Summary

In the first part of this work, the development of a capital cost optimization model for sizing three-phase separators was described. The developed model uses generalized reduced gradient nonlinear algorithms to determine the minimum cost associated with the construction of horizontal separators subject to four sets of constraints. In the second part, an experimental test rig was designed and used to investigate the effect of gas flow rate, liquid flow rate, and slenderness ratio (L/D) on the separation performance of horizontal three-phase separators. The results indicated an inverse relationship between an increase in gas and liquid flow rate and the separator outlet quality. It also indicated a direct relationship between an increase in slenderness ratio and separator outlet quality. The results also showed that the gradient change of the percentage of water in the oil outlet with respect to slenderness ratio decreased to ratios of 6:1. Hence, the separation rate increased. At ratios greater than 6:1, the separation still increases, but the gradient change in separation drops off, implying that the benefit in terms of separation is diminishing beyond this point. Therefore, the optimal slenderness ratio for technical reasons is 6:1.

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