Oil-Water Separation Fundamentals


About the Skill Module

This module describes the characteristics of three-phase separators and discusses the methods used for oil-water separation. The following key concepts are covered in this module:

  • Emulsions
  • Stokes’ Law
  • Oil dehydrators
  • Three-phase separation


See example online learning module

Target Audience

Process/facilities engineers and senior operating personnel involved with the design and operation of oil and produced water processing facilities.

You Will Learn

You Will Learn How To

  • Describe emulsions, how they form and how they influence separator design
  • Discuss how emulsions can be destabilized and eliminated
  • Describe Stokes’ Law and explain the influence of its Key Parameters on the Oil-Water separation
  • Estimate the settling velocity of water in three cases of Condensate, Heavy Oil, and Emulsion with different viscosity values
  • Discuss how emulsions can be destabilized and eliminated to achieve the Basic Sediment and Water specifications
  • Estimate the size of an oil dehydrator based on liquid-liquid separation criteria
  • Describe separator applications and common types of 3-phase gas liquid-liquid separators
  • List the sizing criteria for 2-phase and 3-phase separators
  • Discuss the principles of gas-liquid-liquid separation and how they are applied in separator design
  • Compare the residence time and droplet settling methods and discuss their application

Product Details




Process Facilities



Product Type:

Individual Skill Module




3 hours (approx.)