Oil/Gas Treatment Plant

What it is

In an oil field the oil is generally mixed with associated gas, production water and contaminants such as hydrogen sulfide. In the oil treatment plant the associated gases, production water, and hydrogen sulfide are separated from the oil. The stabilized oil is then stored and ready to be shipped via pipeline or oil tanker.

The associated gas separated from the oil, or the raw natural gas produced by a gas field, is gathered and collected in a gas plant where it is dehydrated and processed to recover the heavy fractions and to remove sulphur compounds. The treated gas can then be transported via pipeline, forwarded to an LNG or GTL facility, or used locally or abroad as feedstock for petrochemical processes.

How it works

In an oil treatment plant the crude oil is first sent to a gas-oil separation system where its pressure is reduced in stages. In each decompression stage the associated gas is released in a separator until the pressure is finally reduced to slightly above atmospheric pressure. The sour crude oil is then sent to the stabilizer column where it is heated and cascaded through a series of bubble trays spaced throughout a column. The hydrogen sulfide and remaining light hydrocarbons boil off in this process and are collected at the top of the column, while the sweetened heavy crude is drawn off from the bottom. The stabilized oil is then cooled and stored. The stream collected from the top of the stabilizer unit are treated in accordance with environmental regulations.

In the gas plant the raw natural gas is dehydrated and processed through acid gas removal, molecular sieves, and chilling units, to remove hydrogen sulfide, NGLs (Natural Gas Liquids) and LPG. These liquids are typically ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, and pentane and have higher value than the bulk natural gas, as they can be sold as specialized feedstocks for petrochemical processes.

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