exit temperature Tn of the oil:
(1) Assuming friction and paraffin deposition over the entire length of the pipe.
(2) Assuming negligible paraffin deposition.
(3) Neglecting the effects of both friction and paraffin deposition.

Solution: Velocity of oil in the pipe, V = Q/( 7r/4)dz = [700 X 5.615/ 3600
ft3/sec]/[(7r/4)(1)2 ft2] = 1.39 ft/sec. Oil specific weight, y = 0.85 X 62.4 = 53.04
lb/ft3, whereas oil density, p = 53.04/32.2 = 1.647 slugs/ft3( = 53.04 lb,/ft3).

N Re = -d=Vp (1)(1.39) (1.647)


= 26,100.
P (8.778 X

From Fig. 8-2, for relative roughness r/d = 0.0001 and NRe= 26,100, the Fan-
ning friction factor f = 0.0242. From Fig. 8-6, I, for a globe valve = 320 ft, and I,,
for a long sweep elbow = 20 ft. From Fig. 8-3, K for a coupling = 0.04. Thus, the
head loss due to friction is equal to:

2f/V2y V2y 2(0.0242)[(20)(5280) + 2(320) + 201 (1.39)2(53.04)


*Pf= gdi+ K - 2g =
(32.2) (11

Using eq. 8-59:


240

(1) From eq. 8-62, the exit temperature is equal to:

110 - 40 - -
0.783 x exp[
1.2
1 - (1.2)( 20)( 5280)
(700 X 5.615)(53.04)(0.455 + 0.6) 1
+--0.783
1.2
-79.63'F

(2) On assuming w = 0,

0*783
110 - 40 - -
- (1.2)(20)(5280)
1.2 x exp[ (700 X 5.615)(53.04)(0.455) 1
0.783
+-1.2
=58.88"F

(3) On assuming w = 0, and @ = 0,

T,, = 40 + (110 - 40) exp


[ - (1.2)(20)(5280)
(700 X 5.615)(53.04)(0.455) 1 = 58.40"F

This example enables one to evaluate the significance of each of these assump-
tions. The paraffin deposition, which is neglected by many pipeline engineers, has a
very significant effect.
It is important to understand what the heat transfer coefficient, k, per unit pipe
length signifies. As shown in Fig. 8-14, there are a series of resistances to the
transfer of heat from the oil to the surrounding soil.
First there is heat transfer from the bulk oil to the pipe wall, which is a process of
forced internal convection (see eqs. 8-48, 8-49, 8-50, and 8-51).
For Na -= 100 and NRe < 2100 (eq. 8-48):

NNu=3.66 [ 0.085NGz
+ 1 + 0.047NZ3 ]( e) 0.14

Fig 8-14 Cross-sectional view of a buried insulated pipeline carrying oil


241

For NGz > 100 and NRe < 2100 (eq. 8-49):

NNu= 1. 8 6 N g 3
i-:L r4
For 2100 < NRe < 10,000 (i.e., the transition region; eq. 8-50):

0.14
”, = 0.116( N i l 3 - 125) N ; i 3 [ 1+ ( (”)
d / ~ ~ / ~ ]
PW

For NRe > 10,000 (turbulent flow; eq. 8-51):

0.14
N,, =

These equations correspond to heat transfer by convection in the three zones of


flow, i.e., laminar, transition, and turbulent. Thus, one can evaluate the Nusselt
number N N u using the appropriate equation for a particular flow regime.
Inasmuch as:

hidi
NNu= - (8-63)
k

k
h i = NNuX - (8-64)
di

In this manner, the heat transfer coefficient h (Btu/hr-ft2-OF) can be de-


termined. It is called h i , because it is the heat transfer coefficient inside the pipe.
Thus, the net heat transfer per unit length of pipe (Btu/hr-ft-OF) due to the internal
forced convection is equal to:

Another resistance to heat transfer is the pipe wall. If the thermal conductivity of
the pipe wall material is k,, then its net contribution in Btu/hr-ft-”F is equal to
2rkw/ln( do/di).
In the presence of thermal insulation around the pipe, another factor
(2nkin/ln( din/d,) is introduced, where kin= thermal conductivity of the insulating
material and din= diameter of the insulating material.
Finally, the thermal conductivity of the soil surrounding the pipeline must be
considered. Assuming a constant undisturbed soil temperature T, at a depth x , it
242

can be shown that the net heat transfer coefficient of soil, h,, is approximately
equal to :

In order to obtain the net effective resistance, it is necessary to add these four
resistances ( = l/conductance) in series together:

R=- 1
hi(rdi) + -
1
2 r k w ln( 3)+ - 1
2rk,
In( 3)+ 1
-
hordin
(8-66)

Thus, the total heat transfer coefficient per unit length is equal to:

k- = - 1= r
(8-67)
‘ R 1 1 1 1
-+ - In(%) + - ln(2) + -
hidi 2kw di . 2kin hodin

The kin values for some common insulating materials are presented in Table 8-1.
Pipes, which are usually laid in ditches dug for that purpose, are covered with
backfill. Inasmuch as the porosity of this backfill is greater than that of the
undisturbed soil, its thermal conductivity is lower. The backfill compacts with time,
however, causing the effective heat transfer coefficient to increase slightly. Other
variables are wind, plant cover, snow, moisture content of the soil, etc.
Under steady-state conditions, the heat transfer across the flowing oil into the
soil is equal to:

= 2rkin(T0- qn)/ln(dh/do)

= hodin..( qn- T , ) (8-68)

One can assume that the inside and outside wall temperatures of the pipe are

After Rohsenow and Hartnett (1973) who gave an appropiate relationship:

2ks
h, =
dincosh-’(2x/din)

where cosh-’(2x/din) is approximately equal to In(4x/din).


243

TABLE 8-1
Thermal conductivities of pipeline insulators (after Thomas and Turner, 1953; courtesy of Chemical
Engineer)

Material Resistance Temperature limits Thermal conductivity Specific


towater (OF) (Btu/hr-ft 2-oF/in.) weight
Min. Max. 32°F 70°F 212OF 500OF
Cellular glass Excellent -400 800 0.35 0.39 0.46 - 10
Cellular silica Excellent - 300 1600 - 0.44 0.62 1.0 10-12
Cement Water will 100 1800 - 0.69 0.820 1.058 26
(semi thermo- soften the
setting) dried cement
Cement Will not 32 1200 0.46 0.525 0.610 0.840 49
(hydraulic soften when
setting) wetted
Diatomaceous
earth Fair 22 1900 - 0.66 0.720 - 23
Burnt diatomaceous
earth bricks Moderate 22 1900 0.603 0.617 0.694 0.742 29.95
Burnt diatomaceous
earth paste Moderate 22 1900 0.520 0.541 0.590 0.610 31.2
Glass fibers Excellent - 300 600 0.270 0.273 0.320 - 8
(formed into
pipe insulation and
blocks)
Hydrous calcium
silicate Good 100 1200 - 0.37 0.41 0.52 12
Perlite Excellent 32 1200 - 0.38 0.43 0.58 10-12
Polystyrene Excellent - 300 175 0.23 0.26 - - 2-2.3
(expanded)
Polyurethane
(expanded) Good - 50 230 - 0.17 0.35 - 3

equal ( q= To),and then break up the above multiple equation into three indepen-
dent equations:

k ( T , - T,) =mdihi(T,- Ti) (8-69)

(8-70)

and

hidi&- Ti) =hodinpin- T , ) (8-71)

If Ti is unknown, one should use a trial and error procedure. Assume Ti and
establish the physical parameters of the oil (density, viscosity, specific heat, etc.) to
244

Fig. 8-15. Universal viscosity versus temperature chart for crude oils. (After Frick, 1962, p. 19-39, fig.
19-41; courtesy of McGraw-Hill, New York).

evaluate NRe, NP,, NGr,Na and NNu. Knowing NNu,calculate h i and then k
using eq. 8-67. Another k value is obtained using eq. 8-69.
If the k values obtained by the two methods agree, then the assumed value of Ti
is correct. If not, the calculation procedure is repeated with a different value for Ti,
until one arrives at an acceptable agreement.
To carry out such calculations, the variation of the physical parameters (viscosity,
density, etc.) of the oil with temperature must be known.

Viscosity
Temperature and liquid viscosity may be correlated within the accuracy of most
experimental data (1-2%) with the de Guzman-Andrade Equation:

where A and B are constants.


This equation implies that a plot of log p versus 1/T will yield a straight line.
Figure 8-15 illustrates the above equation, which is generally used.
Beggs and Robinson (1975) presented a more recent empirical correlation be-
tween viscosity and temperature, which gives better results than the frequently used
Beal's (1946) correlations:

pdo = 10" - 1 (8-73)

where pdo= viscosity of dead oil (gas-free crude oil), cP; and x = Y T - ' . ' ~ ~where
,
T - O F ; y = 10'; and z = 3.0324 - 0.02023 ("API).
245

Fig. 8-16. Viscosity of gas-free crude oil at reservoir temperatures. (After Beal, 1946, fig. 8, p. 103;
courtesy of the S.P.E. of A.I.M.E.).

I00
80
60

40

20

10
8
6

I
08
06

04

I-
4, 0 2

1111 I I I1 I IllllJ
0.4 OK08 I 2 4 6 8 10 20 40 60 BOIOO
VISCOSITY OF DEAD OIL, CENTIPOISES
(AT RESERVOIR TEMPERATURE AND ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE)

Fig. 8-17. The viscosity of gas-saturated crude oils at reservoir temperature and bubble-point pressure.
(From Chew and Connally, 1959, fig. 2, p. 25; courtesy of the S.P.E. of A.I.M.E.).
246

Fig. 8-18. Relationship between the viscosity of oil and pressure (above the bubble-point). (From Bed,
1946, fig. 11, p. 109; courtesy of the S.P.E.of A.I.M.E.).

For crude oil containing dissolved gas, Beggs and Robinson provided the
following correction for viscosity:

Po =A d o (8-74)

+
where A = 10.715(RS+ 100)-0.515;B = 5.44 ( R , 150)-0.338;and R , = amount of
dissolved gas in oil, scf/STB.
This equation gives the viscosity of gas-containing (live) oil. This correlation was
developed by plotting log,, T versus log log(pdo+ 1). Straight lines were obtained
and it was found that each of these lines corresponded to crude oils having a
particular API gravity, which led to the development of eq. 8-73.
Because of their popularity, Beal’s correlations are also presented in Fig. 8-16 and
8-18, along with the Chew and Connally (1959) correlation (fig. 8-17).

Density
The following equation takes into account the effects of both temperature and
pressure on the density of the oil:

or

where p T = density of oil at any temperature T, lb,/ft3; pn = density of the oil at.
the base temperature T, and base pressure (usually at standard conditions); a T =
temperature coefficient of oil density, Ib,/ft’-’F; ap = pressure coefficient of oil
density, l/ft; p = pressure, lb/ft2; and y = specific weight, lb/ft3.
247

The coefficients aT and ap can be evaluated if the densities are known for any
two known conditions of temperature and pressure. There are other empirical
correlations which are not presented here.

Kinematic viscosity
A useful correlation between temperature and kinematic viscosity Y (which
combines both the viscosity p and the density p of the oil) was proposed by
Walther. This equation, however, neglects the effect of pressure, which is generally
small:

log log(102v + a ) = b + c log T (8-76)


where a , b, and c are constants, their value depending upon the particular oil in
question. The value of a is around 0.8 for most of the oils. On incorporating this
value into the above equation, one obtains:

log log(102v + 0.8) = b + c log T (8-77)


where Y = cm2/sec (or stokes) and T = temperature, "Rankine.

Specific heat
Cragoe (1929) presented a correlation for the estimation of the specific heat cp in
Btu/lb,-'F for petroleum oils:

c =
0.388 + 0.00045T (8-78)
P G,0.5
\

where T is the temperature in O F and Go is the liquid specific gravity at 60°F. The
accuracy of this equation is +5%.
Thermal conductivity
The American Petroleum Institute (1966) recommended a single value of 0.077
Btu/hr-ft-OF at 30°C (86°F) for thermal conductivity of petroleum oils. The
average and maximum deviations from this value are 7 and 308, respectively. At
other temperatures, Cragoe's equation gives satisfactory results, with average and
maximum deviations of 12 and 398, respectively:

0'0677 [ 1 - 0.0003( T - 32)]


k= - (8-79)
Go

where 32" < T -= 392°F.


Example 8-5. Determine the heat transfer coefficient for a 10-mile pipeline
buried 4 ft below the surface. Pipe having O.D. = 12.75 in. and I.D. = 12.438 in.
carries a crude oil having specific weight of 53 lb/ft3 (Go= 0.85 or 35'API). Given:
= 110'F; T, = 35'F; aT = 0.25 1b/ft2-'F; k , = 1.0 Btu/hr-ft-"F. Assume laminar
flow: NRe= 2000.
248

Solution: For the first trial, Ti = 80°F is assumed. Using eq. 8-73:

z = 3.0324 - 0.02023(35) = 2.32435

y = 10' = 102,32435= 211.033

x =yT-'.163 = (211.033)(80)-
1.163 -
- 1.2914

... = 101.2914- 1 = 18.56 CP

and

p,(at T,) = 6.8 cP.

Neglecting the effect of pressure, the density is equal to (eq. 8-75):

p r = p , - a T ( T - T,)=53.0-0.25(80-60)=48 lbm/ft3.

Using eq. 8-78, specific heat of oil is equal to:

The thermal conductivity of oil can be determined from eq. 8-79:

k o = -[l - 0.0003(80 - 32)] = 0.0785 Btu/hr-ft-"F


0.85

The Graetz number, N,(

NGz = (2000)
= N R e N P r d / l )is

0.0785
3600
Btu
sec-ft-OF
Ibm
equal to:

6)7X -
(18.56 X 6.72 X 1 0 - 4 ) ( 0 . 4 7 1Btu lbm
ft-sec 1 [lzO]
X
12.438
= 10.6

Inasmuch as Ncz < 100, one can use eq. 8-48 to find NNu:

NNu = 3.66 +

h i= NNux k o = (0.844)[
-
di
1i:;l;i2] = 0.0635 Btu/hr-ft2-OF
249

and

h, = - = 0.6941 Btu/hr-ft2-"F
din ln( 2) 4x4
In( 12.75/12 )
Thus, k can be determined using eq. 8-67:
1T
k= = 0.0604 Btu/hr-ft-'F
1/(0.06352 X 12.438/12) + 1/(0.6941 X 12.75/12)

and using eq. 8-69:

mdihi(T, - q )
k= = [ ~(12.438/12)(0.0635)(110 - 80)]/(110 - 35)
( T f - T,)

= 0.0827 Btu/hr-ft-"F

On assuming Ti = 82"F, as a further approximation, the above procedure is re-


peated :
Equation 8-67 gives k = 0.0711 Btu/hr-ft-"F, whereas eq. 8-69 gives k = 0.0705
Btu/hr-ft-OF, which is a reasonable agreement. Thus, k = 0.071 Btu/hr-ft-"F and
Ti = 82°F.

Transient (unsteady state) flow of oil in buried pipelines

If the inlet temperature, flow rate, the physical parameters of the oil, and the soil
temperature are constant over a comparatively long period of time, the heat flow in
and around a buried pipeline must be steady. These conditions are, however, never
satisfied. Slight departures from the steady-state behavior are approximated by the
steady-state relationships. In numerous practical situations listed below, however,
the departure may be sufficient to render the steady-state relationships useless for
even an approximate quantitative evaluation:
(1) Termination or beginning of flow in the pipeline.
(2) Change in injection temperature of oil into the pipeline.
(3) Fluctuations in temperatures.
(4) Fluctuations in flow rates.
Given sufficient time, any kind of flow (except the fluctuating type) will
eventually stabilize and reach steady state.
Numerous models and calculation methods have been devised to describe and
solve unsteady-state systems. Szilas (1975) presented a transient model which
describes the temperature changes in a pipeline shut down after steady-state flow.

' This book was originally published in Hungary in 1968


250

He called it a “cooling model” for an insulated pipeline.


In the case of shutdown after flow, it is assumed that:
(1) The pipeline is embedded in an infinite half-space filled with soil of homoge-
neous thermal properties.
(2) The temperature of the soil in contact with the pipeline can be described by
Chernikin’s (1958) model.
Heat flowing through the wall of unity pipe length into the cooler ground over an
infinitesimal period of time d t reduces the temperature of oil and pipe by dT:

[ rd?
4po~o
1
+ -774 ( d ? - df ) pPcp dTo = - k (T; - Tin) d t
where subscript o refers to oil, p refers to pipe, and in refers to pipe insulation; T,,
and T[n are transient temperatures. Neglecting h i and h , and using eq. 8-67:

k = r/ [ (1/2kin) In( din/do )I


Setting:
77 [ dfpoc0 + (d,2 - df)PpCp] = 4
-
4k
and rearranging:
A[dTo/(T,’- T6)] = -dt (8-80)
The Chernikin relationship is then used here to describe the change in the oil
temperature, TA, and the change in the outer temperature of the insulation Tin. If
point PI is the image of the projection of the linear heat source on a plane
perpendicular to it (see Fig. 8-19), then the difference in temperature between the
point Pz (lying in the plane of projection and defined by the coordinates y and z)
and the undisturbed soil is equal to:
TL- T,= (@/4ak,)[Ei(-xz/r2X1/NF,) -Ei(-1/4NFo)] (8-81)

where NFo= q / r 2 = Fourier number (dimensionless), and Ei is the exponential


integral function.

Fig. 8-19. The Chernikin model for unsteady state flow of oil in buried pipelines. (Modified after
Chernikin, 1958; in: Szilas, 1975, p. 517, fig. 7.2-13; courtesy of Akadkmiai Kiad6, Budapest, Hungary).
25 1

If t = 00 (steady state flow), eq. 8-81 reduces to the following form:

To - T, = (@/21rk,) ln(2x/r) (8-82)

Dividing eq. 8-81 by eq. 8-82:

Inasmuch as x, r , k,, ps and c, are constant for a given pipeline, the above equation
can be written as follows:

where

The process of warming 'up is described in eq. 8-85. In the case of cooling down
after steady-state flow:
( T; - T , ) / ( To- T,) = 1 - x
or
Td=(l-X)(To-T,)+T, (8-86)

The relationship X = f(t) for a given case can be plotted on a graph using eq.
8-86. Sections of this curve can be individually approximated by the following
relation:
X=a+bht (8-87)
In addition, an equation similar to eq. 8-86 can be written for the insulation around
the pipe:

TL = (1 - X ) ( Ti,- T,) + T, (8-88)

Combining eqs. 8-87 and 8-88:


Ti',= (1- a - b h t )( Ti,- T,) + T, = T, + (1- a ) ( Tin- T,) - b( Ti,- T,) In t
or
Ti:, = B - C In t (8-89)

where B = T, + (1 - a)(Ti, - T,) and C = b(Ti, - T,).


