A frequent issue that crops up in oil & gas companies around the world is that of tools and equipment being corroded beyond repair. While causing a halt in oil production, it also leads to a significant financial loss that might set you back by thousands of dollars.
Corrosion of pipes and drums that store and transfer crude oil is caused by a wide variety of factors, with impurities in crude oil being a major contributor. That is why the first step in the refining process involves desalting i.e. separating salt, metals, and sand from the crude oil before it is sent for further processing and purification. This is necessary not only to protect equipment, but also to transform sludgy oil into something that can actually be used!
Interestingly, toxic impurities in the oil might also cause damage even to Teflon tape that’s virtually non-reactive and indestructible! In fact, Teflon tapes used by oil and gas companies in Texas to seal joints across oil supply lines have exhibited signs of wear and tear along with the pipelines becoming rusty and unsafe for use. That is why desalting oil before it is sent forward is crucial to the success of your business as well as the safety of your employees.
Why Use A Desalter?
To obtain petroleum-based products, crude oil that is extracted from the earth is required to be passed through a number of refining processes. Not only is the extracted liquid a complex mixture of insoluble substances and salts, but it might also have high levels of calcium, sodium, and magnesium that can result in corrosion of refining equipment and pipelines if proper care is not taken to eliminate these impurities. The extremely high temperatures through which crude oil is passed during the downstream process might also lead to the formation of hydrochloric acid (extremely corrosive in nature) if such solids aren’t dealt with in the initial phases of oil refining.
When desalting machines undergo regular maintenance, elimination of 90% of the salts in the crude oil can be achieved in less than 30 minutes. Power consumption is also negligible, with as little as 0.01 KW/hr being utilized per barrel. Modern desalting electric desalting machines that are now easily available also perform better than other centrifugal separation techniques and are also cost-effective at the same time.
For the desalting process to work best, ensure that the temperature is between 120-260ºC, and the pressure is maintained at 5-6 kg/cm2. In addition to this, keep in mind that the effectiveness of the desalting process is affected by other factors such as water wash conditions, crude oil properties, condition of the desalting equipment, and pH levels.
Desalters play a key role in crude oil purification and also prevent corrosion of crucial machines and supply lines that are worth millions of dollars. If you’re seeking desalting options for your refining unit, then get in touch with us today.