Experimental study of oil-water separation techniques
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As hydrocarbon reservoirs mature they will increase their production of water, also operators are moving to deeper waters and marginal fields. As a result, the costs of processing and handling increases. Compact subsea separation offers a solution to the challenges associated with this. If produced water is removed at the sea-floor and re-injected into the reservoir, production rates and recovery can be increased, also flow assurance is improved and top-side production capacity maintained. One method for compact separation is the use pipe-module separators. The planning of an experimental rig for testing the efficiency of a pipe-module separator has been conducted. An emerging separation method is the use acoustic fields. Standing wave patterns are used to manipulate the migration of dispersed droplets. The use of ultrasonic transducers with a frequency 100 kHz and 1 MHz for separation has been researched, also an ultrasonic bath with a frequency of 35 kHz has been tested. Oil-water mixtures has been irradiated for different time intervals and frequencies. The results showed no increase in separation performance compared to what could be expected from gravity based separation. For the ultrasonic bath the separation performance worsened due to cavitation. Compared to other studies the power output of the ultrasonic transducers used in the experiments was much smaller. The experiments showed that the available ultrasonic equipment cannot be used for separation, for further investigations new equipment must be obtained.