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Free Water Knock-Outs, Desalters and Dehydrators are just some of the applications in the oil industry where it is necessary to separate water and oil. The density differences between water and oil causes water to drop to the bottom of a separation tank, and oil to rise to the top.
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It is all too easy to forget that the primary function of the desalting system is the removal of inorganic chlorides and other water-soluble compounds from crude oil. One need not be a corrosion specialist to realize the acids that form from these compounds can do tremendous, long-term damage in downstream processes of the refinery (as the inspection of crude tower overhead condensers can prove).
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Common techniques for foam detection include: DP gauges, capacitance probes, guided wave radar, electromagnetic radiation, neutron-backscatter, sonic echo devices, flow meters, and sight glasses. Most of these do not offer early foam detection.
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Produced oil contains water in highly variable amounts. Heater-treaters heat the produced fluid to break oil/water emulsions and to reduce the oil viscosity. The water is then typically removed by utilizing gravity to allow the free water to separate from the oil.
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As oil becomes heavier and more viscous, it is more and more difficult to get the oil to flow into the well bore where it can be pumped to the surface. This heavy Canadian oil is often referred to as bitumen and has an API gravity ranging from 8—14.
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A common problem in the Sour Water (SW) Stripper Unit is caused when hydrocarbon is discharged with the sour water from the Knock-out Drum into the Surge Tank which feeds the SW Stripper Column (see simplified process flow diagram). The hydrocarbons will vaporize with the sour gas being sent to the Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU).
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Refineries currently utilizing Agar systems increase throughput up to 20% and significantly reduce theamount of process upsets - resulting in up to an 80% reduction in hydrocarbon under carry to the waste water treatment plant as witnessed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Agar systems provide an unmatched ability to optimize difficult separation processes by utilizing concentration measurement and control.
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The Agar System 2 provides automatic monitoring and indication of accumulated hydrocarbon in API skimmer systems. When used in conjunction with mechanical or pneumatic actuators, the system provides complete automatic control of the oil recovery process.
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Determining the production rate from oil wells is simpler and less costly because of AGAR’s advanced technologies. For many years complex 3-phase separators were the industry standard because measurement technologies required the separation of the hydrocarbon, water, and gas phases.