The article presents the comparison of the results obtained during the assessment of the field water-oil emulsion retention time in the apparatus settling zones at the first (three-phase separators) and second (horizontal tank/vertical steel tank) dehydration stages of two oil treatment plant (OTP-1, OTP-2) of one of the fields in Eastern Siberia. Retention time was determined on the basis of oil companies standards with due regard for the oil physico-chemical properties; results of the water-oil emulsion breakage simulation within the framework of laboratory research; calculation performed using the design parameters; and parameters of current operation mode of existing facilities. The advantages and disadvantages of each of the retention time assessment methods are discussed. The water-oil emulsion breakage under laboratory conditions was simulated using the ‘bottle test’ method. The calculation of disperse phase drop average diameter at the apparatus inlet/outlet and required retention time at the first and second dehydration stages of OTP was performed with different methods such as the water-oil emulsion physico-chemical properties, flow hydrodynamic parameters, and existing empirical and semiempirical dependences. Based on the comparison of the retention times obtained by experimental method and calculation with the current operation process services of abovementioned installations, it was concluded that it is possible to use each of methods when designing oil treatment facilities. As a result it was concluded that, at present, the simulation of emulsion separation under laboratory conditions is the most reliable method for forecasting process conditions necessary for oil treatment, and the method based on calculations is a prospecting one and may be applied provided that the disperse phase drop enlargement processes will be added to the calculation.
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