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Sand Cleaning – Oil-on-Sand Calculations (B-FSM-138)

What is thickness of oil layer on “cleaned” sand?

  • OSPAR regulation of 1 weight percent oil on dry sand (10,000 mg/kg)
  • Basis: ρs=2650 kg/m³, ρo=904 kg/m³ (API 25)

Step 1: Convert 99 wt.% sand to volume fraction (c):

Step 2: Calculate aggregate density:

Step 3: Calculations for 100 µm sand particle:

  • Oil Thickness Layer = 52 µm on 100 µm sand particle, or 0.26 µm on 50 µm sand, or 0.05 µm on 10 µm sand
  • Volume of oil in layer = 5 µm droplet


  1. Rawlins, C.H. and Wang, I. 2001. “Design and Installation of a Sand-Separation and -Handling System for a Gulf of Mexico Oil Production Facility”. SPE Production and Facilities, August, pp. 134-140. https://doi.org/10.2118/72999-PA
  2. Rawlins, C.H. 2019. “Enhanced Production Through Surface Facilities Sand Management.” SPE Distinguished Lecturer presentation. Link here

Next week I will cover oil-on-sand analysis.

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