The proper handling and processing of crude oil systems plays an important role in the economics of crude oil production. The separator is the first processing equipment for crude oil systems. Separator design procedures are cumbersome, time consuming, involve a lot of guesswork, and are prone to a lot of human calculation errors. Furthermore, subjectivity arises with each design procedure on the parameters necessary and crucial for separator design. Hence, there's a need to develop a user-friendly computer program to automate separator design. Separator design is based on empirical procedures that have been established based on sound engineering judgment.
In this work a user-friendly computer program was developed to estimate separator dimensions (diameter and height). Two design procedures, Svrcek and Monnery 1994 and the modified Arnold and Stewart 2008 were selected based on the parameters used in their design procedures. The equations involved in the two procedures are presented, and are used to develop four user-friendly programs to estimate 3-phase vertical and horizontal separator dimensions. The VISUAL BASIC programming language in Microsoft Excel was used to develop the computer programs.
The program was validated using case studies from reviewed texts. Both procedures show similar results for all the case studies. The Arnold and Stewart design procedures involve less guesswork and is more suitable for conventional oilfield separator design. The results also show a decrease in separator height and length as separator diameter increased. This trend was observed in both design procedures.