252

Substituting q,,from eq. 8-89 into eq. 8-80:

’[ T d - BdTo
+Clnt I = -dt

The general solution of eq. 8-90 is:


(8-90)

T,’=B-C In t + [CEi(t/A)C’] e-‘IA (8-91)


where C’ is the constant of integration.
In the case of initial condition T,’ = at t = 0:

Ti = B - C In t + [ CEi( t/A)To - B - C(0.5772 - In A ) ] e-r/A (8-92)


The above relationship can be used to evaluate the variation of temperature Ti
versus the time t elapsed after shutdown of the pipeline at any pipe section situated
at a distance 1 from the head end of the line (See Szilas, 1975, p. 519.).
Heating up of a cold line by introduction of hot oil
When hot oil is pumped into a cold line, the initial transient heat loss-to the cold
soil can be very much higher than the equilibrium steady-state heat loss. In large
crude oil lines, it may take many days or even weeks before equilibrium conditions
are established. It is, therefore, necessary to know how the transient heat loss varies
as a function of time. (See Davenport and Conti, 1971.)
In the simple case, the pipe is assumed to be surrounded by an “infinite sea” of
soil having homogeneous thermal properties. The heat transfer between the ground
surface and air is assumed to be infinite. Thus, the heat loss is directionally
symmetrical and for this simple case, the Nusselt number is related to the Fourier
number as follows (see Davenport and Conti, 1971):

N,, = 0.362 + 0.953/N;:’ (8-93)


The soil will warm up continuously and will reach equilibrium with the pipe
surface. It is assumed that equilibrium is reached when the Nusselt number from eq.
8-93 equals that from eq. 8-94:

(N,,), = 2/cosh-’(2x/d0) = 2/ln(4x/d0) if x >, do (8-94)

Thus, it is possible to calculate the time necessary to reach equilibrium, which is a


function of NFo and x / d o . Due to the approximation employed, NNuis a function
of x/do only in eq. 8-94. Substituting eq. 8-94 into eq. 8-93, yields:
r

7 (8-95)
253

where N,, = cy,t/d:; x = depth of burial of pipeline, ft; and do = outside pipe
diameter, ft.
This relationship gives the time of transient flow in the pipeline as a function of x
and do.
As the temperature wave from the pipeline reaches the surface and is reflected,
the surface begins to play an important role and the infinite sea approximation is
invalid. The heat loss exceeds the calculated value by 10 - 15%thereafter.

TRANSPORTATION OF HEAVY OILS IN PIPELINES

Heavy oils, characterized by high viscosities, high pour points, and low API
gravities, are currently being transported only to a limited extent by pipelines.
Development of the largely untapped world resources of heavy crude oils, however,
is changing this. The methods for pipelining heavy crude oils are briefly discussed
here. (See Barry, 1971.)
The major problems are caused by: (1) pour point (wax crystallization problems)
and ( 2 ) viscosity (flow problems). High pour point temperatures are caused by
excessive formation of wax'crystals in the oil, which inhibit its ability to flow. Wax
deposits form in the storage tanks as well as in the pipeline. With increasing
viscosity, the head loss due to friction increases and, therefore, greater pump
horsepower is required. Thus, it is necessary to reduce the viscosity and the pour
point of the oil being transported, which can be achieved by the following means:
(1) Use of additives (pour point depressants).
( 2 ) Preparation of an oil-solid slurry.
(3) Heating the oil to keep the flow essentially above the pour point, and also to
reduce viscosity.
(4) Dilution of oil with a solvent or with another oil for reduction of viscosity
and pour point.
( 5 ) Preparation of a lower-viscosity, unstable slurry-emulsion system by mixing
water with the oil.
The first two techniques are applicable only in cases where the oil viscosity is low
enough to permit economical pipelining at the existing temperature. The third and
fourth techniques are currently the major methods for the pipelining of heavy crude
oils. The fifth technique has not been used yet on a commercial scale.
The transportation of hot oil by pipelines, which has been discussed already,
requires some means of heating the oil. Usually direct-fired heaters are used. The
dilution technique involves the addition of low-viscosity hydrocarbons such as
condensate, natural gasoline, and naphtha in order to reduce viscosity of heavy oil.
In the case of oil fields located in remote areas, where the diluent may not be readily
available, two major alternatives are available: (1) Use of a dual pipeline, so that
one pipeline could carry the diluent back to the field. ( 2 ) Installation of a thermal
cracker, catalytic cracker, or a hydrocracker to crack a portion of the heavy crude to
254

lighter components, which can then be blended with the remaining heavy oil for
pipelining.
The choice of a technique is determined by the oil viscosity, the geographic
location, length of pipeline, process feasibility, and economic considerations.

PIPELINE TRANSPORTATION OF NATURAL GAS

Physical properties of gases

Physical properties of natural gases (compressibility, density, viscosity, and


specific heat), which affect gas transmission in pipelines are discussed first in this
section.

Gas compressibility
Deviation from ideal behavior of natural gas is seldom negligible. For practical
purposes, only compressibility factor Z is applied:

p v = ZnRT (8-96)

GAS GRAVITY (AIR=I)

Fig. 8-20. Pseudocritical properties of condensate well fluids and miscellaneous natural gases. (After
Brown et al., 1948; courtesy of Natural Gasoline Association of America).
255

where p = absolute pressure of the gas, psia; T/;= total gas volume, ft3; Z =
compressibility factor; n = number of moles of gas in volume y ; T = absolute gas
temperature, OR; and R = universal gas constant = 10.73 psia-ft3/lb mole-OF.

PSEUDO REDUCED PRESSURE PR


Fig. 8-21. Compressibility factor for natural gases as a function of reduced pressure and temperature.
(From Standing and Katz, 1942, fig. 2, p. 144; courtesy of the S.P.E.of A.I.M.E.).
256

According to the law of corresponding states, the compressibility factors Z of


two gases are equal if the reduced state parameters of these gases are equal. This is
the basis for the generalized compressibility factor chart shown in Fig. 8-21.
Reduced pressure p , is equal to p / p c and the reduced temperature T, is equal to
T/T,, where p, and T, are the critical pressure and temperature of the gas,
respectively. For a mixture of gases, the reduced state parameters are replaced by
the pseudo-reduced parameters ppr and Tp,, which are defined as follows:
n

~ p =c C Yipci (8-97)
i=l

and
n
Tpc = C YiTci (8-98)
i-1

where yi = mole fraction of component i in a gas mixture.


The molecular weight, M , is equal to:
n
M= CyiMj (8-99)
i=l

If the gas composition is not known, one can use approximate empirical
correlations (see Fig. 8-20) developed by Brown et al. (1948).
Natural gas often contains nonhydrocarbon gases such as N, and CO,. If the N,
content is less than 8% and that of CO, is less than 108, one can use the additive
rule to determine compressibility factor Z :

where ZHc is the compressibility factor for the pure hydrocarbon gas, which can be
determined as before. The compressibility charts for N, and CO, gases are given in
literature.

Density
The gas density, p , at a pressure p and temperature T can be obtained from eq.
8-96 as follows:

n / y =p/ZRT (8-100)

Inasmuch as number of moles n = mass/molecular weight = m / M , eq. 8-100 be-


comes:

m/K=pM/ZRT=p (8-101)
251
.E3
Fig. 8-22. Relationship between the viscosity of paraffin gases and molecular weight at a pressure of orre atmosphere and reservoir temperatures, with
corrections for nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide. (From Carr et al., 1954, fig. 6, p. 268; courtesy of the S.P.E. of A.I.M.E.).
258

Fig. 8-23. Viscosity ratio, p / p l , as a function of pseudoreduced temperature and pseudoreduced


pressure. (From Carr et al., 1954 p. 267, fig. 4; courtesy of the S.P.E.of A.I.M.E.). p = viscosity of gas at
reduced temperature, T,, and reduced pressure, P,; p1= viscosity of gas at atmospheric pressure and at
temperature T,.

Gas gravity, Gg, is defined as the ratio of the density of the gas, pe, to the density
of air, pa, under standard conditions:

(8-102)

because Z = 1 at standard conditions.


Inasmuch as molecular weight of air is equal to 28.97, eq. 8-102 can be written as
follows:

Gg= M/28.97

Viscosity
Gas viscosity decreases with increasing molecular weight and increases with
increasing pressure and temperature. The pressure effect is the same as in liquids,
whereas the temperature effect is just the opposite.
The two most widely used correlations are those of Carr et al. (1954, see Figs.
8-22 and 8-23) and Lee et al. (1966). Beggs and Brill (1972), gave the following
modified form of Lee's equation:

1.1= A x exp( BpC) (8-103)

where p is the viscosity in cP, A = (9.4 + 0.02M)T1.s/(209 + 19M + T ) ; B = 3.5 t


259

Temperature, OF

Fig. 8-24.Viscosity of natural gases at atmospheric pressure. (After C a r et al., 1954, fig. 7, p. 269;
courtesy of the S.P.E.of A.I.M.E.). Data is based on N.B.S.-N.A.C.A. tables of thermal properties of
gases and research work by J.O. Hirschfelder, R.B. Bird and E.L.Spotz (1949),M. Trantz and K.G. Sorg
(1931),and A.O. Rankine and C.J. Smith (1921).

+
986/T 0.01M; C = 2.4 - 0.2.4; M = molecular weight of the gas; T is the temper-
ature in OR; and p is the density in g/cm3.
The viscosities of natural gases at atmospheric pressure are given in Fig. 8-24.

Specific heat
Specific heat is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of
a unit mass of a substance by one degree. It can be measured at a constant pressure,
cp, or at constant volume, co, resulting in two distinct specific heat values. For an
ideal gas, the difference between the two is equal to the gas constant R:

cP - C, =R (8-104)

The cp of a gas mixture can be calculated from the following formula:


n
cp= c
i-1
YiC,i (8-105)

Product of gas constant R o and molecular weight M is called Universal Gas Constant ( R= R o M )
and is equal to = 10.732 p~ia-ft~/Ibmole-~
R = 1544 ft-lbf/lbmole-o R = 1.986 Btu/lbmole-o R.
260

.W

TEMPERATURE DEtREfS FAHRENHEIT

Fig. 8-25. Specific heat, cp, of hydrocarbon vapors at a pressure of one atmosphere. (After Brown, 1945,
fig. 1, p. 66; courtesy of the S.P.E.of A.I.M.E.).

Brown (1945) has presented the molar specific heats at constant pressure for the
individual hydrocarbon gases (Fig. 8-25). Equation 8-105 can be used to determine
approximately the specific heat of a mixture of gases if the composition is known.
261

0.04 0.060.000.10 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 I 2 4


Reduced pressure pr=P/P,

Fig. 8-26. Generalized relationship of heat capacity differences, cp - c,,, to reduced pressure and reduced
temperature. (After Edmister, 1948, p. 613, in: Perry and Chilton, 1973, fig. 3-54, p. 3-238; courtesy of
Petroleum Refiner.)

The specific heat capacity ratio, c,/c,, for an ideal gas can be easily obtained
using eq. 8-104. For a real gas, CJC, ratio is equal to:

The ( c p - c u ) quantity, which is larger than R for a real gas, may be obtained from
the generalized chart in Fig. 8-26.

Gas flow fundamentals

Detailed treatment of gas flow fundamentals was presented by the Institute of


Gas Technology (1972). Some important equations are presented here.

Q b = 38.774-

QbGgpb
p: -pz - 0.0375GgA~p,Z,,/(TZ) Os
G,ITZf
x d 2s
1 (8-107)

NRe = 0.4775 - (8-108)


pdiTb
262

(8-109)
r 1

(8-110)

(8-111)

(8-112)

Pavg = 0.67( -) (8-113)

where Q,=volumetric flow rate at pressure Pb and temperature T,,, Mcf/D;


BI = bend index, degrees/mile; Ff = drag factor; f = Fanning friction factor; fpt =
Fanning friction factor for partially turbulent flow; fft = Fanning friction factor for
fully turbulent flow; Gg = gas specific gravity (air = 1); A t = elevation, ft (positive
for net uphill flow and negative for net downhill flow); di = internal pipe diameter,
inches; I = pipeline length, miles; p b = base pressure, psia (usually atmospheric);
pavg= average pressure, psia; p 1 = upstream pressure, psia; p 2 = downstream pres-
sure, psia; T = flowing gas temperature, OR; Tb = base temperature, OR; Z = gas
compressibility factor; p = viscosity, lb,/ft-sec; and E = effective or operating
roughness, microinches:

Steel pipe Roughness E (microinches)


New 500-700
12-months old 1500
24-months old 1750
Plastic-lined, or sand blasted 200-300

The roughness E for aluminium pipe is equal to 200 microinches.


Weymouth approximation
A very widely used formula for volumetric flow rate (Qb),
which was developed
by Weymouth, can be derived as follows:

f = 0.0035rK (8-114)

and

(8-115)
263

where M = molecular weight of the gas, lb/lb-mole; R = universal gas constant =


10.73 psia-ft3/lb-mole-"R; T= average temperature, OR; and z= average com-
pressibility factor at average pressure, pavg,and average temperature, $?
Rearranging eq. 8-115:

(8-116a)

Substituting eq. 8-114:

f = 0.0035&,

and R = 10.73 psia-ft3/lb-mole-"R in eq. 8-116a:

or

(8-116b)

Mean pressure eualuation

The mean pressure for an incompressible fluid is simp] the arithmetic average of
the inlet and outlet pressures. As discussed below, this is not the case for com-
pressible fluids, i.e., gases.
One can derive a simple formula to determine the pressure at any fractional
distance x from the inlet end in a pipe carrying gas (see Fig. 8-27).
Using eq. 8-116b, at point C where l = l ( x ) from inlet end and I = l(1 - x ) from
outlet end:

Fig.8-27. Mean pressure evaluation.


264

x +
Fig. 8-28. Pressure profile along the length of a horizontal high-pressuregas pipeline shown in Fig. 8-27.
(After Szilas, 1975, p. 36, fig. 1.2-1; courtesy of Akadtmiai Kiad6, Budapest, Hungary).

and

10.5

Equating these two equations:

p:-p,Z
-- P,Z-P22
X 1-x

Solving for p,:

p, = [ P: - x ( P: - Pz’>I0.5 (8-117)

Equation 8-117 suggests a pressure profile as shown Fig. 8-28. The mean pressure is
given by the following equation:

or

If in eq. 8-116:
265

di is expressed in inches, 1 in miles, and Qb in Mcf/D, one obtains the following


equation:

Qb [ 43.487
= (52so)y’] [
24 X 3600
1000 ] (12“))[
d8l3
w] - 0.5
(Tb’pb)
(8-119)

or

(8-120)

where Qb is in Mcf/D at Tb and p b , d , is in inches, T is in OR, p is in psia, and I


is in miles.
The following approximate forms of the Weymouth equation are also used:

(8-121)

and

(8-122)

where Q is measured in Mcf/D at the average pressure and temperature.


In eq. 8-122, the friction factor, f, has been included. It can be included in a
similar way in eq. 8-120.

The hydrate point for hydrocarbon gases (see Szilas, 1975)

Gases like methane, ethane, propane, and butane can enter the water lattice
without forming a chemical bond. Upon sufficient decrease in temperature, a solid
granular substance forms, which resembles snow or ice and is called hydrocarbon
hydrate. Besides hydrocarbon gas molecules, hydrates can also be formed by
nonhydrocarbon gases, such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulphide.
The conditions necessary for hydrate formation and stabilization are (Szilas, 1975):
(1) The water must be in a liquid state during hydrate formation.
(2) Low temperature and high pressure.
(3) The gas must be of a covalent bond type with molecules smaller than 8 A
units.
(4) The hydrate must be water resistant.
( 5 ) The gas must be immiscible with water in the liquid state.
(6) No van der Waals’ forces should arise between the hydrate molecules.
Several methods of determining the hydrate point temperature for a given
266

pressure and gas composition have been described in literature. The Katz et al.
(1959) procedure seems to be the best suited one for natural gases devoid of
nitrogen and up to about 275 atm (4000 psi). Hydrates form when the following
condition is satisfied:

(8-123)

where y, = mole fraction of i-th component in the gas and Khi = equilibrium ratio
for the i-th component obtained from the Kh versus temperature-pressure charts
(Katz et al., 1959).
Heinze (1971) gave the following relationship for the hydrate point for nitrogen-

[
containing natural gases up to 395 atm (5800 psi):

!lyiKhi]
Th= (8-124)
0.445

where Th is the hydrate-formation temperature in OK.


Gas transmission systems
Gas transmission systems are complex network (looped or loopless) systems, flow
through which can not be treated like a simple single-line flow. Flow may be at a
high pressure with significant increase in specific volume with declining pressure, as
in the case of systems for bulk transport of gas from the field to the regional supply
stations. Flow may also be at a low pressure with negligible specific volume changes,
as in the case of supply from the regional stations to the consumers.
Although the flow in a transmission system is invariably transient, the assump-
tion of steady state flow is valid for many design and operation problems.
System of parallel lines
As in liquid flow,
(8-125)

where QA, QB, and Q , are the flow rates in lines A, B and C, respectively, and QT
is the total flow rate.
Also:
(8-126)

because the end points of all three lines are common. The total pressure drop is
given by the following equation (see Fig. 8-29):

A P T = ApA(or A P B or A PC ) + A P D
9
(8-127)
267

A
l M D
I io
!
I Section I I Section 2 ~

Fig. 8-29. Pipelines in parallel for Example 8-6.

The Weymouth equation (eq. 8-120) can be written as follows:

(8-128)

where K includes the constant terms. Thus, one can use an equivalent single line
having a length 1, and an equivalent diameter d , , that has the same capacity as the
looped line under the same pressure drop. This is given in Table 8-11.

Lines in series
A system of lines in series is shown in Fig. 8-30. In this case,
Q =Q = Q =Q
1 2 3 T

and

where Q , , Q 2 ,and Q 3 are the flow rates in lines 1, 2, and 3, respectively; A p , , A p , ,


Ap, are the respective pressure drops in these lines; A p , is the total pressure drop;
and Q , is the total flow rate.
For this system, it is very simple to define a single line having diameter d , that is
equivalent to I, miles of line of diameter d 2 and I , miles of line of diameter d 3 .

TABLE 8-11
Equivalent diameter and equivalent length for lines in parallel and lines in series

Equivalent diameter Entire line looped a Equivalent length


-
Lines
in
parallel Q
3/16
Lines in
series

a It is assumed that lengths of all lines in the looped section are equal.
268

Line I

Fig. 8-30. Pipelines in series.

Alternatively, one can determine the diameter of a line having length I,, which is
equivalent to the above mentioned lines (Table 8-11).

Example 8-6

In Fig. 8-30, assume d, = 2 in.,d , = 2.5 in., d , = 3 in.,1, = 1, = 1, = 15 d e S ,


d , = 3 in. and I, = 2 miles. Determine the equivalent ~ f : / ' / l ; / ~ratio for use in the
Weymouth equation for this system.

Solution: Refer to Table 8-11. For the looped part,


d,"/' (2)"'
-=- +-( 2 .5)8/3 +--(3)"/' - 9.446-in.8/3
(15)'12 (15)'/2 (15)'12 ft'/2

Inasmuch as length 1, = 15 miles,

d,"/' = (9.446)(15)'/2 = 36.584

Thus: d , = (36.584)3/8 = 3.857 in.


The resulting configuration is shown in Fig. 8-31. This represents two pipes in
series. Choosing an equivalent length:

( 3*8357
IDe= 2 miles x -)16/' = 7.639 miles.

Therefore, the equivalent length of the full system having diameter of 3.857 in. is
+
equal to 15 7.639 = 22.639 miles.

Alternatively:
Equivalent length of the 15-mile section as a 3-in. diameter pipe= 15 X
(3/3.587)16/' = 3.927 miles.
Hence, the equivalent length of the full system having diameter of 3 in. is equal
+
to 2 3.927 = 5.927 miles.

D C3in

t
15 miles .
1-
2 miles

Fig. 8-31. Pipeline system for Example 8-6.


