Foaming in Separators: Handling and Operation
Recorded on June 19, 2013 (90 minutes)

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1.0 What is foam, how is it generated
1.1 Definition of foam A definition of foam is given with visual illustration of foam formation.
1.2 How is foam generated
The way foam is generated is explained and examples are given of where
foam is generated within a typical crude oil processing system (shearing
and mixing effects of control valves, pipework and separator inlet
1.3 Determining the foaminess of a crude type
A method of determining the foaminess of a crude oil is described and
illustrated. The types and stability of foams is described and categorized.
1.4 Detecting foam in separators
Why conventional level instruments cannot detect foam.
The use of nucleonic devices (profile gauges and site surveys) to detect

2.0 Effects of foam in a separator
2.1 Gas phase
This will describe how a foam layer in a separator can take up a significant
amount of the gas phase resulting in high levels of liquid carry-over in the
gas phase leading (in extreme case) to a demister device siphoning liquid
into the gas stream exiting the separator.
2.2 Liquid phase
Effects of gas entrainment into the liquid phase upsetting the liquid-liquid
separation process.
2.3 Level control instruments
Foam can affect the operation of some level instruments. The reason why
this happens is explained and how this can be overcome.

3.0 Designing for foamy crudes in a new horizontal separator
3.1 Chemical Treatments
Foam breaking chemicals will be described together with how they work
and where they should be applied.
3.2 Inlet Pipework
The design of inlet pipework to minimise foam generation.
3.3 Separator Size (determining size of gas phase to accommodate foam)
How to determine the thickness of a foam layer in a separator.
3.4 Inlet Device
What types of inlet device cause foam generation and which types can
reduce foam.
3.5 Foam breaker packs
Designing foam breaker packs to assist in the breaking of foam.
3.6 Demisters
Designing demisters for foam service. Selecting best types of demisters
for handling foam.
3.7 Level instruments
Selecting level instruments for foam service.

4.0 Examples of overcoming foam problem

5.0 Conclusion

Dr. Wally John Georgie, Principal Consultant, Maxoil Solutions, Inc.; Flow Assurance Process, Separation and Produced Water and Sand Management Specialist

Dr. Georgie has 35 years of experience in the Oil and Gas industry, mainly in oil and gas processing and separation offshore and onshore, namely; operation trouble-shooting, de-bottlenecking, oil water separation and slugging problems, process verification, and all other fluid and gas handling issues, including fluid, production chemistry, flow assurance and integrity management. He worked mainly with the service sector in the USA, UK and ME, between 1979 till 1987 and then followed a career with Statoil in Norway from 1987 till 1999, mainly in daily operation and project operation support and plants troubleshooting of oil and gas facilities.

Wally has worked as a consultant/advisor with most of the major operators in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and Australia/Asia, since March 1999 in the area of separation trouble shooting, operation assurance, produced water and sand management, gas handling problems, flow assurance, system integrities and production chemistry.

Wally is trained, oil and gas Process Chemist, Technologist, Corrosion Engineer, Safety Engineer, and Process Engineer.