Crude oil is rarely produced without some water being present. The water cut in produced fluids from the formation can vary from 0-99%. Most crude purchasers limit the amount of water and impurities that may be included with the oil, typically between 0.2% and 2.0%. The producer must separate the well fluids in order to sell the oil and dispose of the basic sediments and water (BS&W). Emulsified oil and water mixtures require treating to achieve an acceptable level of BS&W content. Heat, chemicals and electricity can be used to break the emulsions in an efficient and expedient manner. Due to lower treating temperatures, electrostatic treaters are often an economical means of dehydrating crude oil, but many times the advantages of electrostatics are overlooked. This paper discusses the basic process and economics involved with treating oilfield emulsions with electrostatics.

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