269

Thus, the system in Fig. 8-30 is equivalent to:


(1) 22.64-mile long 3.857-in. diameter pipe;
or
(2) 5.93-mile long 3-in. diameter pipe.

Flow in hilly terrain


Frequently the terrain over which the pipeline is laid may not be horizontal. In
such cases, the horizontal flow equations presented for gas flow have to be modified
to account for the net head (or elevation) change from inlet to the outlet, as
described earlier for flow of liquid oil. For gases, this is complicated by the fact that
the gas properties are very sensitive to pressure.
A simple, yet valid, approach is to modify the Weymouth equation by replacing
the [( p : - p i ) / 1 ) ] term by:

PI -
1

where 1 = total length of pipeline; 3 = 2Ggz/53.33TaZa; z = total elevation dif-


ference between inlet and outlet (= zOutle, - zinlet),ft.
These relationships can be used to predict the performance of many systems.
However, it must be realized that in real situations numerical simulation techniques
may have to be employed to enable more accurate predictions. The interested reader
is referred to Szilas (1975) and other references listed for a detailed treatment of the
subject.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors are very thankful to Mr. Rajay K. Goyal for his valuable comments
and suggestions during the preparation of this chapter.

APPENDIX 8.1

One of the most routine calculation procedures in a gas field is the determination
of deliverability. This involves a trial and error type solution for the flow capacities
of the tubing in the well and the surface flow pipes. Iterative solutions are
introduced by the gas properties (viscosity, 2 factor, etc.), which have to be
evaluated at the average pressure. The calculation procedure is outlined below:
(1) Determine the gas flow in the reservoir:

' =
kh ( F i - P $ )
1422(pZ),,TR [1n(0.472re/rw) + S ]
(8 .I-1)
270

(2) Determine the gas flow in the tubing and casing from downhole to the
wellhead:

Q 2 = (198.6)2 (8.1-2)

Express the flow for each well.


(3) Determine the gas flow in the surface flowline from the wellhead to the
supply terminal(s):

(8 .I-3)

In all these equations, Q = gas flow rate, Mcf/D; pwr= bottomhole flowing
pressure, psia; jiR= average reservoir pressure, psia; pwh = wellhead flowing pres-
sure, psia; pd= pressure at supply end of pipeline, psia; k = reservoir permeability,
md; h = formation thickness, .ft; p = gas viscosity, cP; Z = gas compressibility
factor; Gg= gas gravity with respect to air = 1; T = temperature, OR; 1 = length of
flow conduit, ft; f = friction factor, dimensionless; S = skin factor, dimensionless;
d = diameter of flow conduit, in.; re = drainage radius for the producing well, ft;
rw = wellbore radius, ft; and s^ = 0.0375 Gglt/TaZa.
Subscripts: t = tubing from bottomhole to the surface; s = surface flowline;
av = average conditions in the reservoir; a = average conditions between the bot-
tomhole and the wellhead; and R = reservoir condition.
The usual calculation procedure is to assume that the gas flow rate, Q, is equal
throughout and establish the unknown wellhead pressure, pwh, through iterative
techniques. First, assume a reasonable value of pwh, obtain the average pressure and
temperature, and then evaluate the average p and Z for the gas. Use eqs. 8.1-1, 8.1-2
and 8.1-3 to get Q. If all three Q’s are equal, the assumption was correct. If not,
assume a new value of pwhand repeat the calculation procedure.
Dougherty (1982) presented a modified calculation procedure. He defined the
following quantities:
(1) For tubing, .the flow constant B, ( n is the number of wells) is equal to:

(8 .I-4)

and

B,, = n2B1(for n wells) (8.1-5)


271

(2) For flowline, E is equal to:

(198.6)’d:
E= (8.1-6)
G,T,ZS f s 4

(3):
kh
A, = (for 1 well) (8.1-7)
1422( P 1, TR

A, = nA, (for n wells) (8.1-8)


(4) Drainage radius is equal to:

re,l = JA77. (for 1well) (8.1-9)

and

re,n = r e J 6 (8 .I-10)
if there are n wells in the drainage area, A ft’.
(5):
K , = Xl/[ln(0.472re,l/rw) +S] (8 .I-11)
and

K, = An/[ln(0.472re,,/rw) + S ] (for n wells). (8.1-12)

(6):
C=ej (8.1-13)
Dougherty then derived his solution technique as follows:
Using eqs. 8.1-1 and 8.1-12:

P i -P$ = Q/Kn (8.1-14)


Using eqs. 8.1-2, 8.1-4, 8.1-5, and 8.1-13:

P5- CPih = (),( Q2 C-1


7) (8.1-15)

(8.1-16)
272

Adding eqs. 8.1-14 and 8.1-15, one obtains:

pi- cp&= Q/K,+ Q*(C-')/('n?) (8.1-17)

Substituting eq. 8.1-16 into eq. 8.1-17:

or

(8.1-18)

Introducing new terms a,, b,, and c:

a , = C / E + (C-l)/(?B,)

b, = lJK,

and
c = p i - Cp,2
equation 8.1-18 becomes :

a n Q 2+ b,Q - c = 0 (8.1-19)

This is a quadratic equation:

Q- [ -b,f ii6,2+]/2an

Inasmuch as negative Q is not physically possible,

\i(
I

c
Q= +)2 + a, --'an
bn (8 3.20)

Thus, Q can be easily determined. It is only necessary to assume an average


pressure for pZ product evaluation. Inasmuch as the pZ product for gases is almost
constant over small pressure ranges, any assumption of Pwh will not affect the result
significantly. If required, the calculations can be performed twice to give a better
accuracy.
This procedure is illustrated in Example 8.1-1.
273

Example 8.I-1

Calculate the deliverability of a gas field for n = 1, 10, and 20 wells if the pipeline
inlet pressure is 1250 psia. The following information is given:
A = 4000 acres; Gg= 0.75; r, = 3 in.; T, = 220°F; PR= 4500 psia; T, = 80°F;
k = 50 md; I, = 10,000 ft; h = 20 ft; I, = 5280 ft; d , = 4 in.; d , = 2.5 in.; friction
factor f = [2 log d + 6.53]-*; skin factor S = 2.0; and turbulence coefficient = 0.

Solution:
Assume pwr= 2500 psia and a common gas gradient of 0.08 psi/ft. For a depth
of 10,000 ft, the static pressure difference between wellhead and bottomhole is equal
to:

A p = (l0,000)(0.08) = 800 psi.

Due to flow, an additional pressure drop due to friction is introduced, which is


assumed to be 200 psi. Thus:
A p = 800 + 200 = 1000 psi

and
pwh=pwr- A p = 2500 - 1000 = 1500 psia.

For Gg= 0.75, ppc= 668 psia, Tpc= 406"R,

TR= 220°F = 680"R * ( TPr),= 1.675,

r, = 540"R * (Tpr),= 1.330,


pR= 4500 psia * ( ppr)R

-
= 6.737,

pwr= 2500 psia ( pPr)wf


= 3.743,

pwh = 1500 psia ( ppr),h= 2.25,


pd = 1250 psia * ( ppr)d= 1.87.

Using Fig. 8-21,

Z(TR, jj,) = 0.947,

z(TR, p w f ) =o*845,

Z ( q , pwh)= 0.690
274

and,
Z ( T , , p d ) = 0.730.

Using Fig. 8-23,


p(TR, p R ) ~ 0 . 0 2 4 8CP

and,
p ( T R , p,,) =0.020 cP.

Thus:

(0.0248)( 0.947) + (0.020) (0.845) = 0.0202 CP,


(pz)av= 2

z,= 0.845 +2 0.690 = o.7675,


T a T=+ TR
L -- 610°R,
2

- (0.0375) (0.75) (10,000) = 0.6007,


s^= 0.0375Gglt -
‘ a ‘a (0.7675) (610)

f,= (2 log d, + 6.53)-2= (2 log 2.5 + 6.53)-, = 0.0186,

f,= (2 log 4 + 6.53)-2 = 0.0167,

(198 .6),d:
B, = - (198.6),(2.5)’
GgTaZafJ, (0.75) (610)( 0.7675) (0.0186) (10,000)
= 58.9761,

B,, = (10),(58.9761) = 5897.61,

B2, = (20),(58.9761) = 23,590.43,

E = (198.6)’d: -
- (198.6),(4)’
= 1592.92,
G,T,Z,&J, (0.75)(540)(0.71)(0.0167)(5280)

A, = kh -
- (50)(20) = 0.0512,
TR (1422) (0.0202) (680)
1422(p Z)av
A,, = lOh, = 0.5120, and
h,, = 20A, = 1.024,
275

re,, = = /(4000)(43560)/~ = 7447.3 ft,

re,,, =d m = 2355.04 ft, and


re,2o= 4- = 1665.3 ft,

A1 0.0512
K, =
ln(0.472re,l/rw) +S ln(0.472 x 7447.3/0.25) + 2 = 4.43 x 10-3,
0.5120
K1o = ln(0.472 x 2355/0.25) + 2 = 0.04923,
1.024
Kzo= ln(0.472 X 1665.3/0.25) + 2 = 0.10186.
Next, the gas flow rate Q for each of the three cases can be determined as shown
below:

Parameter Number of wells


n=l n = 10 n = 20
a, = e'/E + ( eg - l ) / ( S , ) 0.0244 0.00138 0.001203
b, = 1/K, 225.734 20.313 9.817
c = p i - eJpt 17,400,953 17,400,953 17,400,953

27,102.6 112,532.45 120,338.19

- 4625.7 - 7359.78 - 4080.38


22,477 105,173 116,258

SAMPLE PROBLEMS

(1) Fracture fluid having specific gravity of 1.05 is to be injected into three wells
simultaneously as shown below. Pipe section AB is 4 in. in diameter and 500 ft long.
Sections BC, BD and BE are each 1000 ft long with I.D. of 2.5 in. Friction losses at
each wellhead are equal to 50 psi. There are 2 flanged globe valves in each one of
the sections BC, BD, and BE. The depth to the midpoint of perforations in each of
the wells is 2500 ft. The tubing is 2.5 in. I.D., and casing is 4.5-in. I.D., with
c/d = lop4. The storage is open to atmosphere (Fig. 8-32). For a fracture fluid rate
of 50 bbl/min and a pressure of 3000 psig against the sandface, determine the
horsepower of the pump required at the fracture-fluid storage outlet. Assume
viscosity of fracture fluid = 100 CP and the fracture fluid is pumped through the
tubing-casing annulus.
276

C Frocture -a
Fluid Storoge

4in 4 in ID
Pump

41:
1
Fig. 8-32. Sample problem 1.
Formation

(2) A 45"API oil with solution gas/oil ratio R,=400 scf/bbl is to be trans-
ported at a flow rate Q = 12,000 bbl/D, through a 65-mile long, 10-in. I.D. pipeline.
Pipe relative roughness, ~ / = d soil temperature T, = 50°F; a, = 6.5 X lo6
ft2/sec; inlet oil temperature = 105°F; k , = 0.5 Btu/hr-ft-OF; k , = 1.5 Btu/hr-ft-
OF; kin= 0.05 Btu/hr-ft-OF; insulation thickness = 1 in.; pipe O.D. = 5.375 in. The
pipe is buried 10 ft below the surface.
Determine:
(a) The time required for flow to reach steady state.
(b) The steady-state pipeline outlet oil temperature.
(3) Gas is to be transported through a 4.5-in. I.D. 5-mile pipeline at 60 MMscf/D.
The inlet pressure is 1500 psia, gas gravity Gg= 0.80, average flowing temperature
= 75"F, friction factor f=O.O15. For a supply pressure of 800 psia, find the
horsepower of a 90%-efficientpump that must be placed 3 miles upstream from the
exit end.

REFERENCES

Barry, E.G., 1971. Pumping non-Newtonian waxy crude oils. J. Insr. Per., 57(554) : 74-85.
Bed, C., 1946. The viscosity of air, water, natural gas, crude oil and its associated gases at oil-field
temperatures and pressures. Trans. Soc. Per. Eng. AZME, 165 :94-115.
Beggs, H.D. and Brill, J.P., 1972,An Experimental Study of Two-phase Flow in Inclined Pipes. 47th Annu.
Fall Meet., Soc. Pet. Eng. AIME, San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 8-11, SPE 4007,13pp.
Beggs, H.D. and Robinson, J.R., 1975.Estimating the viscosity of crude oil systems, JFT Forum.J . Per.
Tech., 27(9) :1140-1141.
Brill, J.P. and Beggs, H.D., 1974.Two Phase Flow in Pipes. Textbook for courses at the Univ. of Tulsa.
Brown, G.G., 1945.A series of enthalpy-entropy charts for natural gases. Trans. Soc. Pet. Eng. AIME,
160:65-76.
277

Brown, G.G., Katz, D.L., Oberfell, G.B. and Alden, R.C., 1948. Natural Gasoline and Volatile Hydro-
carbons. N.G.A.A., Gas Processors Assoc., Tulsa, Okla.
Brown, K.E. and Beggs, H.D., 1973. The Technology of Artificial Lijt Methodr, Vol. 1. Pennwell, Tulsa,
Okla., 487 pp.
Campbell, J.M., 1974. Gus Conditioning and Processing. Campbell Petroleum Series, Norman, Okla., pp.
152-185.
Carr, N.L., Kobayashi, R. and Burrows, D.B., 1954. Viscosity of hydrocarbon gases under pressure.
Trans. SOC.Pet. Eng. AIME, 201 : 264-272.
Chernikin, V.I., 1958. Pumping of Viscous and Congealing Oils. Gostoptekhizdat, Moscow, (in Russian).
Chew, J. and Connally Jr., C.A., 1959. A viscosity correlation for gas-saturated crude oils. Trans. Soc.
Pet. Eng. AIME, 216 :23-25.
Colebrook, C.F., 1938-1939. Turbulent flow in pipes, with particular reference to the transition region
below the smooth and rough pipe laws. J . Inst. Ciu. Eng. Pap. 5204, 11 : 133-156.
Craft, B.C., Holden, W.R. and Graves, Jr., E.D., 1962. Well Design, Drilling and Production. Prentice-Hall,
Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 571 pp.
Cragoe, C.S., 1929. Miscellaneous Publication No. 97. U S . Bureau of Standards.
Crane-U.S.A., 1942. Technical Paper No. 409. Crane-U.S.A., New York, N.Y.
Davenport, T.C. and Conti, V.J., 1971. Heat transfer problems encountered in the handling of waxy
crude oils in large pipelines. J . Inst. Pet., 57(555) : 147-164.
Dougherty, E.L., 1982. Aduanced Reseruoir Engineering. Lectures at the University of Southern Cali-
fornia, Los Angeles, Cal.
Edmister, W.C., 1947-1949. Hydrocarbon absorption and fractionation process design. Petrol. Eng.,
May 1947 through March 1949.
Edmister, W.C., 1961. Applied Hydrocarbon Thermodynamics, Vol. I. Gulf, Houston, Tex., 312 pp.
Frick, T.C., 1962. Petroleum Production Handbook. Vol. 11. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., pp. 19-39.
Hansen, W.P., 1960. Time-saving chart for pipe wall thickness selection. Petro/Chem. Eng., 32(6) : 1-15.
Heinze, F., 1971. Hydratbildung. Lehrbogen 3/3 von der Bergakademie Freiberg.
Hydraulic Institute, 1979. Engineering Data Book. Hydraulic Inst., Cleveland, Ohio, 203 pp.
Institute of Gas Technology, 1972. Steady Flow in Gas Pipelines. Technical Report No. 10.
Kato, H., Nishiwaki, N. and Hirata, M., 1968. On the turbulent heat transfer by free convection from a
vertical plate. Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, l l ( 7 ) : 1117-1125.
Katz, D.L., Cornell, D., Kobayashi, R., Poettmann, F.H., Vary, J.A., Elenbaas, J.R. and Weinaug, C.F.,
1959. Handbook of Natural Gar Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., 802 pp.
Lee, A.L., Gonzalez, M.H. and Eakin, B.E., 1966. The viscosity of natural gases. Trans. Soc. Pet. Eng.
AIME, 237 : 997-1000.
Ludwig, E.E., 1977. Applied Process Design for Chemical and Petrochemical Plants, Vol. 1. Gulf, Houston,
Tex., 371 pp.
Makowski, M.M. and Mochlinski, K., 1956. An evaluation of two rapid methods of assessing the thermal
resistivity of soil. Proc. Inst. Electr. Eng., Oct.
Marks, A., 1978. Handbook of Pipeline Engineering Computations. PennWell, Tulsa, Okla., 347 pp.
Moody, L.F., 1944. Friction factors for pipe flow. Trans. Am. SOC.Mech. Eng., 66:671-684.
Perry, R.H. and Chilton, C.H. (Editors), 1973. Chemical Engineers' Handbook. McGraw-Hill, New York,
N.Y. 5th Ed.
Petroleum Extension Service, 1953. Oil Pipeline Construction and Maintenance. Univ. Texas, Austin, Tex.,
193 pp.
Rohsenow, W.M. and Hartnett, J.P., 1973. Handbook of Heat Transfer. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y.,
pp. 3-121.
Standing, M.B. and Katz, D.L., 1942. Density of natural gases. Trans. SOC. Pet. Eng. AIME,
146: 140-149.
Szilas, A.P., 1975. Production and Transport of Oil and Gas (Developments in Petroleum Science, 3)
Elsevier, Amsterdam, 630 pp.
Thomas, R. and Turner, W.C., 1953. Insulation for heat and cold. Chem. Eng., 60(6):222.
Wylie, E.B., Streeter, V.L. and Stoner, M.A., 1972. Unsteady Natural Gas Calculations in Complex Piping
'
systems. In: 47th Annu. Fall Meet., Soc. Pet. Eng. AIME, San Antonio, Tex., Oct. 8-11, SPE 4004.
Zaba, J. and Doherty, W.T., 1956. Practical Petroleum Engineers' Handbook. Gulf, Houston, Tex. 4th ed.
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279

Chapter 9

DESIGN OF FLOWING WELL SYSTEMS

SANJAY KUMAR, KERN H. GUPPY and GEORGE V. CHILINGARIAN

INTRODUCTION

The design of production facilities necessitates familiarity with and an under-


standing of the basic concepts of flow in the overall system consisting of the
reservoir, subsurface equipment, and the surface flow configuration. It is imperative
that good judgement be exercised in designing these facilities to match the oil or gas
well’s production in order not to underdesign or overdesign the system.
Figure 9-1 is a schematic representation of the overall flow configuration in a
typical well as fluid flows frqm the reservoir to the surface separator. Each segment
of the flow configuration can be separated and treated individually. Equations can
be derived to predict pressure drops in each segment. In general, the entire system is
separated into the following flow segments:
(1) Reservoir or porous fluid flow.
(2) Vertical or directional flow in tubing or casing.

rCHOKE SEPARATOR
;AS +

i
-.,-.
. i c-FLOW ~HROUGHO POROUS MEDIUM

Fig. 9-1. The overall production system. (After Brown and Beggs, 1977, p. 68; courtesy of PennWell
Publishing Company.)
280

(3) Horizontal or inclined flow in surface flowlines.


(4) Restricted or choke flow.
The objective in the overall design is to minimize pressure drops in each portion
of the system. Hence, the type of flow, whether single- or two-phase flow, can have
a significant impact on the design criteria.

