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The ZHB® Distribution Baffle is used within a separator where there is a high solids loading, the crude oil is waxy, or there is a possibility that fouling will occur. The ZHB® Distribution Baffle assembly is fitted downstream of the inlet device in a two-phase gas/liquid, or three-phase, horizontal separator, to complete the inlet processing zone.

The bulk liquids from the inlet device settle under gravity, into the inlet processing zone, bounded by the ZHB® Distribution Baffle. Distributing the liquid flow evenly, prior to entry into the liquid/liquid separation region, maximises liquid/liquid separation.

In most designs, the baffle will occupy the whole cross-sectional area of the vessel. This gives it an extremely important role in improving the gas distribution through the separator, helping to minimise mal-distribution effects on the downstream demisting equipment and maximising the efficiency of the gas / liquid separation process.

Where necessary, ZVB® Calming Baffles are included downstream of the inlet processing zone in order to improve the flow distribution still further and reduce the effects of any motion or waves on the liquid surface.

Advantages of ZHB® Distribution Baffles:

  • Distribute and calm the fluids
  • Do not suffer from fouling or blockage
  • Handle slugs and surges
  • Enhance interface level control
  • Provide minimal pressure drop
  • Enhance gas distribution on any downstream equipment
  • Reduce or eliminate re-entrainment of liquid from liquid surface
  • Increase gas / liquid separation efficiency
  • Enhance liquid distribution on downstream equipment
  • Reduce turbulence and re-circulation within the liquid section, promoting gravity separation
  • Increase liquid / liquid separation efficiency
  • Wide operational range - typically, providing 100% turndown
  • Easy to install in both new and existing separators
  • No moving parts so no maintenance
  • Reduce surface waves and sloshing effects.

Applications of ZHB® Distribution Baffles:

  • Production Separators
  • Test Separators
  • Slug Catchers
  • Flash Drums
  • Produced Water Degassers
  • Enhanced Oil Recovery Systems
  • Floating Production Units (FPUs).

Case Studies

Slug Catcher Flow Assurance

Gas production systems may operate in the "slug flow" multiphase regime in which large volumes of liquid are interspersed with the gas. Under these conditions, the arrival of the liquid slugs can be detrimental to separation performance and the mechanical stress levels are greatly increased. In the example shown below, Zeta-pdm was asked to analyse the failure of a slug catcher vessel. Inspection showed that the slugs had caused mechanical failure of the separation internals. Subsequently, a simulation study yielded a vastly improved understanding of the flow behaviour, enabling Zeta-pdm to recommend internals better able to withstand severe operating conditions.

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