Nelson Brothers is developing a range of water soluble surfactants that can be used to replace the standard EO/PO ethoxylated co-polymers as demulsifiers in refinery desalter operations.
The desalter is a vital part of the smooth running of a crude unit. Salts, solids, and other contaminants, including oilfield chemicals found in crude oil can create operating problems as the crude is processed into valuable end products including gasoline, diesel, and chemical feedstocks. These problems include corrosion, fouling and off spec product resulting in increased maintenance costs, lower efficiencies, and lost production.
The desalter is designed to remove these contaminants by adding up to 10% water to ”desalt” the crude. The water is emulsified with the crude and removed as brine from the desalter. Essentially, the desalter is a wide point in the pipeline that allows the water to agglomerate into larger droplets and settle to the bottom of the desalter and removed to the wastewater treatment plant for processing.
To improve the removal of the water used in the desalting process to reduce carry over to the crude unit a range of process chemicals are used to help improve water removal efficiency. These demulsifiers are injected into the crude oil demulsifiers prior to the desalter to improve water agglomeration and salt removal.