RESERVOIR FLUID FLOW

The ability of a reservoir to produce is influenced by several factors, such as


reservoir permeability, reservoir pressure, and the type of drive mechanism. To
predict this ability to flow, it is important that the relationship between flow rate
and pressure be described accurately. The pressures normally used are the flowing
bottomhole pressure and the average reservoir pressure. For any given flow rate, the
smaller the difference between these pressures, the more efficient is the ability of the
reservoir to produce fluids.
To compare different wells with different drive mechanisms quantitatively, a
parameter called the productivity index, J , is used, which is defined as follows:

J=q/(jR-Pwf) (9-1)
where q = flow rate, bbl/D; jR = average reservoir pressure, psia; and pwf= flowing
bottomhole pressure at the wellbore, psia.
Productivity index J , commonly expressed as PI, can be based on total fluid
production, or on individual oil, water, or gas production rate, as illustrated in
Example 9-1.
Example 9-1
Given: jR = 3000 psia, pwf= 2500 psia, q, = 200 bbl/D (bpd), water cut = 258,
and h = 20 ft.
Find:
(1) J based on oil production,
(2) J based upon total liquid production, and
(3) Specific J for (1) and (2) above.
Solution:
Water cut = 0.25 = q,/( q, + qo).
Hence, qo = 4,- q, = 3q, = 600 bbl/D and jR- pwf= 3000 - 2500 = 500 psi.
0.25
600
(1) J = qo/( jR - p W r )= -= 1.2 bbl/D/psi.
500
(2) = (40 + q w ) / ( P R - P w f ) = 6oo5002oo = 1.6 bbl/D/psi.
+

(3) Specific J , based upon oil production, J,,, is equal to:


J
J,, = - = 1.2/20 = 0.06 bbl/D/psi-ft.
h
281

00 q+

Fig. 9-2. Typical inflow performance curves. (Modified after Brown and Beggs, 1977, p. 1; courtesy of
PennWell Publishing Company.)

Specific Jst, based upon total liquid production, is equal to:

1.6
J,, = - = 0.08 bbl/D/psi-ft.
20
To properly design the 'correct production components, it is very important to
predict the flowing bottomhole pressure for any given flow rate. It has been found
that the drive mechanism in the reservoir has the greatest influence on this
relationship, called the Inflow Performance Relationship ( I P R ) . It is shown in Fig.
9-2 for water-drive, gas-cap-drive and solution-gas-drive mechanisms. A quantitative
measure of the I P R is the productivity index, the inverse slope of the IPR curve.
For the water-drive mechanism, J is constant. For the gas-cap and solution-gas-cap
drives, J is not constant and varies with flow rate as follows:

Figure 9-3 illustrates the J characteristics for the three different types of reservoirs.
It should also be noted that a combination of drive mechanisms can exist in many
reservoirs. In a newly discovered reservoir, the reservoir pressure is above the bubble
point. Below the bubble point, gas and oil segregate forming a two-phase oil and gas
mixture. Inasmuch as the IPR curve ranges from the maximum pressure (average
reservoir pressure) to the minimum pressure of zero, the system exhibits a
combination of linear J above the bubble point and a non-linear solution-gas-drive
J below the bubble point.
It is important to remember that the I P R curve represents the relationship
between the flowing bottomhole pressure and flow rate at a given reservoir pressure.
Thus, as the reservoir pressure changes, the IPR curve will become different. For
the water-drive system, the slopes will be the same, but the actual flow rate and
pressure values will be different.
Whereas in the water-drive system, IPR can be accurately predicted by testing a
well and assuming a linear relationship, in the case of the solution-gas-drive, IPR is
more difficult to predict. In 1968, Vogel offered a technique for describing the IPR
282

'0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0


CUMULATIVE RECOVERY (MMSTBO)

Fig. 9-3. Relationship between productivity index, J , and recovery for different types of reservoirs. (In:
Brown and Beggs, 1977, p. 2; courtesy of Shell Oil Company.)

curve for solution-gas-drive reservoirs. In this paper, using different P YT data from
several reservoirs, he was able to dimensionally represent ZPR curve in a form
shown in Fig. 9-4. It was also found that a nonlinear equation can be used to
describe this relationship as follows:
2
qo/(qo)m, = 1 - 0.2 r
(3 (3 - 0.8 - (9-3)

where (qO)m, is estimated at pwr= 0. As in the case of water-drive system, testing a


well to determine pwfcorresponding to a flow rate qo enables one to determine the
IPR curve. In Vogel's equation, however, ( qo)ma'i is determined from substituting qo
and pwfin eq. 9-3.
Example 9-2
The following data were obtained from a well test:
-
p R= 3000 psia, pwf= 2500 psia, qo = 500 STB/D.
Find:
(1) (40)m,, i.e.9 40 at P w r = O .
(2) qo at pwf= 500 psia, using Vogel's method.
(3) qo at pwf= 500 psia, assuming a constant J .
Solution:
283
w
n
3
v)
v)
w
n
a

w
U
3
v)
v)
w
U
a

-0 0:20 0.40 0:60 0.80 l:oo


PRODUCING RATE (q,/(qo)max), FRACTION OF MAXIMUM

Fig. 9-4. Inflow performance relationship for solution-gas-drive reservoirs. (After Vogel, 1968. fig. 5 . p.
85; courtesy of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of A.I.M.E.)

Using eq. 9-3:

--4o - 1 - 0.2(0.8333) - 0.8(0.8333)2 = 0.2778


( 40 )"ax

40 500
. ' . ( q )max = 0.2778 = -
~

0.2778
= 1800 STB/D.

Pwr 500
= -
(2) r = 0.1667
PR 3000
284

40
As before,- = 1 - 0.2(0.1667) - 0.8(0.1667)2= 0.9444.
(40 )mu

Thus: qo = 0.9444(q0),, = (0.9444)(1800) = 1700 STB/D.

(3) J = - 40 = 500 = 1.O bbl/D/psi.


PR -Pwf (3000 - 2500)

Thus: qo = J( j R- p w r )= l(3000 - 500) = 2500 STB/D.


One shortcoming of Vogel’s equation is the assumption that the well does not
have a pressure drop around the wellbore due to the wellbore damage or to
fractures. Standing (1971) extended Vogel’s work to account for the so-called “skin
effect” in the vicinity of the wellbore. He defined a term known as the flow
efficiency ( F E ) as follows:

where J, = actual productivity index, Ji = ideal productivity index, pkf = ideal


bottomhole pressure, and pwr= actual bottomhole pressure ( = p i p- Ap,,,). Equa-
tion 9-4 can be redefined as folloisrs:

Equation 9-5 shows that if FE < 1, the well is damaged. If FE > 1, the well is
stimulated. When FE = 1.0, Standing’s correlation becomes Vogel’s equation. Fig-
ure 9-5 shows Standing’s curves for various FE values. One parameter in eq. 9-5
that needs to be determined is Ap,,,. The simplest method used is to test the well
and develop a Horner Plot in order to determine the skin effect, S . The Horner plot
yields slope m , whch enables determination of Ap,,,, i.e., Ap,,, = 0.87 Sm. Details
of this procedure are given in Chapter 10.
Example 9-3
The following information is available from a well test: qo = 500 bbl/D, jR=
3000 psig, pWr= 2500 psig, and FE = 0.7.
Find:
qo at pwf= 1700 psig, when
(a) FE = 0.7.
(b) The well is reworked to yield FE = 1.0.
(c) The well is fractured to yield FE = 1.3.
Solution:
Pwr - 2500
= 0.833
j R 3000
S8Z

Fig. 9-5. IPR curves for damaged wells producing by solution-gas-drive. (After Standing, 1970, fig. 2, p.
1400; courtesy of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of A.I.M.E.)

From Fig. 9-5, at FE = 1.0, qo/(qo)kk-l


= 0.19. Thus, (qo)cE1
= 500/0.19 = 2632
bbl/D. For a pwr of 1700 psig:

From Fig. 9-5:


(a) For FE = 0.7, qo/(qo)Lzl = 0.47
Thus, qo = (0.47)(2632) = 1237 bbl/D.
(b) For FE = 1.0, qo/(qo)k%=l = 0.65
Thus, qo = (0.65)(2632) = 1711 bbl/D.
(c) For FE = 1.3, qo/(qo);L*l = 0.77
Hence, qo = (0.77)(2632) = 2026 bbl/D.

The above example illustrates how to predict the flow rate at various values of
pwr.Hence, as long as FE is known, an IPR curve can be developed for a particular
well.
In summary, methods have been shown in this section for predicting the
relationship between flowing bottomhole pressure, pwf,and flow rate, qo. Once a
relationship is determined, the IPR curve is drawn. In many cases, it may be
required to design the tubing and flowline combination before the well is drilled. It
286

is useful to test an adjacent well in order to predict the inflow performance


relationship for the new well. An accurate estimate must be made of the relationship
between the flowing bottomhole pressure and flow rate for a given average reservoir
pressure.

VERTICAL FLOW

For oil reservoirs, the vertical flow in the tubing or casing requires accurate
methods for predicting pressure drop from the bottom of the wellbore to the
surface. Such calculations become very complicated when gas and oil are flowing
together, e.g., as a result of flashing that may take place due to the large reductions
in pressure as the fluid moves upward in the tubing.
As in the case of single-phase flow in vertical columns, prediction of frictional
loss in the case of two-phase flow requires estimating friction factors which are
dependent on viscosity, density, and velocity of the fluids. In two-phase flow,
viscosity and density are actually those of a mixture (liquid and gas). Determination
of the properties of mixtures requires introduction of a new parameter called the
liquid holdup factor, H L , defined as the volume fraction of liquid- in a vertical
column.
The holdup factor is usually determined from correlations based on experimental
work. It depends on the flow pattern, gas and liquid velocities, and the pipe
inclination. Frequently, it is taken as the no-slip holdup, A , which can be calculated
directly from the flow rates (see Chapter 11).
Vertical flow correlations
Various methods used for predicting pressure drops in vertical columns use
different empirical correlations for determining H , and the friction factor for the
two-phase mixtures. Following a pioneering paper by Poettmann and Carpenter
(1952), considerable amount of research work has been done in this area. Most of
these correlations differ only in (1) the way the liquid holdup is evaluated in the
computation of density; (2) the handling of friction losses; and (3) the distinction
made in flow regimes.
Correlations presented by Hagedorn and Brown (1965) and Beggs and Brill
(1973) are considered to be applicable over all velocity ranges of multiphase flow.
Hagedorn and Brown used a 1500-ft deep experimental well to develop their
correlation. Data was taken for liquids of varying viscosity using three different
tubing sizes (1-2.5 in.). They used the general energy equation to obtain the
equation for pressure loss in a two-phase system:

where A p = pressure drop in psi, through a vertical distance A h in ft; d = tubing


287

diameter, ft; w = mass flow rate, Ib,/D; V, = velocity of mixture, ft/sec; P, =


+
pLHL &(l- H L ) = average mixture density, lb,/ft3; pm = density of the mixture
at the reference point; g = gravitational acceleration = 32.2 ft/sec2; and g, = 32.2
lb, ft/lb, sec2.
They represented the mixture viscosity by the relation proposed by Arrhenius.
Thus, the Reynolds number, expressed in oilfield units for the two-phase flow
becomes:

(9-7)

where pL= liquid viscosity, cP; and pg = gas viscosity, cP.


Flow patterns were not considered. In the modified Hagedorn and Brown
technique, however, the Griffith modification for bubble flow has been incorporated
for use in the bubble flow regime. Another modification is in the use of mixture
density. The larger of the two values, one calculated by using the Hagedorn and
Brown holdup correlation and the other by assuming no-slip, is used. These
modifications render this correlation applicable quite accurately over a wide range
of flow conditions.
Beggs and Brill (1973) conducted experiments on scaled-down versions of the real
situation in the laboratory. They used 90-ft long pipe sections, 1 in. and 1.5 in. in
diameter. The singular advantage offered by such a setup was that the same pipe
could be manipulated at all angles, from horizontal to vertical. All other parameters
remaining the same, the variation in flow characteristics under the influence of any
one parameter could be studied. This correlation was developed primarily for
directional or inclined flow. It is quite accurate for horizontal and vertical flow.
The Duns and Ros (1963) method was developed through large-scale, carefully
controlled laboratory data, suitably modified using field data. Their mist flow

Fig. 9-6. Vertical flow patterns. (After Duns and Ros, 1963; courtesy of Halliburton Services.)
N
m
W

Fig. 9-7. Flow regime map. (After Duns and Ros. 1%3; courtesy ofWliburton Smites.)
289

correlation is the most widely accepted. An interesting aspect of this work is the
introduction of the flow regimes (Fig. 9-6) and the flow regime map (Fig. 9-7).
In Fig. 9-7, Ngv= gas-velocity number = Kg(~ , / g u ) ' / and
~ NLv= liquid-velocity
number = V,,( ~ , / g a ) ' / ~ ; Kg= superficial gas velocity, ft/sec; V,, = superficial
liquid velocity, ft/sec; pL = liquid density, lb,/ft3; and u = surface tension,
lb,,,/sec2.
The above-described correlations all require the use of complex programs and
computers to accurately predict pressure drop, and details can be obtained from the
original references.
Working pressure traverse curves for vertical flow

To avoid the use of large programs and computers for individual wells, a more
generalized approach has been made to predict pressure drops in vertical columns:
traverse curves, which are plots of depth versus pressure for selected oil and gas
properties at various gas/liquid ratios, are used. The most common traverse curves
used are prepared by using correlations of Hagedorn and Brown and are presented
in Figs. 9.1-1 through 9.1-16 in Appendix 9.1. These curves enable conversion of
pressures into equivalent vertical lengths and vice versa.
The technique of using the traverse curves can be described as follows:
(1) Select the applicable curve for the given tubing size, production rate, and
gas/liquid ratio.
(2) Locate the known pressure on the pressure curves, go vertically down to the
applicable gas/liquid ratio curve, and read off the depth on the vertical depth axis.
(3) Correct this depth as follows:
(a) Add the well depth to the depth value found in Step (2), if the known
pressure was the surface pressure.
(b) Subtract the well depth from the depth value found in Step (2), if the known
pressure was the bottomhole pressure.
(4) Read off the unknown pressure corresponding to the corrected depth.
Example 9-4 serves to illustrate this procedure.
Example 9-4
Given: qo = 800 bbl/D, G / O = 300 scf/bbl, z = 8000 ft, PR = 2800 psig, J = 1.0
(linear), tubing size = 2.5 in.
Find: the flowing wellhead pressure, Pwh.

Solution:

J = - qo =1.0
P R - Pwr
Therefore, p w p= 2800 - 800 = 2000 psig.
Using Fig. 9.1-9 for vertical flow, pwh at 1400 ft (= 9400 - 8000) is equal to 130
psig.
290

MULTIPHASE FLOW IN DIRECTIONAL WELLS

In the case of directional wells with deviations not exceeding 15-20' true vertical
depth can be used along with the vertical multiphase flow correlation to ascertain
the pressure traverse. This approximation, however, is invalid for deviations greater
than 20°, because (1) a directional well has a greater length than a vertical well for
the same depth, resulting in a greater frictional head loss, and (2) holdup differs and
may be greater than that for vertical flow.
Beggs and Brill (1973) introduced corrected holdup factors to account for
directional flow. Their results, however, have not yet been tested sufficiently to be
widely accepted.
Ney (1968) presented two new solutions, whereas Fuentes (1968) extended his
work. One of these solutions, which is presented here, combines the use of vertical
flow and horizontal flow correlations of Hagedorn and Brown. First the pressure
loss is calculated using only the true vertical depth in a vertical flow correlation.
Then the frictional pressure drop due to the extra length of the tubing (i.e., total
tubing length minus true vertical depth of tubing) is determined using a horizontal
flow correlation. The sum of these two pressure losses is the total pressure loss for
the deviated well. Ney (1968) and Fuentes (1968) have pointed out that this method
works fairly well. Example 9-5 outlines this procedure.

Example 9-5
In a directionally-drilled well, the true vertical depth is equal to 7000 ft; length of
2-in. tubing is equal to 9000 ft; Pwh = 100 psig; q = 1000 bbl/D (100% water);
G / L = 800 scf/bbl. Determine the flowing bottomhole pressure, p w f .

Solution:
Using the vertical flow correlation for a vertical depth of 7000 ft, p;, = 1760 psig.
A trial and error procedure is required to determine p w f .As a first approxima-
tion, pwr= 1800 psig.
+ +
Thus, the average pressure, j = ( pwh p w r ) / 2= (100 1800)/2 = 950 psig. On
locating this average pressure ( jj = 950 psig) on the horizontal flow correlation chart
in Fig. 9.1-19, and using additional length of 2000 ft (= 9000-7000), the down-
stream pressure is found to be 890 psig. The head loss due to friction in this extra
2000 ft of pipe, therefore, is equal to:

A p , = 950 - 890 = 60 psig

Thus pwf= pLf + A p , = 1760 + 60 = 1820 psig.


Second trial:
Assuming pwf= 1820 psig, j = (100 + 1820)/2 = 960 psig.
From the horizontal flow correlation, downstream pressure = 900 psig. Thus: A p , =
960-900 = 60 psig and pwf= 1760 + 60 = 1820 psig. Consequently, the second
assumption was correct and pwr= 1820 psig.
291

HORIZONTAL FLOW IN SURFACE FLOWLINES

The main objective in designing flowlines is to choose a flowline size that will not
cause significant back pressure on the well, restricting fluid flow from the well.
Usually, the separator pressure is predetermined and it is necessary to determine the
optimum wellhead pressure to produce at the allotted flow rate.

Horizontal flow correlations

As in the case of vertical flow, several correlations have been presented in the
literature for determining two-phase pressure drop in the horizontal lines. Unlike
the vertical flow, however, there is no elevation component. Only liquid holdup and
friction loss parameters are necessary for characterizing horizontal flow.
Lockhart and Martinelli (1949) were the first to present a correlation, which was
determined from laboratory-scale data. They, however, neglected flow patterns and
any acceleration. Thus, their method may result in large errors, especially in
designing large-diameter pipes.
Dukler et al. (1964) and Dukler (1969) collected laboratory and field data and
used these to develop correlations for liquid holdup and friction factor. They
studied two cases: (1) the case of no slip between phases and a homogeneous flow;
and (2) the case where slip occurs, but it is assumed that the ratio of the velocity of
each phase to the average velocity is constant. Flow patterns were not considered.
Their friction factor correlation is one of the most accurate for horizontal flow.
Eaton et al. (1967) developed correlations for friction factor and liquid holdup
from extensive field studies under controlled conditions. Flow patterns were not
considered. The liquid holdup correlation presented by them is very accurate and is
frequently used along with Dukler’s friction factor correlation.

Working pressure traverse curves for horizontal flow

The correlations cited are fairly complex and require the use of a computer to
accurately calculate the pressure traverse. It is recommended that the correlations of
Dukler’s Case I1 or the Eaton’s correlation be used if accurate predictions are
needed. For reasonable results, the workmg pressure traverse curves prepared by
Brown are sufficient. These curves are based on Eaton’s correlation and give
satisfactory results except for low rates and low G / L ratios.
Similar to the vertical flow curves, plots of pressure versus length of horizontal
pipe have been prepared for various G / L ratios. It should be pointed out that these
curves were prepared using water, but can be used interchangeably for oil, provided
the free-gas/oil ratio is used for the G / L parameter.
Horizontal flow pressure traverse curves are presented in Figs. 9.1-17 through
9.1-22. The steps involved in using them can be summarized as follows:
(1) Select the curve for the given line size, flow rate, and gas/liquid ratio.
(2) Enter the pressure axis using the known pressure and locate the length
corresponding to this pressure on the correct G / L ratio curve.
292

(3) Correct this length for the pipeline length by:


(a) Adding the pipeline length to the length in Step (2), if the known pressure is
the outlet pressure, and
(b) Subtracting the pipeline length from the length determined in Step (2), if the
known pressure is the inlet pressure.
(4) The unknown pressure is the pressure corresponding to this corrected length.

