Oil Gas Separator on a Floating Platform at Sea

Floating offshore platforms are used around the
world for the production, storage, and offloading of crude oil
and derivative products. Separation, one component of the
production phase, poses a unique challenge on a floating
platform because of the inevitable wave motion to be expected
at sea, which is present even in calm weather conditions. By
simulating the flow inside a gas-oil separator on a production
platform, engineers at Natco Group Inc. have been able to
understand and improve its performance under different sea

A floating platform can experience six degrees of
wave motion. These are known as surge, sway, and heave
(axial motions), and pitch, roll, and yaw (twisting motions).
When combined, these motions act to mix the gas, oil and
water in the separator, which is counter-productive to
separation. Since separation occurs as the gas, oil, and water
flow through the unit, reduced separation efficiency (resulting
from mixing) means that the separator has to be larger in order
to allow enough time for optimum separation to occur.