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To achieve good separation of gas-liquid mixture exiting crude oil production and maximize hydrocarbon liquid recovery, it is necessary to use several separation stages at decreasing pressures and then adapt the pressure setpoints to improve separation and recovery at minimum cost. A simple procedure, which does not require mass balance calculations, is proposed here to optimize separators’ pressures in the crude oil production unit. The proposed methodology determines the optimum pressures of separators in different stages of separation and consequently optimizes the operating conditions. In this study, the optimum pressures of separators in a 51,740-bbl/day oil production unit were determined. As a result, oil recovery was increased 146 bbl/day in summer or 184 bbl/day in winter, and the quality of total produced oil was improved by 0.5° API.
The principal means of surface separation of oil-gas mixtures is stage separation—a process at the wellhead . . .
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