Example 9-6
A well is producing 800 bbl/D of oil with G/O=800 scf/bbl at a flowing
wellhead pressure of 400 psig. Determine the separator pressure for a 2.5 in. ID,
9000-ft long line.

Solution:
Assume that at a pressure of 400 psig there is no gas in solution. Hence
free-gas/oil ratio is 800 scf/bbl. Using Fig. 9.1-20 and the procedure described
above:

pSe, = 300 psig

INCLINED OR HILLY TERRAIN MULTIPHASE FLOW

Inclined flow implies flow through pipes that deviate from the horizontal, such as
flow over hills, etc. Flanigan (1958) and Beggs and Brill (1973) presented some
correlations. Flanigan’s method, however, is the only method available that can be
applied to field problems without the use of complex computer programs. He
calculated the effect of hills on pressure drop in pipelines by observing several field
tests for various inclined flowlines at different flow rates, and concluded that most
of the pressure drop occurred in the uphill section of the line.
Flanigan defined two main pressure drop components that influence the two-phase
flow in an inclined system and presented a method to determine each one of them:
(1) Pressure drop due to friction, which is the predominant component in
horizontal lines.
(2) Pressure drop due to the liquid head, which is the predominant component in
vertical and inclined flows.
The sum of these two components determines the total pressure drop (Fig. 9-8).
The uphill sections are treated as equivalent vertical columns containing an
equivalent amount of liquid. Inasmuch as in two-phase flow the pipe is not
completely filled with liquid, Flanigan introduced the term HF, which is the fraction
of the total static pressure drop that exists as the elevation component. The pressure
drop A p (in psi) due to elevation is determined by using the following equation:

PLHFXH
Ap= (9-8)
144
293

Gas flow rate

Fig. 9-8. Pressure drop components in two-phase flow. (After Flanigan, 1958; courtesy of the Oilund Gus
Journal.)

where pL = liquid density, lb,/ft3; HF = elevation factor, dimensionless; and C H =


the total uphill rises in the direction of flow, ft. The correlation between HF and the
superficial gas velocity, V&, as determined by Flanigan, is as follows:

1
H, = (9-9)
+
1 0.3264V,kOo6

Baker (1960) showed that for Kg> 50, the applicable formula is:
0.00967( 1)1'2
H, =
v0.7
(9-10)
sg

where I = length of the flowline; and

31,194qgTF
(9-11)
"= d'j(520)

Example 9-7
A flowline passes over 6 hills having the following vertical heights: 120 ft, 80 ft,
220 ft, 40 ft, 70 ft, and 180 ft. The flowline is 4 in. in diameter and 2000 ft long.
qL = 6000 bbl/D (95% water); Gg= 0.7 (with respect to air); G, = 1.07; gravity of
oil is 42" API; average pressure in line, j = 300 psia; and average temperature,
r= 120°F. Find the pressure loss due to the hills if the gas/liquid ratio G/L = 200
scf/bbl.

Solution:
E : H = 1 2 0 + 8 0 + 2 2 0 + 4 0 + 7 0 + 1 8 0 = 7 1 0 ft.
T= 120°F = 580"R, j = 300 psi, and Gg= 0.7.
294

Using Figs. 8-20 and 8-21 (Chapter 8), the compressibility factor, z=0.96. From
eq. 9-11:

qgz 7 (31194)(6000 X 200 X 10-6)(0.96)(580)


V = 31,194-- = = 8.35 ft/sec
sg dzjj 520 (16) (300) (520)

Using eq. 9-9:

1
H, = = 0.266,
+ (0.3264)(8.35)''w6
1

Go = (141.5)/(131.5 + OAPI) = (141.5)/(173.5) = 0.8156,


G, = O.95Gw+ 0.05G0 = (0.95)(1.07) + (0.05)(0.8156) = 1.06,
and yL = (1.06)(62.4) lbf/ft3.
Therefore, Aphills= (1.06)(62.4)(0.266)(710)/144 = 86.75 psi.

FLOW THROUGH CHOKES

All flowing wells utilize some kind of surface restriction, such as a choke, in order
to regulate the flowing rate. Chokes serve many useful functions: (1) maintaining
desirable flow rate; (2) maintaining sufficient back pressure to prevent sand entry;
(3) protecting surface equipment; and (4) preventing gas or water coning.
It is desirable to size a surface choke in a flowing well, so that flow through it is
critical. Critical flow implies a flow where change in downstream pressure (such as
separator pressure) does not affect the flow rate or the upstream pressure. This
situation is obviously highly desirable in field operations.
Critical flow is assumed to occur when the downstream pressure, p d , is ap-
proximately half of the upstream pressure, p u :

Pu/Pd = 2 (9-12)

The generalized equation for critical two-phase flow through a choke is:

(9-13)

where qL = liquid flow rate, STB/D; pu = upstream pressure, psia; d i = inside


diameter of choke, 6 4 t h ~in.; and R = producing gas/liquid ratio, scf/STB.
Various investigators have proposed different values for a, b and c. Most
commonly, however, Gilbert's (1954) correlation is used, where Q = 1.89, b = 10.0,
and c = 0.546:

qL = ( p u d ' . 8 9 ) / ( 1 0 R 0 . 5 4 6 ) (9-14)
295

Example 9-8
A reservoir having J = 1.0 and jTR = 2400 psig, is producing through 2.5-in.
tubing, 5000-ft deep at a rate of qo = 1000 bbl/D with G / L = 600 scf/bbl. This
well produces a large amount of sand when the oil production rate is above 1000
bbl/D; therefore, it is required to install a choke (“choke the well back”). Inasmuch
as hydrate problems have made it impossible to install a surface choke, a bottom-
hole choke must be designed. It is proposed that the choke be installed at a depth of
4000 ft, i.e., 1000 ft above the bottom of the tubing.

Determine:
(a) The choke size required.
(b) The flowing wellhead pressure, assuming that the flow through the choke is
critical with p, = 2pd.

Solution:
(a) pWr= jTR - qo/J = 2400 - 1000/1 = 1400 psig.
Using Fig. 9.1-10, the pressure at 1000 ft above the bottom of tubing is equal to
p, = 1175 psig.
The system is shown in Fig. 9-9. Using eq. 9-14:

d!.89= l o q , ~ 0 . 5 4 6- (10)(1000)(600)0’546
= 279.8 in 6 4 t h ~in.
PU 1175

Thus, di = (279.8)1/1,89= 19.71 = 20/64 inches.


(b) pd = i(1175) = 588 psig.
Using the vertical flow correlation of Fig. 9.1-10, Pwh= 100 psig.

1175 p r i g

P, = 1400psig

Fig. 9-9. Diagram of bottomhole choke for solving Example 9-8.


296

THE OVERALL PRODUCTION SYSTEM

Figure 9-1 illustrates the overall interconnected system. The inflow performance
(l),vertical flow performance (2), surface flowlines (3), and chokes (4) correspond,
respectively, to (1) flow in the reservoir (porous medium), (2) subsurface flow up the
tubing to the wellhead, (3) flow in surface lines, and (4) flow through the choke.
Figure 9-10 shows the graphical representation of this system. Typically, (1) the
pressure loss in the porous medium ( A p , =jR-pwf) is equal to 10-50% of the total
loss; (2) the pressure loss in the vertical tubing string, A p , , is equal to 30-80% of
the total loss; and (3) the pressure loss in the surface facilities, A p , , is equal to
5-30% of the total loss.
The pressure versus flow rate plot shown in Fig. 9-11 exemplifies a plot used by
an engineer in designing the production facilities for a given well. The procedure
can be briefly described as follows (Brown and Beggs, 1977):
(1) Plot the inflow performance curve.
(2) Knowing the depth of the well, G/L,tubing diameter, etc., determine the
values of the wellhead pressure corresponding to different flow rates and then plot.
(3) Plot the surface choke performance curve for different flow rates. Sometimes,
as shown in Fig. 9-10, a single curve is drawn corresponding to the flow rate desired.

tubing string =
A PZ
( P w f - PWh )
I
I

&@ ----
s u r f a c e facil i t i e s 1
\
Fig. 9-10. Relationship between pressure and flow rate. (After Juch, 1967; courtesy of PennWell Publ.
CO.)
297

I 1 I I 1
0 loo0 2000 3000 4000 SO00 WOO

TOTAL LIQUID FLOWRATE, qL, bbVD

Fig. 9-11. Tubing and flowline analysis for Example 9-9.

(4) The vertical line at the desired rate gives the values of pwf,4 , pwh,and choke
size required for optimum performance.
Example 9-9 below outlines the procedure used in the selection of correct
combination of tubing and flowline sizes.

Example 9-9
A well is ready to be completed with several different tubing and flowline
combinations. Determine the possible combinations, given the following informa-
tion:
J = 10.0, WOR = 1.0, length of tubing = 8000 ft, G/O = lo00 sc€/bbl,
flowline length = 4000 ft, average tubing temperature = 150°F, average flowline
temperature = 120°F, and Gg= 0.65.
The well should not produce above 2000 bbl/D of liquid because of sand problems.
The reservoir pressure is 3000 psig and the separator must be operated at 100 psig.
The tubing and flowline sizes available are:
(1) Tubing: 2 in. and 3 in. ID.
(2) Flowline: 2 in., 2.5 in., 3 in., and 4 in. ID.

Solution:
WOR (water/oil ratio) is 1 and the G/O ratio is 1000 scf/bbl. Hence: G/L
ratio = 500 scf/bbl.

40
J=10=
3000 - pwr
298

Therefore:
40
pwf= 3000 - -
10
qL
or pwf= 3000 - - (9-15)
20

where qL = qo + q, = 2q0 as given.


Now, assuming various values for q L , one can obtain pwrusing eq. 9-15 above.
Then the vertical correlation is used to determine the flowing wellhead pressure,
pwr.Also using a separator pressure of 100 psig, one can determine the wellhead
pressure, pwh,from the horizontal correlation; the flowline length is 4000 ft. The
results obtained on following the above-described procedure are as follows:

Vertical correlation

qL G/L Pwr pwhfor tubing size (ID) (in.)


(Psi@ 2 3
1000 500 2900 640 740
1500 500 2850 480 -
2000 500 2800 240 640
3000 500 2700 - 560
4Ooo 500 2600 - 440

Horizontal correlation

qL G/J- pwh for flowline size (ID) (in.)


2 2.5 3 4
600 500 220 160 - -
1000 500 350 200 - -
1500 500 540 300 - -
2000 500 720 400 250 160
3000 500 - 600 370 190
4000 500 - - 520 240
5000 500 - - - 280

The above data is plotted in Fig. 9-11. The intersections below q L = 2000 bbl/D
give the possible combinations as follows:

Tubing size Flowline size Total flow rate, q L Oil flow rate, q,,
(in.) (in.) (bbl/D) (bbl/D)
2 2 1375 687.5
2 2.5 1750 875
2 3 2000 1000
3 2 1850 925
299

SAMPLE PROBLEMS

(1) In a solution-gas-drive reservoir, PR = 3500 psi, FE = 1, pwf= 2800 psi, and


qo = 750 bbl/D.
(a) Determine the maximum oil production rate at a reservoir pressure of 3500
psi.
(b) Find qo when pwrdrops to 1800 psi.
(2) An oil well gave the following pressure response on January 2, 1982:

Rate, STB/D: 500 1000 1450


pwf, psis: 2600 2040 1500

The jR was 3000 psia on January 2, 1982. On January 2, 1983, a new test was run
and it was found that jR = 2550 psia, and that qo = 600 bbl/D for a pwfof 1620
psia. With respect to the new conditions:
(a) Determine ( qo),,,= (Hint: Plot qo versus drawdown on a log-log paper).
(b) Determine qo for a drawdown of 1500 psia using the graph drawn in part (a).
(c) Repeat (a) and (b) using Vogel's technique. Assume FE = 1.
(3) In a 2.5411. ID tubing, a well is making 200 bbl/D of water having specific
gravity of 1.08; G / L = 500. The specific gravity of gas is 0.65 and the average
temperature is 120°F. Assume no slippage and that no gas goes into solution
(because only water is being produced). At a pressure of 500 psia, find:
(a) The no-slip holdup, A.
(b) The (i) gas, (ii) liquid, and (iii) mixture velocities.
(4) Given: 2.5-in. flowline; 3-in tubing; separator pressure = 200 psig; wellhead
pressure = 650 psig; flowline length = 10,000 f t ; tubing length (depth) = 4000 ft;
G / L = 1500 scf/bbl; and 100% water. Determine: (a) the flow rate possible in the
flowline (assume all water) and (b) the flowing bottomhole pressure.
(5) Given: depth = 8000 ft, jR= 2500 psig, G/O = 350, pwh= 120 psig (100%
oil production). A safety valve was installed in this well at 3000 ft from the surface.
A flow test conducted later showed that J = 5.0 (assume linear relationship). If the
tubing is 4 in. in diameter and qo at the time of the test was 3000 bbl/D, is the
valve partially closed or not? If so, what is the pressure drop across the valve?
Assume qo is constant before and after valve installation (this is a simplifying
assumption and is not necessarily true).
(6) Given: length of pipeline 1 = 5000 ft, elevation of hills = 700 ft, upstream
pressure pup= 400 psi, downstream pressure pdn= 150 psi, qw = 3000 bbl/D (all
water), G, = 1.10, G / L = 800 scf/bbl, T = 120"F, and Gg= 0.65. Design the neces-
sary flowline over the hills.
(7) A production system is overdesigned in such a way that the separator
pressure of 100 psig cannot be maintained. The system consists of a 2.5-in. tubing
having a length of 5000 ft. The flowline is 2.5 in. in diameter and 4000 f t long.
The well produces 100%oil having 35" API gravity with GOR = 500 scf/bbl. The
reservoir has an active water drive and consists of three separate layers having
300

permeabilities of 310 md, 80 md, and 100 md. The net pay of these layers is 20 ft, 30
ft, and 80 ft, respectively. Reservoir pressure = 3000 psig, wellbore diameter = 6 in.,
B, = 1.22, and po = 8 cP. A 40-acre spacing is used.
It is proposed to install a surface choke. Find (a) the production rate for critical
flow across choke and (b) the necessary choke size.
(8) An oilwell stops flowing due to a low reservoir pressure. Tubing size = 2 in.,
water cut = 0.5, wellhead pressure = 160 psig, G/O = 200 scf/bbl, and tubing
length = 8000 ft. It is required to produce 400 bbl/D of oil. An orifice is located in
the tubing at a depth of 5000 ft (from the surface). It is possible to inject gas
through the casing at high pressures. Liner size = 8 in., spacing = 60-acre, net
pay = 95 ft, k, = 10 md, k, = 200 md, B, = 1.04, B, = 1.15, p, = 1.0 cP, p, = 8
cP, and reservoir pressure = 2700 psig (maintained by a water drive). What is the
required gas flow rate through the casing?

APPENDIX 9.1-HAGEDORN AND BROWN (1965) PRESSURE TRAVERSE CURVES. CORRE-


LATION AMONG PRESSURE, LENGTH OF PIPE, GAS/LIQUID RATIO, AND VERTICAL OR
HORIZONTAL FLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENT. (FROM TUBING SIZE SELECTION, BY
HALLIBURTON ENERGY INSTITUTE, 1976; COURTESY OF HALLIBURTON 'SERVICES,
DUNCAN, OKLA.).

See Fig. 9.1-1 through Fig. 9.1-22 (pp. 301-322).


301

PRESSUREIn 100 pslg


0 4 8 12 16

H
1-
r5

i
!!i
1

4
B
6

0
. .
8 Q
8

9 %
. ~ ..
.i I

10 ~

itt,
VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENTS
(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 2 in: ID G& specific Gravity 0.65
Producing Rate 600 B/D Average Flowing Temp. 14tP F
Oil API Gravity 35"API
Fig. 9.1-1. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
302

PRESSURE in 100 psig


0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28

5
I I T
B
e 5
I

i
Y
-1 I

VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENTS


(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 2 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Producing Rate 1000 B/D Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Oil API Gravity 35"API
Fig. 9.1-2. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
303
PRESSURE in 100 psig
0 4 12 16 20 24 28

%
/ $%% %% %2
VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENTS
(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 2 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Producing Rate 1200 BID Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Oil API Gravity 35" API

Fig. 9.1-3. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
304

PRESSURE in 100 sig


0 4 12 18 20 24 28

1
1

Y
e-
c5
-- . I
I
43 1

6
..
I

10

VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENTS


(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 2 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Producing Rate 1500 Bf D Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Oil API Gravity 35" API
Fig. 9.1-4. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
305

PRESSURE in 100 psig


0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28

I
-i
r 5
E
Pw
&
6

0
7
*?
6
8

B
9

%
10
%&+.g%%%% % %
VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSUREGRADIENTS
(50% OIL-%% WATER)
Tubing Size 2 in. ID Water Specihc Gravity 1.074
Producing Rate 600 BID Gas Spedfic Gravity 0.65
Oil API Gravity 35"API Average Flowing Temp. 140°F
Fig. 9.1-5. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
306

PRESSURE in 100 psig


0 4

H
i.-
c5
I
k2
6

10
xg$%%%%
%
VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSUREGRADIENTS
(50% 01L-50% WATER)
Tubing Size 2 in. ID Water Specific Gravity 1.074
Producing Rate 800 BID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Oil API Gravity 35"API Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Fig. 9.1-6. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
307

PRESSURE in 100 psig


0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28

~-u-v-v-
VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSUREGRADIENTS
(50% OIL-50% WATER)
Tubing Sire 2 in. ID Water Specific Gravity 1.074
Producing Rate 1000BID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Oil API Gravity 35" API Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Fig. 9.1-7. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all r i a t s reserved.)
a

Y
@-
c5

i!
6

10
-%vwe" " " v v "
VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSUREGRADIENTS
(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 2.5 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Producing Rate 600 BID Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Oil API Gravity 35"API
Fig.9.1-8. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company: all rights reserved.)
Fig.
309

PRESSURE in 100 pslg


0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28

P
ia
E5

4
Y
6

10
%&$+g%% % % % % %
VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSUREGRADIENTS
(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 2.5 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity 0.85
Producing Rate 800 B/D Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Oil API Gravity 35"API
Fig. 9.1-9. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
310

PRESSURE in 100 psig


0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28

-H
-
c5
I
li5
6

8
1

10 I

VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENTS


(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 2.5 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Producing Rate 1000 B/D Average FlowingTemp. 140°F
Oil API Gravity 35"API
Fig. 9.1-10. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company: all rights reserved.)
311

>$%3g%Qo % % %
VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSUREGRADIENTS
(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 2.5 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Producing Rate 1500 BID Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Oil API Gravity 35"API

Fig. 9.1-11.(Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)


312

B
PRESSURE In 100 prig
0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28

VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENTS


(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 2.5 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Producing Rate 1200 BID Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Oil API Gravity 35" API
Fig. 9.1-12. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
313

PRESSURE in 100 psig


0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28
,

. I . .- -t
1

I
1

H
B
r 5
I
Ii
3
6

10
%%%% % %
VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENTS
(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 2.5 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Producing Rate 2OOO B/D Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Oil API Gravity 35" API
Fig. 9.1-13.(Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights resewed.)
314

PRESSURE in 100 pslg


0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28

I
1
.E 5
I
b
z
6

10
?$gg$%%%% 'ib %I

VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSUREGRADIENTS


(50% OIL--509'0 WATER)
Tubing Size 2.5 in. ID Water Specific Gravity 1.074
Producing Rate 600 B/D Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Oil API Gravity 35" API Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Fig. 9.1-14. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
315

PRESSURE In 100 p i g
0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28

. '-t
1 -4- t--

. .-
. - r
2

5
i
c5
I
b
Y

10

VERTICAL FLOWINGPRESSURE GRADIENTS


(50% 011--50% WATER)
Tubing Size 2.5 in. ID Water Specific Gravity 1.074
Producing Rate 800 BID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Oil API Gravity 3.5"API Average Flowing Temp. 1400 F
Fig. 9.1-15. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
a

10

VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSUREGRADIENTS


(ALL OIL)
Tubing Size 3 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity 0.65
Producing Rate 600 B/D Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Oil API Gravity 35"API
Fig. 9.1-16. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
317

PRESSURE In 100 prig


0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

a
Y
s
-r l a
k!I
12

14

16

18

20

Flowline Size 2in. ID Gas k f i c Gravity .065


Producing Rate 600 BID Average Flowing Temp. 120°F
Water SpecificGravity 1.07
Fig. 9.1-17. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
318

PRESSURE in 100 psig


0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

Fig. 9.1-18. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
319

PRESSURE In 100 pslg


0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

H
r

8-
c 10

4
w
4
12

14

16
.~.. --
._. .
. .. > ^

18
* . .

