The first partition step in production facilities is often separation of the free gas and liquid phases. Multiphase flow reports to the process facilities from the individual wells, manifolds, or gathering locations. These fluid phases are separated into discrete process streams to allow purification and energy addition. In the case of gas treating the gas-phase is scrubbed of free liquids, sweetened by CO2 and H2S removal, and compressed for transport. The oil-phase is dehydrated, treated to remove salt, and then pumped for transport.
The initial gas-liquid separation may become a limiting factor in overall fluids treatability if the bulk gas flow overwhelms the pipeline or separator systems. Bulk gas removal, either at remote locations or prior to two-phase separator, allows more efficient treatability of the 2/3 phase mixture in the existing facilities structure. Debottlenecking of gas-constrained production facilities is mostly done in retrofit applications where space and weight are limited for installation of new equipment.
Compact gas-liquid separation equipment provides debottlenecking of gas overload and allows the existing facilities unit equipment to operate efficiently. Bulk gas is removed either at the local wells or at the receiving location of the facilities. Local well bulk gas-liquid separation allows separate transport and pressure boosting of the discrete phases, while facilities debottlenecking bypasses bulk gas flow around the three-phase separator.
Cyclonic technology in the form of Gas Liquid Cyclones or Axial Flow Cyclones provide compact and efficient gas-liquid separation for pipeline or separator gas debottlenecking. Cyclonic technology has the benefits of;
- Highest throughput-to-size ration of any separation equipment (i.e. smallest size and weight)
- Insensitive to external motion
- Can reduce chemical consumption where centrifugal field breaks foam
- Reduced instrumentation compared to gravity vessels
- Lower environmental impact: less raw material, reduced product inventory, reduced painting, less surface area for heat loss, etc.