Recently the problem of associated petroleum gas utilization in Russian gas and oil production fields has attracted a lot of attention. According to the Russian Government the new strict utilization requirements as well as high flaring penalties will be applied to the oil producing companies starting from 2014. At the same time, increasing water cut during the well production life is another problem facing the oil and gas operation. Thus, optimal multiphase oil/water/gas flow separation will become vital for Russia for successful oil development and exploitation in the near future.

Inline separation technology can be the new solution to solve the mentioned challenges. Inline separation is the compact separation in swirl pipe segments. In comparison to the conventional vessel-type separation, the inline technology is simple, low-cost, low-weight, has no moving parts, needs low maintenance, easy to install and operate. These features fit the exigent conditions expected in hostile production environments, and suitable to both new fields and retrofit applications.

This paper describes the inline separation technology, including an overview of qualification work and field experiences. The fundamental mechanisms behind these techniques are explained, and recent advances in these methods are emphasized. The paper especially addresses a test program developed for Marlim production site for reservoir support and gives an excellent example how inline technology can be used to make step-change improvements to the gas, oil, and water management.

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