- , - ,
. . ,.. .
20

HORIZONTALFLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENT


[ALL WATER)
Flowline Size 2in. ID Gas Specific Gravity .065
Producing Rate loo0 B/D Average Flowing Temp. 120" F
Water Specific Gravity 1.07

Fig. 9.1-19. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
320

%%%%%%% $ %
HORIZONTALFLOWING PRESSUREGRADIENT
% % %
(ALL WATER)
Flowline Size 2.5 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity .065
Producing Rate 800 BID Average flowing Temp. 120" F
Water Specific Gravity 1.07

Fig. 9.1-20. (Reprinted with permission of Hdliburton Company;all rights reserved.)


" U " U " = . a -0
HORIZONTAL FLOWING PRESSUREGRADIENT
(ALL WATER)
Flowline Size 2.5 in. ID Gas Speciri Gravity .m5
ProducingRate 1500 BID Average Flowing Temp. 140" F
Water Speclflc Gravity 1.07
Fig. 9.1-21. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
322

PRESSURE in 100 paig


0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

I!
'-c 10
E
0
3
12

14

16

18

20
% % % % %
HORIZONTAL FLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENT
(ALL WATER)
FlowlineSize 2.5 in. ID Gas Specific Gravity ,065
Producing Rate 2000 BID Average Flowing Temp. 140°F
Water Specific Gravity 1.07
Fig. 9.1-22. (Reprinted with permission of Halliburton Company; all rights reserved.)
323

APPENDIX 9.11-INTRODUCTION TO CHOKES

The purpose of a choke is to provide precise control of wellhead flow rates in


surface production applications involving oil, gas, and enhanced recovery. A choke
is a restriction in a flowline that causes a pressure drop or reduces the rate of flow
through an orifice. Chokes are capable of causing large pressure drops. For example,
gas can enter a choke at 5000 psi and exit at 2000 psi or less.
The use of the choke as a control device has found many applications in the
petroleum industry. Typically, in a flowing well, the choke is used to maintain a
back pressure in the reservoir while allowing an optimum flow of gas or oil. Such
control is often necessary to ensure cost effective production over the life of the
well.
There are two types of chokes that are commonly available, fixed and adjustable.
Figure 9.11-1 shows a cross-sectional view of a fixed or positive choke. The pressure
drop of the choke is determined by the flow of the medium through the internal
diameter of a fixed orifice, often called a bean. The fixed bean choke is generally
used where the flow conditions do not change over a period of time, because the
changing of the bean requires a shutdown of the flow through the choke.
Adjustable chokes are used where there is an anticipated need to change the flow
rate periodically. There are' several types of adjustable chokes with each design
offering several features. One of the varieties of adjustable chokes is the needle and
seat type as shown in Fig. 9.11-2. The pressure drop of this choke design occurs as
the flow is restricted through the area between the seat and the needle portion of the
stem.
The size or area of the opening is increased as the needle is moved farther away
from the seat. This allows a change in the flow rate without shutting in the well.

I
Fig. 9.11-1. Positive choke. (Courtesy of S.I.I. Willis, Long Beach, Calif., and Mr. Rick Floyd.)
324

Fig. 9.11-2. Needle and seat of a choke. (Courtesy of S.I.I. Willis, Long Beach, Calif.. and Mr. Pav
Grewal.)

Fig. 9.11-3. Multiple orifice valve. (Courtesy of S.I.I. Willis, Long Beach, Calif., and Mr. Matthew L.
Philippe.)
325

CLOSED

PARTIALLY
OPEN

FULLY OPEN

Fig. 9.11-4. Disc plate-multiple orifice choke. (Courtesy of S.I.I. Willis, Long Beach, California.)

Another type of adjustable choke is the Multiple Orifice Valve (MOV), as shown
in Fig. 9.11-3. This design uses two flat discs (Fig. 9.11-4) to control the flow. There
are two holes in each disc such that as one disc turns in relation to the other, the
area of the opening vanes.
Fixed and adjustable chokes are used in a variety of applications with surface
production equipment. When chokes are used for oil production, the major dif-
ference is the absence of a heater.
Chokes are also used to control the rate of flow in enhanced oil recovery
applications where fluids and gases are injected into the reservoir. Injection is used
to maintain reservoir pressure and an economic rate of production. This process can
be applied to flowing and pumping wells to improve the rate of recovery.
Because chokes must operate in a wide variety of corrosive and harsh environ-
ments, components need to be constructed of materials designed to provide maxi-
mum performance, such as stainless steel and tungsten carbide. Typically, chokes
can be customized to meet the requirements of any specific application. Trim
material and sizes, body materials and seal materials can all be selected to provide a
cost effective approach to controlling the rate of production.
326

In addition to tailoring a choke to perform in specific environments, an adjust-


able choke can be fitted with an actuator for remote operation. Actuators can be
powered by electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic systems and are normally used when
the application involves frequent changes in production rates. The use of actuated
chokes is increasing as computers are installed to manage production more effi-
cien tly.

REFERENCES

Baker, O., 1960. Designing pipelines for simultaneous flow of oil and gas. Pipeline Eng., Handbook
Section, Feb.: 67-80.
Beggs, H.D. and Brill, J.P., 1973. A study of two-phase flow in inclined pipes. J. Pet. Tech., 25(5):
607-617.
Brown, K.E. and Beggs, H.D., 1977. The Technology of Artificial Lift Methoh, Vol. 1. PennWell, Tulsa,
Okla., 487 pp.
Dukler, A.E., 1969. Gas-Liquid Flow in Pipelines. Vol. I, “Research Results”. Am. Gas Assoc., Am. Pet.
Inst., May.
Dukler, A.E., Wicks, M. and Cleveland, R.G., 1964. Frictional pressure drop in two-phase flow: a
comparison of existing correlations for pressure loss and holdup, B-an approach through similarity
analysis. Am. Inst. Chem. Eng. J., lO(1): 38-51.
Duns Jr., H. and Ros, N.C.J., 1963. Vertical flow of gas and liquid mixtures in wells. Proc. Sixth World
Per. Congr., June 1963, Sect. 11, Pap. 22-PD6.
Earlougher Jr., R.C., 1977. Advances in Well Test Analysis. Monograph Vol. 5 Henry L. Doherty Series.
Soc. Pet. Eng. A.I.M.E., Dallas, Tex., 264 pp.
Eaton, B.A., Andrews, D.E., Knowles, C.R., Silberberg, I.H. and Brown, K.E., 1967. The prediction of
flow patterns, liquid holdup and pressure losses occumng during continuous two-phase flow in
horizontal pipelines. Trans. SOC.Per. Eng. A.I.M.E., 240: 815-828.
Flanigan, O., 1958. Effect of uphill flow on pressure drop in design of two-phase gathering systems. Oil
Gas J., 56(10): 132-141.
Fuentes, A.J., 1968. A Study of the Mulfiphase Flow Phenomena in the Direcfional Well. Thesis. Univ.
Tulsa, Tulsa, Okla.
Gilbert, W.E., 1954. Flowing and gas-lift well performance. Drill. Prod. Pracr., A.P.I., p. 143.
Hagedorn, A.R. and Brown, K.E., 1965. Experimental study of pressure gradients occumng during
continuous two-phase flow in small-diameter vertical conduits. J. Pet. Tech., 17(4): 475-484.
Halliburton Energy Institute, 1976. Tubing Sire Selection. Halliburton Services, Duncan, Okla., 57 pp.
Juch, A.H., 1967. Natural Flow and Gas Lift. Oil Production Methods Course at the Zulia Univ.,
Maracaibo, March-June.
Lockhart, R.W. and Martinelli, R.C., 1949. Proposed correlation of data for isothermal two-phase,
two-component flow in pipes. Chem. Eng. Progr., 45(1): 39-48.
Ney, C., 1968. A Laboratory Investigation of Holdup and Pressure Loss in Directional Multiphase Flow.
Thesis. Univ. Tulsa, Tulsa, Okla.
Poettmann, F.H. and Carpenter, P.G., 1952. The rnultiphase flow of gas, oil and water through vertical
flow strings with applications to the design of gas lift installations. DrilJ. Prod. Pract., A.P.Z., p. 257.
Standing, M.B., 1970. Inflow performance relationships for damaged wells producing by solution gas
drive. JFT Forum. J. Per. Tech., 22(11): 1399-1400.
Standing, M.B., 1971. Concerning the calculation of inflow performance of wells producing from solution
gas drive reservoirs. J. Per. Tech., 23(9): 1141-1142.
Vogel, J.V., 1968. Inflow performance relationship for solution gas drive wells. J. Pet. Tech., 20(1):
83-93.
Wylie, M.R.T., Gregory, A.R. and Gardner, L.W., 1956. Elastic wave velocities in homogeneous and
porous media. Geophysics, 21(1): 41-70.
327

Chapter 10

WELL TESTING

SANJAY KUMAR AND GEORGE V. CHILINGARIAN

INTRODUCTION

Well testing and analysis is a well established procedure and there are various
tests available for the evaluation of a formation. The interpretation of these tests is a
sophisticated and highly advanced subject. Fundamental understanding of the
procedures for the various types of tests, mathematical interpretations, and knowl-
edge of limitations of tests are of utmost importance.
The various tests on a flowing oil well can be summarized as follows:
(1) Drillstem test
(2) Drawdown test
(3) Buildup test
(4) Isochronal test and modified isochronal test (for gas wells)
(5) Flow-after-flow tests
(6) Special tests
(a) Interference tests for horizontal anisotropy
(b) Pulse tests
(c) Vertical interference tests
(d) Injection and falloff tests.

DRILLSTEM TESTING

Drillstem test (DST) is the most significant test available for the qualitative and
quantitative evaluation of a formation, because it simulates the conditions of a
completed well (see Lynch, 1962). It can be used (1)to determine the static reservoir
pressure; (2) to determine formation parameters like average permeability, and
extent of permeability damage around the wellbore due to drilling; and (3) to obtain
representative samples of the formation fluids. A drillstem test is usually run when
drilling has reached total depth and formation of interest has been evaluated by
samples, logs, and cores.
This test essentially consists of lowering a packer and a length of perforated tail
pipe (coupled to the end of the drillpipe) with valve to the level of the formation
(see Fig. 10-1). Setting the packer against the borehole wall seals off the test interval
from the drilling fluid column above. The valve is then opened, reducing the
pressure in the zone opposite the formation. Thus, the formation fluids can flow
328

Fig. 10-1.A conventional straddle drillstem test tool assembly. (Courtesy of Lynes Inc., Houston, Tex.)
329

into the borehole and up through the drillpipe. In effect, this is a temporary well
completion and the produced fluids represent the well production upon final
completion.
By the addition of specialized devices to the test tool string, the test has been
improved with time and is capable of giving more information. Additional devices
in use include pressure recorders, the shut-in valve, and the choke. Other auxiliary
components are the disk valve, the safety joints, the hydraulic jar and the surface
control head. The arrangement of various tools for drillstem testing are presented in
Fig. 10-1. (See Lynch, 1962, for greater details.)

Component parts of a conventional drillstem tester

Anchor shoe
The anchor shoe supports the weight of the drillstem and the mud column. It is
generally made from heavy drillcollar stock and thus has a greater wall thickness.

Perforated anchor pipe


The perforated anchor pipe supports the weight of the drillstem and mud
column. It aids in setting the packer by holding the bottom part stationary, while
weight is applied to the upper part of the packer. The anchor pipe also serves as a
flow passage and allows drilling fluid communication through the perforations
between the open hole and the inside of the drillpipe. It is made from the same
material as the anchor shoe.
The anchor shoe, attached to the bottom of the perforated anchor pipe, should
rest on the actual hole bottom. It should not rest on loose debris in the hole, because
failure of the anchor shoe (or pipe) will cause the packer to slip, resulting in test
failure.
The anchor pipe can also be used when the test is run far above the hole bottom,
as is the case in a straddle DST. It is also possible in such cases to use a set of dogs
(or slips) below the lower packer. These slips provide enough support to set the
packers. An equalizing line is used to connect the mud columns above and below
the packers and equalize the hydrostatic pressure in these two zones.

Pressure recorders
The bottomhole pressure recorders are sophisticated versions of the bourdon type
or the spring piston type of pressure gauges. The variation of pressure with time
may be digitally recorded at the surface, or on cylindrical charts. The recorders are
usually placed inside a recorder carrier to protect them in the wellbore.
In order to safeguard against failure and for comparison purposes, it is necessary
to use at least two pressure recorders. Generally, the following are used:
(1) Below-straddle recorder. This recorder, placed below the bottom packer, can
indicate whether the packer has effectively sealed the bottom section of the wellbore
from the formation being evaluated. If the bottom packer holds, this recorder will
show hydrostatic pressure of the mud column above it. If the bottom packer does
330

Fig. 10-2. A conventional packer assembly. (Courtesy of Lynes Inc.. Houston, Tex.)
331

not hold, this recorder will indicate almost the same pressure as the recorders placed
in the potential production zone.
(2) Inside and outside recorders in the producing interval. The outside recorders
are exposed directly to the formation pressure. Usually two such recorders are used
in the test interval to safeguard against failure and also for checking and comparing
the results. Pressures reported by the outside recorders are also compared to those
recorded by the inside recorder, which is placed above (Fig. 10-1).
When the formation fluids enter the perforations and flow up inside the test tool
assembly (through the packers, safety joint, hydraulic jars, and past the inside
recorder on their way up to the drillstring), the inside recorder is exposed to the
formation pressure minus the hydrostatic fluid head between the formation and the
inside recorder.
A comparison between the pressures recorded by the inside and outside recorders
can thus reveal plugging or flow obstruction.
Packers
Packers serve as sealing devices. A conventional packer consists of a 20-60 in. (or
more) long rubber element mounted on a steel mandrel. The rubber is vulcanized to
two steel heads that are free to move relative to each other. The packer can be set by
allowing a part of the drillpipe weight to act on the upper head, keeping the bottom
head supported in a fixed position. This causes the rubber to be compressed and
squeezed against the borehole wall. A good testing procedure is to use a rubber size
within about 1 in. (25 mm) of the size of the borehole which has to be sealed.
Many variations of this basic design have been introduced over the years. One
such design is shown in Fig. 10-2. In this design, right-hand rotation of the drillstem
activates a downhole pump, which utilizes the annular fluid to inflate all the packers
in the test assembly simultaneously. Typically, the packer is inflated to approxi-
mately 1700 psi above the hydrostatic head of the drilling fluid. (See Fig. 10-3.)
Equalizing valve
The purpose of the equalizing valve, which is normally open, is to allow drilling

OUTER COVER
STEEL BRAID

INNER BLADDER

Fig. 10-3.Cross-section of an expanded packer. (Courtesy of Lynes Inc., Houston, Tex.)


332

fluid to bypass the packer through the inside of the drillpipe. It is closed only during
the test when the tester valve is opened. By opening the equalizing valve, the
pressure above and below the packer is equalized. This valve also relieves the
pressuring action when the packer is run into the hole and the swabbing action
when it is pulled out.

Tester valve
Tester valve is the main valve essential to the drillstem test. This valve, which is
normally closed, controls the flow of the formation fluids into the anchor pipe and
then into the drillpipe. It is opened by supplying the weight of the drillpipe string,
as in the case of setting the packer. Thus, a mechanical or hydraulic delay system is
required to delay the opening of the valve until the packer has been set. At the
completion of the test, an upward pull on the drillpipe relieves the weight on this
valve, closing it automatically.

Choke
The choke is a small flow restriction placed near the main valve to control fluid
flow rate from the test zone. The pressure changes are thus made more. gradual,
which protects the packer and other elements from the pressure shock caused by
suddenly opening the tester valve. The choke also maintains a back pressure against
the formation face, which has a sand control effect.
An accurate average production rate can be maintained during the test period by
choosing the proper size of choke. Commonly used sizes range from 3/16 to 3/8 in.

Shut-in valve
Shut-in valve is designed to close by the rotation of the pipe so that the shut-in
pressure at the end of the test can be recorded. It is located above the main tester
valve and is sometimes combined with the circulating valve in a single unit.

Circulating valve
The purpose of the circulating valve is to allow drilling fluid circulation in order
to remove the combustible test fluids from the drillpipe before withdrawing it from
the hole. This valve connects the drillpipe and the annulus a short distance above
the tester. Drilling fluid pumped down the annulus can then return through the
drillpipe, carrying the test fluids ahead of it.
A combination of circulating valve and shut-in valve is in common use. This
makes it possible to shut the shut-in valve and simultaneously open the circulating
valve simply by rotating the drillpipe through a specified number of turns.

Other components
Other minor components of the DST tool assembly include:
Safety joint-to enable retrieval of the top section of the tool if it becomes stuck
in the hole.
333

Hydraulic jars-to impart sharp impact blows to the drillstring if the test string
and drillstem become stuck in the hole.
Hydraulic valve-to keep the drillstem dry while the tester is lowered into the
wellbore.
Fluid sampler-to trap a sample of the formation fluid under flowing reservoir
conditions at the end of the last flow period.

