Rotork plc

Electrical control valve actuators on oil and gas production separators

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Courtesy of Rotork plc

Overview
Wherever there are oil and gas production facilities there is one specific piece of equipment that is almost always present, the separator. Depending on the nature of the reservoir, oil, gas and water are present in varying proportions. The first stage of any hydrocarbon production process once the product has started to flow from the well is to separate the gas from the liquids and the hydrocarbon liquids from the produced water.

This is also true of unconventional oil and gas production, such as coal seam gas, shale oil or shale gas production. For shale facilities the hydrocarbon product needs to be separated initially from the flow back water and later from the produced water. Flow back water is the return of the hydraulic fracturing fluids used in 'fracking'. Produced water is the water that is naturally present in the geological formations. This is often quite salty.

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