De-Emulsification and Emulsification of Petroleum-Water

Emulsions in the Petroleum Industry

In Petroleum, emulsions are often necessary in upstream transfer of crude oil and in downstream separation of oil and water in the crude oil process. An example of emulsification of heavy oil from Nalco Chemical is presented in this webinar. A metastable emulsion is necessary to improve mobility for a period of time yet must be easy to de-emulsify and separate oil/water.

This webinar discusses how chemically induced emulsions improve flow but create stable emulsions which are difficult to break and separate.  Polymeric surfectants such as poly(vinyl alcohol) improve emulsion properties and also be separated.

Inline particle characterization provides feedback to balance the amount of stabilizing agents needed to affect interfacial tension with the process temperature and shear required to create a mestastable emulsion.  The droplet size and droplet size distribution are important emulsion properties related to fingerprint the stability and viscosity of an emulsion.