Drillstem test procedure

Inasmuch as the drillstem test is a very hazardous operation, it is necessary to


observe the utmost care and caution (see Gatlin, 1960, p. 253). Before beginning the
test, the borehole and drilling fluid must be in good condition. In addition, drilling
fluid should be circulated to remove all cuttings and the circulation should be
continued until the test is started. The drilling fluid density must be carefully
measured in order to check the pressure that is indicated by the pressure recorders.
The choice of tools is dictated by the well size and depth, depth interval of test
zone, test duration, drilling fluid density, number and type of packers and pressure
recorders, and choke size. The assembled length of the tool assembly must be
determined for accurate setting in the hole.
The packer should be set along a hard, consolidated section of the formation,
because shales and unconsolidated sands may collapse (flow under) under the
pressures involved, leading to packer failure. A good packer seal against the
borehole wall is essential to the success of drillstem test.
Blowout preventers should be checked, as well as the standby equipment, which
is installed for use in case of test failure. During the drillstem test, the tools should
be lowered into the hole at a safe speed, usually 75% of the normal value. Level of
drilling fluid in the annulus should be carefully monitored while lowering the tool
string. Lost circulation, as seen by the sharp drop in the drilling fluid level, could
arise from the fracturing of a weak formation from the pressure-surges created
during the running-in process. Leakage in the drillpipe, which causes the air to issue
from the end of the drillpipe, would also register itself in a similar manner.
A slow drop in drilling fluid level indicates a leaking packer or fluid loss to
adjacent zones. In the latter case, fluid loss will continue even after closing the
shut-in valve.
When the bottom is reached, the control head is connected, the packer is set, and
the main test valve is opened. A high-pressure hose is connected to the control head,
the other end immersed in a bucket of water. As soon as the test valve is opened, the
blow of air from the drillpipe can be detected. The absence of a blow indicates a
malfunctioning tester, a non-productive formation, or a plugged tool.
As mentioned before, an appreciable pressure shock created on opening the main
test valve is reduced to some extent by the choke. An additional back pressure
against the formation is provided by a “water cushion”. This involves filling of the
drillpipe with water to a desired level, so that on opening the main test valve a back
pressure proportional to the hydrostatic pressure of this water column is exerted. It
334

may, however, have undesirable effects. In low-pressure wells, a water cushion may
inhibit production from the formation. If the recovery from the well is small, the
produced fluids may mingle with the water. High-pressure nitrogen gas, however,
can be used to avoid both of these complications.
Upon opening the main test valve and allowing the well to flow, an appreciable
length of time will pass before the fluids reach the surface. The blow of air from the
drillpipe, however, will indicate that the fluids from the formation are entering the
drillpipe.
The shut-in valve is closed when the desired test period is over. The pressure in
the wellbore opposite the formation, which falls due to the production, will then
buildup. If the shut-in time is sufficiently long, the pressure will approach the static
reservoir pressure. In general, the shut-in period should be kept at least as long as

TIME

AK-1 CHART

. TIME

Fig. 10-4. Typical drillstem test chart. (Courtesy of Lynes Inc., Houston, Tex.) Kuster K-3 chart records
left to right, whereas Kuster AK-1 records right to left.
335

the production period. The pressure buildup with respect to time, as recorded by the
bottomhole pressure recorders, can be used for valuable quantitative evaluation of
the formation, e.g., permeability, extent of damage, reservoir pressure, presence of
faults, and reservoir limits. This aspect is discussed in the section on buildup and
drawdown tests.
A five-position valve, run directly above the tester valve, is the device employed
for the double shut-in pressure test. Initially, the main test valve is opened and the
five-position valve is set in the open position. It is closed again by a few clockwise
turns of the drillpipe, after an initial flow period of 5-10 min, to record the initial
shut-in pressure. This initial shut-in period varies from 20 min to 1 hr. Additional
rotation of the drillpipe reopens the valve for the usual flow period. At the end of
the test, this valve is again closed upon a few more turns of the drillpipe.
The circulation valve is then opened, after starting the mud pumps and establish-
ing mud circulation.

INFLATE @

INFLATE

Fig. 10-5. (a) DST chart showing packer seat failure-lost seat after tool opening. (b) DST chart showing
packer seat failure-communication from annulus to interval. Indicates a hydrostatic leak during the
ISI; this type of surging during the ISI cannot be caused by the formation pressure. (Courtesy of Lynes
Inc., Houston, Tex., and Bill Clark.) ISI = initial shut-in.
336

Fig. 10-6. Pressure chart indicating slight plugging during the final flow period. Shut-in pressures suggest
very low permeability. PF = 193 kPa; IS1 = 5460 kPa; IF = 586 kPa; FF = 579 kPa; FSI = 5536 kPa.

The test fluids are diverted into a portable tank through a suitable metering
device. If the production is small, it may be measured in the drillpipe itself. The
recovery is equal to the difference between the drillpipe volume and the volume of
the mud that was added to the annulus to bring the test fluids to the surface.
Because of the danger of a blowout and fire, the tools are pulled out at the end of
the test very carefully. Any sign of an upward flow of drilling fluid indicates
possibility of a blowout and necessitates emergency operations. As the drillpipe is
drawn up onto the surface, the oil-bearing sections are capped to avoid spills.
The drillstem test enables determination of the recovery and the composition of
the formation fluids. Considerable amount of qualitative information is also easily
available from the drillstem test pressure charts, as shown below.

Qualitative drillstem test interpretation

A typical pressure chart from a drillstem test is shown in Fig. 10-4. The diagonal
line up to A is the record of the hydrostatic drilling fluid pressure during the

@?I
Jm.
RESTIIC'ION
SURFACE

yp

Fig. 10-7. DST chart indicating surface restrictions. Buildup in pressures during VO is due to the fact
that orifice size was too small;as orifice size was increased, bottomhole pressure decreased, whereas flow
pressures at surface increased. The 6.35-mm choke was changed first to 12.7 mm and then to 19.05 mm.
PF = 4915 kPa; IS1 = 11,858 kPa; IF = 4460 kPa; FF = 6856 kPa; FSI = 11,872 kPa. (Courtesy of
Lynes Inc., Houston, Tex.) PF = preflow, IF = initial flow, FF = final flow, FSI = final shut-in.
331

Typical Damage Curve

I7

'
HIGH DIFFERENTIAL
SHARP BETWEEN SHUT-IN
RISE /ANDFLOW \

Fig. 10-8. A typical DST chart in the case of wellbore damage. (Courtesy of Lynes-Inc.. Houston, Tex.)

lowering of the tools. The rough, jagged, or fuzzy appearance is attributed to the
surges associated with running-in the tools. Excessive vibrations, however, indicate
bad hole conditions. (See Lynes, 1980, for greater details.)
At point A , the tools are at the bottom of the hole. Pressure at this point is the
initial hydrostatic pressure ( I H P ) . Opening the main test valve leads to a sharp
pressure drop below the packer to point B. As the fluids are produced, the pressure
increases along line BC, the shape of which depends upon the properties of the
formation and fluids. The point C represents the end of the flow period, whereas
line CD shows the pressure buildup on shut-in. If the shut-in period is sufficiently
long, the pressure at point D will approach the static reservoir pressure.
Upon completion of the first shut-in, the tool is opened for the second and,
possibly, final flow period. As tool is opened, the pressure drops to point E and
'
then increases towards point F, similar to the initial flow period (line B C ) .
The final shut-in is recorded as line FG (Fig. 10-4). As the packer is pulled loose
on reaching point G , the recorder indicates an increase from the final shut-in
pressure to the hydrostatic drilling fluid pressure at point H . This final pressure,
FHP, must be equal to I H P .
Figures 10-5 through 10-12 show pressure charts that have been obtained under
various test conditions. From these and other charts it is possible to determine the

The pressure may increase, decrease, or remain constant depending upon the type and volume of
fluid(s) entering the wellbore.
338

1, Trace does not return to baseline. Possible Remedial Action


Possible Cause a) Prepressure before each use.
a) Over-relaxation of Bourdon tube. b) Utilize filter assembly.
b) Temp, expansion of fill fluid. c) Replace bellows (check length).
c) Gas leaking into bellows.

2. Trace returns below baseline.


Possible Remedial Action
Possible Cause
a) Replace Bourdon tube (check
a) Bourdon tube leaks resulting in bellows length).
shortened bellows.
b) Replace "0'-rings on all housing
b) Recorder housing leaked allowing
connections.
pressure into gauge.

3. Stairstepping on chart. Possible Remedial Action


Possible Cause a) Check and clean lead screw and
a) Friction due to dirt or improper bearing.
adjustment. b) Check chart holder bearing.
c) Check stylus tension.

4. Trace does not start or stop on base- Possible Remedial Action


line. a) Make sure all connections are
Possible Cause snug before drawing baseline.
a) Gauge was tightened after basi-
line was drawn.

5. Wavy baseline. Possible Remedial Action


Possible Cause a) Clean lead screw.
a) Dirty lead screw. b) Adjust stylus tension.
b) Improper stylus tension. c) Warm gauge to above freezing
c) Gauge too cold when baseline-
drawn.

6. Clock ran away. Possible Remedial Action


Possible Cause Clocks should be repaired by
Many possible causes. trained personnel.

7.Clock stopped.
Possible Causes
Many possible causes.

L Possible Remedial Action


Clocks should be repaired by
trained personnel.

Fig. 10-9.DST charts indicating pressure gauge malfunctions. (Courtesy of Lynes Inc., Houston, Tex.)
339

Fig. 10-10. A DST run with water cushion inside the drillpipe. Point A indicates where the " trip-in'' was
halted to add the cushion. Point B is the point where tool was opened for the first flow period; the flow
pressure dropped to a point equal to the weight of cushion (hydrostatic head of water cushion) which had
been added. The actual amount of water (fresh) cushion was 1700 m. Assuming a gradient of 10.42
kPa/m for fresh water, the hydrostatic head should be equal to 10.42X 1700 = 17,714 kPa. Inasmuch as
the downhole gauge recorded a pressure of 17,744 kPa. the tools operated correctly. (Courtesy of Lynes
Inc., Houston, Tex.)

High Rate Gas Test

Fig. 10-11. Pressure chart from a high-rate gas well. Depth = 1155 m: pressures: I S f P = 7927 kPa.
F S f P = 7875 kPa, fFP = 422 kPa, and FFP = 319 kPa: times: 10. 60. 60 and 120 min: recovery: 169
m3/D gas, steady throughout final flow: 9 m-drilling fluid. (Courtesy of Lynes Inc., Houston, Tex.)
340

Fig. 10-12. Pressure chart from a well with slugging fluid. On testing a gas zone on or near the gas-water
contact, there is a periodic pressure buildup as the gas chases water to the surface and then a pressure
drop as the fluid is unloaded. Depth = 1166-1191 m; pressures (kPa): PF = 7314.1, IS1 = 9713.6,
IF = 7342, FF = 8521.0, FSI = 9713.6; times: P F = 3. ISI = 75, FF = 90, and FSI = 90; blow: S I P on
PF-GTS in 1 min, VO-weak to strong blow surging with heavy water spray; recovery: 3 m of sulfurous
condensate; estimated 252,000 m3/D; high permeability. (Courtesy of Lynes Inc., Houston, Tex.)

recovery and whether or not the test was valid. In the case of test failure, the reason
for failure can be determined.
The quantitative aspects of DST interpretation are identical to the drawdown
and buildup test calculations presented in the next section.

BUILDUP AND DRAWDOWN TEST FUNDAMENTALS

In order to develop a mathematical model of what is actually happening in the


reservoir when a well is tested, many simplifying assumptions have to be made. A
simple model is illustrated in Fig. 10-13. A vertical well of radius r, intercepts a
homogeneous horizontal formation having constant thickness h , infinite extent,
constant and uniform porosity 9, permeability k, fluid saturations So, S,, and Sg,
and total compressibility ct. The gross formation fluid viscosity is p. It is further
assumed that the formation properties are not time dependent.

Fig. 10-13. A simple model of the reservoir.


341

Taking a mass balance across the infinitesimal volume element (see Fig. 10-13):
Mass-in - Mass-out = Accumulation
or

At[(pq)r- ( P q ) r + A r l =2Trh@At(pt+At-p,) (10-1)

where q = volumetric flow rate of the fluid, p = density of the fluid, and At =
infinitesimal time period. Dividing both sides of eq. 10-1 by ( A t A r ) and taking the
limit as A t + 0 and A r + 0, yields:

a ( p q ) = 2 ~ r h +aP-
- ( 10-2)
ar at

Equation 10-2 is the continuity equation for radial flow. The Darcy's law for radial
flow can be presented as follows:

(10-3)

Substituting eq. 10-3 in eq. 10-2, one obtains the following relation:

(10-4)

The compressibility of a fluid, c f , is defined as the change in fluid volume per unit
of total volume, per unit change in pressure:

(10-5)

where V is the volume and T is the temperature. This equation may also be written
as follows:

(10-6)

Assuming incompressible rock, cf represents the total compressibility and is as-


sumed to be constant. Thus:

(10-7)

Inasmuch as:

(10-8)
342

then:

(10-9)

Combining eqs. 10-4 and 10-9:

i a wIa p (10-10)

or:

(10-11)

Equation 10-11 is the diffusivity equation in terms of density. Inasmuch as accord-


ing to eq. 10-8:

aP aP
=P C f Z

then:

-
ar2
a
aZp = - ( ”)
ar p c f Z
= c --
a P aP
f a r ar
+ pc,-a 2P = C f ( pc, )(
ar2
S)+ a2p
PCIS (10-12)

In addition:

( 10-13)

Substituting eqs. 10-8, 10-12, and 10-13 into eq. 10-11:

or :

(10-14)

In order to obtain a linear equation, an additional assumption is required: either cf


is very small or the pressure gradient a p / & is small enough (even around the
wellbore) for cf ( a p / 3 r ) 2 to be negligible. Then eq. 10-14 becomes:

(10-15)
343

This is the familiar diffusivity equation in terms of pressure. The term k / + p c f is


known as the hydraulic diffusivity, q.
For pressure-dependent porosity (significant rock compressibility, c,) an ap-
proximate result is similarly obtained with the fluid compressibility cf replaced by
the total compressibility, c, (c, = c, + cf).
In multiphase flow, cf = coSo+ cwSw+ cgSg.
Generally, the rock compressibility is not negligible and it is, therefore, ap-
propriate to write the diffusivity equation as follows:

(10-16)

Solution to the diffusivity equation for infinite reservoirs


If the reservoir is initially at an equilibrium uniform pressure, p i , the well starts
flowing at a constant rate q at time t = 0, and the wellbore radius is negligible, the
“line source solution” first derived by Kelvin (1904) can be used.
The initial (Z.C.) and boundary (B.C.) conditions to be used are:
(1) I.C.: p ( r , 0) = p i ( r > 0). Thus, the pressure at all values of r at t = 0 is p i .
(2) B.C.: It p ( r , t ) = p i , t > O
r-+ w
(3) B.C.: For constant flow rate at the wellbore:

It
r4O [r (?)I- =-- ” =constant
277kh
The “line source solution” for the diffusivity equation using these conditions is:

(10-17)

where p is the pressure, psia; q is the flow rate, bbl/D; p is the viscosity, cP; B is
the formation volume factor, bbl/STB; k is the permeability, md; h is the
formation thickness, ft; c, is the total compressibility, psi-’; r is the radius, ft; t is
the time, hr; and $I is the porosity, fraction.
These sets of units are commonly referred to as oilfield units or practical units.
T o facilitate understanding and avoid confusion of different units, dimensionless
variables have been introduced:
rD = r/rw (10-18)
in particular:

rDe = re/rw

0.0002637kt
tD = (in practical units) (10-19)
344

and :

p, - p = 141.2-p,
4BP (in practical units) (10-20)
kh
In terms of these dimensionless variables, the solution (eq. 10-17) becomes:

p, = - i E i ( 2) (10-21)

where Ei is the exponential integral defined as:

Ei(-x) = -1 -du
x
e-u
u
(10-22)

which is shown in Fig. 10-14.


The Ei solution is valid for t,/r; 3 25, or when r , 3 20 and tD/rh 2 0.5. For
low values of I , , and t,/r;, the Ei solution does not hold because of the
assumptions made in the derivation.
Van Everdingen and Hurst (1949) presented the wellbore solution and Mueller
and Witherspoon (1965) gave the solution for intermediate values of r. These
solutions are shown in Fig. 10-14 for comparison.
For t D / r ; > 100, - Ei( - r6/4tD) [h(t,/rh) -t 0.809071 and eq. 10-21
becomes:

PD = 3 [In( tD/rA) + 0.809071 (10-23)

The error in using eq. 10-23 is only about 1%for tD/rh > 55 and about 2% for
t,/r; > 5. Thus, for practical purposes, the log approximation is satisfactory.
As a matter of convenience, the natural logarithm in eq. 10-23 can be converted
to the base-10 logarithm, malung eq. 10-23 more compact:

(10-24)

On converting p, to actual pressure drop using eq. 10-20:

162.6qBp
Pi-P(r, t) = (10-25)
kh

Pseudosteady state fjow


Inasmuch as no real reservoir is truly infinite in extent, after the initial infinite-
acting period, reservoirs will eventually either exhibit steady state or pseudosteady
state behavior.
10-2
10-2 10-1 I00 101 102 I 03
t / r D2
D
Fig. 10-14. Dimensionless pressure for a single well in an infinite system with no wellbore storage and no
skin. (After Mueller and Witherspoon, 1965, pp. 471-474; courtesy of the Society of Petroleum Engineers
of AIME.)
346

we1 I bore
Distance from wellbore +
Fig. 10-15. Pressure distribution in pseudosteady state flow.

In steady state flow, pressure at every point in the system does not vary with
time. For radial steady state flow:
0.00708kh ( p , - p , )
4=
BPln(r,/rw)
which is simply the Darcy's law.
In pseudosteady state flow, the pressure change with time, d p /d t, is constant
throughout the reservoir. Figure 10-15 illustrates the above and also clarifies the
nomenclature for the pressures p , p , and pi.
The dimensionless pressure during pseudosteady state flow was given by Ramey
and Cobb (1971):

(10-26)

where A =drainage area, ft2; tDA = t D r:/A; and c, = shape factor, which is a
characteristic of the system shape and the well location. Values for C,, which were
given by Brons and Miller (1961), Dietz (1965), and others, are presented in Table
10-1.
Radius of drainage and stabilization time
Stabilization time is defined as the time corresponding to the beginning of the
pseudosteady state flow in the reservoir. It can be determined easily, using Table
10-1. For example, for a well in the center of a square, according to Table 10-1, the
pseudosteady state flow begins at t D , = 0.1:
341

Solving for stabilization time, t,:

(10-27)

For a well at the center of most symmetrically shaped areas, (tDA)pss= 0.1 (Table
10-1) and eq. 10-27 can be used.
The radius of drainage, also known as radius of investigation, depends largely on
the criterion used to determine it. Some engineers define it as the radius at which q
is 1% of the flow rate at the well, whereas others define it as the radius, r , at which
( p i - p , ) is 1, 2 or 5% of ( p i - pWr).
In most definitions, the drainage radius defines
a circular boundary with a pseudosteady state pressure distribution from the well to
this boundary. The drainage radius, rd, is equal to:

r d = 0.029
/ -
tc:
(10-28)

as given by Van Poollen (1964), Gibson and Campbell (1970) and Kazemi (1970).
As the well is allowed to flow, the drainage radius, r,,, increases. Eventually,
reservoir boundaries or drainage regions of adjacent wells will be encountered and
rd will no longer increase further. Thus, eq. 10-28 applies only until the initiation of
pseudosteady state as given by eq. 10-27 (or the ( t D A ) p svalues
s in Table 10-1).
Drawdown test
In drawdown test, the well is allowed ideally to flow at a constant rate and the
bottomhole pressure is recorded at regular time intervals or continuously. The
greatest difficulty is in maintaining the constant flow rate. Fortunately, multiple
rate testing techniques are available today to analyze a variable flow rate test.
A well, which has been shut-in for a long time, is suddenly flowed at a given rate
q. In the constant flow rate analysis, it is assumed that the flow rate versus time is a
step function, i.e., the flow rate instantaneously jumps from zero for the shut-in
condition to q when the well is opened to flow. As the flow continues, the
bottomhole pressure starts declining. These pressure decline characteristics convey
valuable information about the reservoir and the condition of the well (storage,
damage, etc.).
The bottomhole flowing pressure, pwr,can be recorded either at the flowing well
itself or at an observation well located at some distance r . The latter case is known
as an interference test. When pressure is recorded at the flowing well, r = r, and
thus rD = 1. The recorded pressure p ( r D = 1, t ) is equal to p W r ( t ) ,the wellbore
flowing pressure. The following equation describes the relationship for such a
situation, when t , 2 5:

4
p D( rD = 1, t ) = [In( t D ) + 0.809071 (10-23)

where rD = 1 at the wellbore.


