Different treating methods thus exist in the petroleum industry for demulsification of crude oil. They include thermal methods, mechanical methods, electrical methods and chemical treatment.8 In general, these methods are interrelated. Applying heat to the emulsion reduces the viscosity of the oil and increases the water settling rates. It also results in the destabilisation of the rigid films caused by interfacial viscosity. Application of heat for emulsion breaking should be based on an overall economic analysis of the treatment facility. Furthermore, some of the mechanical equipment available in the breaking of oilfield emulsions include free-water knockout drums, phase separators etc. High voltage electricity is also often used for breaking emulsion.6 It is generally theorized that water droplets move more rapidly when induced with an electric field, and hence collide with each other, and coalesce. The distance between the electrodes in some designs- is adjustable so that the voltage can be varied to meet the requirement of the emulsion being treated.1 By far; the most common method of emulsion treatment is adding chemicals.
Download Chapter One
Read full post »