Emulsion breaker chemistries are important to the efficiency of crude dehydration and the enhancement of primary produced water treatment. Often a number of specifically developed chemistries are used within a single operation: normal emulsion breakers (primary and secondary/slop oil) and reverse emulsion breakers (coagulants and flocculants). These chemistries must be compatible with each other and used at optimum concentrations.
Determining optimum concentrations require three stages: research and developmental chemistry, ‘Bench Top’ bottle-testing of crude and field testing. Of the three stages field testing is the most critical as based on the number of fluid streams, components and varying process conditions often laboratory testing and process modeling alone cannot effectively simulate what happens in reality.
This paper identifies a particular, successful case study where ‘Bench Top’ bottle-testing of produced water samples from a particular crude dehydration plant followed by optimization in the field enabled the plant to meet its required produced water effluent discharge level for total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). The ‘Bench Top’ bottle-testing helped to recommend the right type and concentration of reverse emulsion breakers for the particular crude dehydration plant. These products were then applied in the field at the recommended concentrations and optimized until the required produced water effluent discharge level for total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) was achieved. The approach, test methods and results are documented.