348

TABLE 10-1
Shape factors for various closed single-well drainage areas (after Earlougher, 1977, table C.1, pp.
203-204).

31 62 3 4530 -I 3224 01 0 06 0.10

31 6 3 4532 -1.3220 0.I 0 06 0 I0

27 6 3 3178 -I 2544 02 0 07 0.09

27 I 3 2995 - I 2452 0.2 0.07 0 09

21 9

(Q o.oe
3 0865 -I 1387 0.4 0 12

v3

0 098 -2 3227 *I 5659 0.9 0 60 0.015

El 30 8828 3 4302 - I 3106 0.1 0 05 0.09

I2 9851 2 5638 -08714 0.7 0 25 0 05

EB '2 I 5070 -03430 0.6 0 30 0.025

H 3 3351 I2045 -0 igr7 0.7 0 25 0.01

21 8 x 9 3 0836 - I I373 0.3 OJ5 0 025

I0 6374 2 3830 - 0 7870 0.4 0 I5 0 025

4 5141 I5072 -0 3491 1.5 0 50 0 06

2 0769 0 7309 +00391 1.7 0 50 002

3 1573 I 1497 -0 1703 0.4 0 I5 0 005


B l
349

TABLE 10-1(continued)

CP I n CA

E€€Ell
2
0.5813 -05425 *O 67% 2 .o 0.60 0.02

0.1 I09 -2. I991 +1.5041 3.0 0.60 0.005

5.3790 I6825 - 0 4367 0.8 0.30 0.0I

2.68% 0.9894 -00902 0.8 0.30 0.01

Ep 0.2310 -1.4619 t I. I355 4.0 2.00 0.03

Ep 0.1I55 -2.1585 *I4838 (.O 2.00 0.01

2.3606 0.8589 -0.0249 I.o 0.40 0.025

USE [ x , / x f ) * IN PUCE OF A/r: FOR FRACTURE0 SYSTEMS

0.9761 -0.0835 0.175 0.08 CANNOT US€

0.7104 t0.0493 0.175 0.09 CANNOT USE

0 6924 *00583 0.175 0.09 CANNOT USE

1.6620 0.5080 t 0.1505 0.I75 0.09 CANNOT USE

,a I

1
1.3127 0.2721 +02685 0.175 0.09 CANNOT USE

-0.2374 t0.5232 0.175 0.09 CANNOT USE

2.95 -1.01 - - -
322 -1.20 - - -
350

There is an additional pressure drop due to the wellbore damage. This can be
accounted for by using a skin factor, S , in the right hand side of the above equation
(Hurst, 1953; Van Everdingen, 1953) as follows:

4 +
p D = [In( t D ) 0.809071 + S = [In( t D )+ 0.80907 + 2S] (10-29)

Combining eqs. 10-19, 10-20 and 10-29 and rearranging, the familiar form of the
drawdown equation may be obtained as shown below (Matthews and Russel, 1967):

kh
PWf =Pi - 162'6qBp [log t + log( &) - 3.2275 + 0.86859s
1 (10-30)

Inasmuch as k , cp, p , c , , r: and S are constant for a given case, a plot of pwr
versus log t will theoretically yield a straight line, with a slope, m , which is equal to:

m = - 162.6qpB/kh (10-31)
This straight-line relationship is as follows:

Pwf = log + Plhr


where:

k
- 3.2275 + 0.86859s
1
Thus, the formation permeability can be determined by plotting pwr versus log t
(10-32)

and using eq. 10-31:

k = - 162.6qBp/mh (10-33)

The skin factor, S , can be determined by using eq. 10-32:

S = 1.151 + 3.2275 (10-34)

where plhrcan be determined from the extrapolation of the semi-log straight line to
a flow time of 1 hour (note that log 1 = 0).

Multiple-rate drawdown testing

As pointed out earlier, it is usually impossible or impractical to maintain a


constant flow rate long enough for a complete drawdown test. Multiple-rate test
analysis techniques are required for such cases, which may range from totally
uncontrolled variable rates to a series of step changes in rates.
351

Provided eq. 10-23 applies, the following analysis can be used (Earlougher, 1977):

(10-35)

a straight line with slope:

m ’ = 162.6Bp (10-36)
kh

and intercept:

k
- 3.2275 + 0.86859s (10-37)

is obtained. The qN signifies the last rate at any time r.


The permeability can be obtained from the following equation:

162.6Bp
k= (10-38)
m’h

and the skin factor is determined by using the following equation:

(10-39)

Example 10-1
(1) Compute the transmissivity ( k o h / p o ) from the following pressure data:

0.1 1569
0.3 1560
1.0 1550
3.0 1542
5.0 1539
10.0 1533
50.0 1521
100.0 1516
352

Giuen: Flow rate, qo = 100 bbl/D, B, = 1.2 RB/STB, r, =9 i in. = 0.41 ft, p o = 2
cP, c, = 200 x psi--', and C+ = 0.20.

Solution:
Slope, m , can be determined from the pwrversus t plot (Fig. 10-16):
m = - 17 psi/cycle

Using eq. 10-33:


k = - 162.6qBp/mh

Thus transmissivity is equal to:

kh/p = - 162.6qB/m = - (162.6)(100)(1.2)/( - 17) = 1148 md-ft/cP

(2) If h = 40 ft, as determined from the logs, compute (a) the reservoir permea-
bility. Also, (b) check the validity of the semi-log approximation.
(a) k = (kh/p)oil(po/h) = (1148)(2)/40 = 57.4 md.
(b) Semi-log approximation is valid for t , 2 100.

Thus, almost all the available data are in the range of validity of the semi-log
approximation method used.

t
1520
1510-
9

Fig. 10-16.Semi-log plot for Example 10-1.


353

Pressure buildup test

In a buildup test, the well is shut-in after a producing period and the downhole
pressure is recorded as a function of time. Downhole pressure is also recorded
immediately before shut-in ( A t = 0).
It is important to stabilize the well at a constant flow rate, q, before shut-in. The
simple analysis technique presented here also assumes that the well has produced
long enough to establish pseudosteady state flow conditions before shut-in, i.e.,
producing time, t,, is greater than the time for pseudosteady state, tpS:.
If the flow rate during the production period was not constant, as is usually the
case, the general practice is to use an “equivalent producing time”, t p e , determined
by dividing N, (the total number of STB produced) by q (the last flow rate before
shut-in):

(10-40)

where N, = STB produced; q = flow rate just before shut-in, STB/day; and t,, =
equivalent producing time, hr.
A shut-in well can be viewed as flowing at a rate q - q ( A t = 0). What this means
is that a well originally producing at a rate q for a time t and then shut-in at At = 0
(and kept in this condition for a length of time A t ) is equivalent to a well flowing at
a rate q, superimposed by a flow rate of - q for time A t .
If p,, is the shut-in bottomhole pressure, then using the principle of superposi-
tion:

or: p i -pWs = (162.6qBp/kh) log([ + A t ) + (162.6 ( - q ) B p / k h ) l o g ( A t ) .

Thus:

(10-41)

Equation 10-41 indicates that if the recorded shut-in pressure is plotted versus
+
log(([ A t ) / A t ) , a straight line having a slope -m would result, where m is equal
to:

m = 162.6qBp/kh ( 10-42)

This plot proposed by Horner (1951), is known as the Horner plot. The
straight-line portion of the Horner plot can be extrapolated to a shut-in time, A t ,
354

ii
S h u t -in

I \-at- I
tp T1rne.t
Fig. 10-17. Idealized rate and pressure history for a pressure buildup test. (After Earlougher, 1977, p. 45,
fig. 5.1; courtesy of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME).

equal to 1 hr. The pressure at this shut-in time, as indicated by the extrapolated line,
is called plhr.It can be used to determine the skin factor as follows:

S = 1.151 + 3.2275 (10-43)

The straight-line portion of the Homer plot may also be extrapolated to ( t p +


A t ) / A t = 1 to obtain the initial reservoir pressure p i for an infinite system.
Inasmuch as no real system is truly infinite, the extrapolated pressure is known as
p * and is used as a calculation parameter to estimate the average reservoir pressure.

1100
I-L
1000
I000

1 800
n
n
0
600

500 -
I I I
0 I 2 3 4
Time, months
Fig. 10-18. Production schedule ( q o versus time) used in Example 10-2.
355

TABLE 10-11
Buildup test data used in Example 10-2.

At PWS (tp +At)/Ar


(hr) (Psi4
0 2200 -
3 2350 1401
3.5 2370 1201
3.82 2375 1100.5
4.20 2400 1001
5.25 2410 801
10.52 2440 400.2
21.10 2470 200.1
42.40 2500 100.1
85.71 2530 50.0
221.0 2570 20.0
466.0 2600 10.0
600 2610 8.0
840 2620 6.0
1400 2630 4.0
2100 2635 3.0

The most widely used techniques are those presented by Miller et al. (1950),
Matthews et al. (1954) and Dietz (1965).

Example 10-2
An exploratory well was placed on production according to the schedule pre-
sented in Fig. 10-18. Then a long buildup test was conducted and the data shown in
Table 10-11were recorded. If 9 = 0.18, r,,,= 0.25 ft, h = 125 ft, p o = 10 cP, B, = 1.25
RB/STB, and ct = 20 X psi-', determine:
(1) Reservoir effective permeability to oil.
(2) Skin factor and the pressure drop due to skin effect.

Solution :
Using eq. 10-40:
+ + +
t , = Np/qlmt= (24 x 30)(1000 1100 800 600)/600 = 4200 hr.
The p,, is plotted versus log[(t, + A t ) / A t ] in Fig. 10-19 (Horner plot). Slope m
can be determined from this plot:
m = 162.6q,pB0/k,h = 100 psi/cycle
(1) k , = (162.6)(600)(10)(1.25)/(100)(125) = 98 md
(2) Using eq. 10-43, the skin factor, S , can be calculated as follows:
S = 1.151[(p l h r- p W r ) / m- log(k/+pctr2) + 3.231
= 1.151[(2340 - 2200)/100 - 10g(98/0.18 X 10 X 20 X X (0.25)2)+ 3.231
= -3.46
This answer indicates that the well has a higher permeability near the wellbore.
356

2200
104 103 10 2 101 I00

(%)
Fig. 10-19. The Homer plot, pws versus log[( 1, + A r ) / A 11. for Example 10-2.

The pressure drop due to skin, Ap,, can be calculated using the following
equation:

Apski,= (141.2qpB/kh)S = 0.87 m S = (0.87)(100)( -3.46) = -301 psi

Buildup following a long producing time

Wells that have been producing for a long time may also be subject to a buildup
test. In such wells, the buildup time At will be very short, even negligible, as
compared to the producing time t , . Miller et al. (1950) suggested an approximate
technique that saves considerable amount of time. For t, >> At, log[(t, + At)/At] =
log( t,/At). Thus eq. 10-41 becomes:
p,, = p i - 162.6(qBp/kh) log(t,) + 162.6(qBp/kh) log(At)
or: pWs= constant + 162.6(qBp/kh) log(At).
+
Thus, instead of plotting p,, versus log[(t, At)/At] as in the Horner plot, a
much simpler plot of p,, versus A t can be used. It must be remembered, however,
that this technique is only valid for shut-in times much shorter than the producing
time.

Equivalent producing time


The following equation gives the simplest approximation for equivalent produc-
ing time, as suggested by Horner (1951):

t,, = 24Np/9 (10-44)

This simplification, which corrects for small variations in the flow rate, is not
applicable if sudden rate changes occur a very short time before shut-in. In other
words, it is applicable only in the case of stabilized rate changes.
357

Odeh and Selig (1963) proposed a more general technique. They suggested that t:
and q* should be used in the Horner's plot as follows:

1
N

i= 1
t; =2 t, - (10-45)

and:

(10-46)

This method is very often used to analyze drillstem tests with no production at
the surface. The flow rate at the rockface, which may be estimated from the pressure
variations, does not stabilize in this case. The Horner plot can still be used to
analyze buildup data, provided t: and q* are used instead of t and -4, as suggested
by Odeh and Selig.

Drawdown and buildup tests in gas wells

Buildup and drawdown tests in gas wells may be analyzed using the same
relationships as for liquid oil. One simply needs to convert the gas rates in STB/D
and use the gas formation volume factor, Bg, instead of B, in the foregoing
equations. Wattenbarger and Ramey (1968) have shown that this method is reason-
ably correct at high pressures (above 3000 psi).
Gas viscosity and density vary significantly with pressure and, therefore, the
assumptions used in deriving the diffusivity equation (eq. 10-16) are not satisfied.
The most rigorous approach applicable to all pressure ranges is that of the real gas
pseudo-pressure, m( p ) , defined by Al-Hussainy et al. (1966) as follows:

( 10-47)

The pressure dependent p and Z are combined together with pressure and
integrated over the interval pb to p , where pb is any arbitrary base pressure and p
is the pressure of interest. Inasmuch as in pressure transient analysis one is only
concerned with the difference in pressures, the following relationship can be used:

.t(Pwr)= 2JPW'(P / P Z ) d P
Pb

m ( Pi) = P/~z)~P
Pb
358

and:

This relationship shows that the base pressure pb is automatically cancelled out
and does not enter into the calculation procedure.
The pseudo-pressure, m ( p ) , is used instead of the pressure, p , for gases as
follows:

where q is the flow rate in Mscf/day, T is the temperature in OR, and D I q I is the
additional rate dependent skin effect due to non-Darcy flow around the wellbore.
Examination of eq. 10-48 indicates that a plot of [ m ( p i ) - m ( p W f ) versus
] log f
would be a straight line having a slope b, from which kh can be computed:

b = 1.151 x 50,300( p s c / q c ) (q T / k h ) (10-49)

The total skin effect, [ S + D I q I ] , can be evaluated from the following equation:

S + D l q l =1.151([m(p,,,) - m ( p , , ) ] / b - l ~ g [ k / + ( p ~ ~ ) ~ r ~+3.2275)
Z] (10-50)

At low pressures, p Z is essentially constant for gases, whereas at high pressures it


is directly proportional to pressure. Thus, m ( p ) is proportional to p at high
pressures and is proportional to p 2 at low pressures. Equation 10-48, therefore, can
be simplified:

at high pressures ( p > 3000 psia) and:

at low pressures ( p .c 2000 psia). Equation 10-48 is recommended in the inter-


mediate pressure range: 2000 < p < 3000.
At high pressures, eq. 10-51 is similar to eq. 10-30 for liquid drawdown.
At low pressures, a plot of ( p ; - p $ ) versus log t should yield the familiar radial
flow straight line, having a slope b':

b' = 1.151 X 50,300( Zipgi)(p s c / q c ) (q T / k h ) (10-53)

The skin factor can be determined by using (p:,, -p,$)/b' instead of [m(plhr)-
m( p w f ) ] / bin eq. 10-50.
359

The non-Darcy skin coefficient D may be measured in a variable rate test by


plotting observed skin effect, S’, against the rate, q. Inasmuch as S’ is equal to
+
S D I q I, the slope of the straight line through the data point is equal to D.When
such an analysis is not possible, D can be approximated as follows:

(10-54)

where Gg is gas gravity with respect to air (air = 1).


Similarly, in the case of buildup tests for gas wells when the following relation-
ship is true:

m( pws)= m( p * ) - 1637(qT/kh) log[ ( 1 , +At)/At] (10-55)

an analysis analogous to that for oil wells can be used. At low pressures, when
m ( p ) is proportional to p 2 , one can plot p 2 versus log[(t, + A t ) / A t ] . On the other
hand, at high pressures, one can plot p versus log[(t, + A t ) / A t ] , because m( p ) is
proportional to p . The remaining analysis procedure remains as before.

Gas well testing

In addition to regular drawdown and buildup tests, the natural gas industry has
developed other tests based on the principles of drawdown and buildup. These tests,
which are essentially an elaborate combination of drawdown and/or buildup, are
intended to simplify the analysis, reduce the testing time, and gather more informa-
tion.
The two basic types of multipoint tests are (Fetkovich, 1973):
(1) “Flow-after-flow” test, which consists of producing the well at successively
increasing (normal sequence type) or successively decreasing (reverse sequence type)
flow rates, with no shut-in between the flows.
(2) Isochronal test and the modified isochronal test, which involve a shut-in
period between the flow periods.
These tests are based on the pseudosteady state form of eq. 10-52:

Substituting 14.7 psia for psc and 520”R for T,, the above equation becomes:

+ S + Dlql]
p~-p~r=1422(pgZ)i(Tq/kh)[ln(0.606re/rw) (10-56)

Instead of using the turbulence factor D,turbulence is accounted for by putting


an exponential, n , on the pressure drop term:

q = 7.03 X kh( p,‘ - p $ ) ” / [ ( pgZ)iT(ln(0.606re/rw) + S ) ] (10-57)


360

Taking the logarithms of both sides of eq. 10-57:

log q = log c + n log( p,‘ -p:J (10-58)

where:

C = 7.03 X k h / [ ( pgZ),T(ln(O.606r,/r,,,) +S)] (10-59)

Thus, if log q is plotted versus log( p,‘ - p;,), a straight line is obtained having slope
n and intercept log C .

Flow -after -flow tests


The “flow-after-flow” test consists of a series of increasing flow rates (normal
sequence) or decreasing flow rates (reverse sequence) on an originally shut-in well.

PWf,

___c
TIME

Fig. 10-20. Normal sequence for flow-after-flow test. (After Fetkovich, 1975; courtesy of the Society of
Petroleum Engineers of AIME.)
361

Shut-in periods are not allowed between the flows. Shut-in, however, may occur if it
is necessary to change the orifice plate for a new desired flow rate. Stable flow rates
are indicative of a good test. For practical purposes, constant bottomhole pressure
and rate of flow for a period of at least 15 min define stable conditions.
The procedure for the flow-after-flow test has been described by the U.S. Bureau
of Mines as follows:
(1) Obtain the static reservoir pressure p , from the pressure gauge.
(2) Flow the well for a period of 3 to 4 hours, which is sufficient to achieve
constant flow rate and flowing pressure. The rate is fixed by a choke of appropriate
size. Record pressure versus time.
(3) Repeat the above for different flow rates (at least 4).
(4) Plot flow rate q versus ( p,' - p;, ) on log-log paper. A straight line should be
obtained.

Pi

Fig. 10-21. Reverse sequence for flow-after-flow test. (After Fetkovich. 1975: courtesy of the Society of
Petroleum Engineers of AIME.)
362

(5) The absolute open flow potential is then obtained by reading q at pwr
=0 (i.e., at p,') (see Figs. 10-20 and 10-21).

Isochronal test
The isochronal test offers the only method of obtaining reliable performance
curves (Fetkovich, 1975). The name of the test stems from the fact that the flow
periods are of equal duration. If all the flow periods were not of the same duration,
only the d