Case study 102: Refinery and salt water disposal site


Courtesy of Eco1st Technology Group

Operational Profile

Type of Operation: Refinery,SurfaceSalt Water Disposal
Location: NewMexico
Equipment: TankBattery, Heater Treater, Chemicals
b/d: 3000 bbl
Gravity of oil: Fluctuatesdue to supply
BS&W beforestudy: 2.5% +
Unit size: 3” Separation Enhancer

Key Findings:

  • Retention time halved –4 weeks cut to 2 weeks
  • BS&W cut from 2.5% plus to 0.4%
  • Production doubled
  • Reduced chemical usage


The operator of this 'surface water disposal' site was experiencing a difficult time getting BS&W out of his oil in order to sell at a premium and in a timely manner. Due to varying oil gravity and BS&W trucked supply, a large amount of chemicals and long periods were often required to hit 2.5%.


Once they are able to skim the oil, it travels through the pipeline into a 500 bbl tank battery where it is refined for BS&W. In this final tank battery the oil is heated up to 150 degrees and hit with chemicals. It can take many weeks for gravity, chemicals and heat to reach acceptable BS&W levels. Sometimes this is not achieved and oil is sold at a lower price. Long retention times limit plant capacity and reduce profitability. This slows down the process of bringing in new oil and affects optimal operation flow.


Installation of a 3” Separation Enhancer


  • Retention time cut in half –4 weeks cut to 2 weeks / Premium oil sale price
  • Production increased to twice previous levels / Reduced use of chemicals

The Separation Enhancer enabled the plant to reach BS&W levels never seen before, resulting in a price premium while reducing production time. As a result, they were able to increase production to twice what it was before.

Conclusion -increased overall production and profitability through normal business practice without increasing operational costs.

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