Design of Three Phase Separator for 12.5bpd Crude Oil Atmospheric Distillation Unit

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Purification of substances by different separation processes is a common phenomenon in the process industry. In crude oil refining, the separation of different liquid fraction is the main activity achieved by distillation process based on boiling point differences of the components. Also, the separation of poorly miscible liquids like oil and water is frequently encountered, thus requiring secondary separation equipment generally referred to as separators. Effective sizing and design of these separators determine to a large extent the efficiency of the process and purity of products and also significantly affect other downstream operational processes. Thus, this research study determined basic design parameters of a three-phase separator such as determination of maximum allowable gas and liquid velocities of the fluids to be separated and three phase separator dimensions that include diameter, length, holdup or surge parameters, heavy and light liquid parameters for the separation of off – gas, naphtha and water from the crude oil distillation column of an atmospheric distillation unit. Computational results of the design analysis were compared with industrial three phase separator parameters with minimal percentage absolute error or deviation value, which fall within tolerable limits or range of the three phase separator design.

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