There are many types of separators used successfully in the field, but most often, depending on the environment in which they are housed, they can be divided into the following categories:

  • Horizontal
  • Vertical
  • Spherical

Trimet range of supply – Horizontal & Vertical only.

Horizontal Separator

Horizontal separators are versatile vessels that can be used in applications where either gravity or gas pressure is insufficient for effective separating. These vessels are similar in shape and design to vertical contactors, with a collection system, surge drum, and tray packs as described above.

Horizontal separators may be available in diameters between about 3 ft (1 m) and 15 ft (5 m), with heights ranging from 16 ft to 120 ft (5 m to 37 m). For gas/liquid ratios up to about 150 scfm/bbl (0.02m3/mton), horizontal separators work well when equipped with internal tray packs.

In some cases, horizontal separators have been used to handle gas/liquid flow rates as high as 1 MMSCFD/8 MMscf (150 m3/mton). Horizontal separators are available in a wide range of pressure ratings and can be equipped with other features such as trays, weirs, etc., as necessary.

Vertical Separators

Vertical separators can handle a large range of gas and liquid flow rates. Vertical contactors are the most popular type of separators for production service on offshore platforms, but they can also be used in some onshore applications where gravity is not sufficient to separate liquids from the gas stream.

Contactors have a two-phase differential pressure across their bodies, thus allowing more even distribution of liquids on the top and bottom surfaces. Contactors use a collection system that collects free liquids in a surge drum whenever a surge occurs. The level in this drum must be maintained below the level of the trays at all times to prevent re-entrainment of free liquids into a vapor air stream.

Due to the greater vertical distance between the liquid level and the gas outlet, there is less of a propensity for the liquid to revaporize into the gas phase. This type of separator is more difficult and expensive to fabricate and ship in skid-mounted configurations, and it requires a larger diameter separator for a given gas capacity than a horizontal vessel.

However, there are some drawbacks associated with vertical separators that must be considered. The vessel has a large volume and therefore takes up more space than spherical separators; it also requires more piping for connection purposes


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