In contrast to natural gas production, in crude oil production, the first step is merely to process it for transportation. While natural gas is usually processed to specification on site and then fed directly into the transfer line to the end customer systems, the second step of the oil treatment takes place in a refinery because of the complexity and quantity of the end products.
The main tasks of the systems at the source are:
- The separation of oil from the associated gas and produced water. This separation is done in 3-phase separators or centrifuges.
- The secondary separation of the oil-water emulsion, combined in many cases with the desalting of the crude oil.
- Treatment of the bound gases, which can be either compressed or processed and the energy used to produce electricity and generate heat. Here, the accumulated gas volumes determine the method of treatment and attention is paid to achieving the lowest possible emissions.
- Preparation and insertion of salt water into the reservoir, in which the processes used are often very complex and not yet established as state of the art. The operators rely on innovative technologies in order to meet the more stringent demands of the water quality requirements.
Often for the first production cycle, mobile test systems are used to analyse the quality and to define the necessary processing steps.
The compact and modular design of these types of systems are flexible with regard to preparation and processing techniques and can then be transported to another location.