Emulsion Breakers

Emulsion breakers to destabilize emulsions.

Crude oil often contains stable emulsions, which are fine dispersions of oil in water (O/W) or water in oil (W/O). In general, the emulsion is stabilized by surfactants with a drop size in the micron range. Stabilizing components are asphaltenes, resins, porphyrins, wax crystals and fatty acids.

Non-treated crude oil still contains water and salts when stored in tank farms. The crude oil emulsion consists of small globules of water surrounded by the oil. An adequate residence time is essential for the separation into two phases. The bigger droplets will finally settle down to be removed by drainage. Many crude oils also contain a high concentration of solids (BS & W = Basic Sediment & Water). These crude oils are difficult to process. The consequences are desalter upsets or fouling in the downstream heat exchangers.

Separation by gravity is a very slow process. It can be accelerated by using a suitable emulsion breaker program. These additives are surfactants, which migrate to the oil/water interface.  They break the emulsions that water droplets aggregate to form water drops large enough to gravitationally separate them from the oil.

By adding Kurita´s emulsion breakers to the crude oil at the tank farm you will already achieve a better dewatering and desalting. This clearly reduces the risk of corrosion and deposits in the downstream refining processes. Our emulsion breaker programs support the emulsion breaking process in the desalter and inhibit an undesired oil carry-over into the desalter effluent water. The desalted crude oil contains less water and fewer salts.

The result is a higher profitability and reduced costs for the oil recovery and a lower risk of corrosion and fouling.

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