Crude oil demulsifiers
Crude oil demulsifiers are chemical agents used to break down emulsions of water and oil in crude oil. Emulsions can form during production, transportation, and storage of crude oil, and can cause problems such as increased viscosity, reduced flow rates, and equipment damage.
There are several types of demulsifiers, including surfactants, polymers, and coagulants. Surfactants are the most common type and work by lowering the surface tension between water and oil, causing the emulsion to break.
Polymers work by destabilizing the emulsion through bridging and flocculation, while coagulants work by neutralizing the charges on the water droplets, causing them to agglomerate and separate from the oil.
The selection of a demulsifier depends on several factors, such as the type and severity of the emulsion, the characteristics of the crude oil, and the processing conditions. It is important to choose the right demulsifier and dosage to ensure efficient separation of water and oil, and to minimize environmental impact.
Emulsions in crude oil can be categorized into two main types: oil-in-water (O/W) and water-in-oil (W/O). The type of emulsion formed depends on the composition and properties of the crude oil and the conditions under which it is produced, transported, and stored. Demulsifiers are typically added to the crude oil either at the wellhead, during transportation, or at the processing facility.
The dosage and application method of the demulsifier depend on the specific conditions and the demulsifier type.
In addition to breaking down emulsions, demulsifiers can also help to reduce corrosion and fouling in equipment and pipelines, and improve the quality of the crude oil by removing impurities such as water and solids. It is important to note that demulsifiers are chemical agents that can have environmental impacts if not used and disposed of properly.
As such, it is important to follow the recommended guidelines for handling and disposal of demulsifiers to minimize their impact on the environment. During the production of heavy oil, producers use certain chemical methods to reduce the viscosity and heavy oil is easy to form firm W/O which increase the stability of emulsion to increase production rate. Hence, the crude oil is produced in the form of complicated emulsion.
Comparing with water drive oil, it has much more stable emulsion. As a result, it has serious difficulty in demulsification.