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Design and capital cost optimisation of three-phase gravity separators

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Tariq Ahmed
  • Paul Russell
  • Nura Makwashi
  • Faik Hamad
  • Samantha Gooneratne
Article numberE04065
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>23/06/2020
Issue number6
Number of pages13
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The separation of produced fluids is essential once it reaches the surface. This separation is achieved in gravity separators. The design and sizing of separators can be challenging due to the number of factors involved. Improper separator design can bottleneck and reduce the production of the entire facility. This paper describes the development of a capital cost optimisation model for sizing three phase separators. The developed model uses GRG Non-linear algorithms to determine the minimum cost associated with the construction of horizontal separators subject to four sets of constraints. A numerical sizing example was solved to provide the details associated with the model and the ease with which parameters can be varied to suit the user's needs. Finally, a spreadsheet comparison between results obtained from the developed model and four other extant models is carried out. Results indicated that the developed model predicted results within an absolute error of ±5m3 in most cases and a maximum of ±12.5m3 for very high gas flows in comparison to conventional models developed based on retention time theory.