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Plate Pack Coalescer

The liquid/liquid separation process is gravity driven. As a result, additional separation aids are often required to meet or increase the separation efficiency, allowing increased throughput, or offering an opportunity to reduce the size and weight of the vessel. Many three-phase (gas/liquid/liquid) or two-phase (liquid/liquid) separators therefore incorporate a Plate Pack Coalescer to achieve these objectives.

Plate Pack Coalescers contain numerous parallel plates at a fixed angle, the angle being dependent on the operational duty, the process fluids, and whether solids are present. Due to the fact that the flow between the plates lies in the laminar regime, smaller droplets can be separated than would be achieved by gravity alone. Furthermore, since the distance the dispersed phases have to travel to the plate surfaces is small, the residence times required for effective separation and, consequently, the vessel size, can be reduced, for a similar efficiency to that obtained with a gravity-settlement system.

It should also be noted that Plate Pack Coalescers, when installed with a well-designed baffling system, have very good motion dampening capabilities, enabling their use to counter surface waves in separation equipment. For this reason, they are often employed on Floating Production Units (FPUs).

Advantages of a Plate Pack Coalescer:

  • Increases liquid/liquid separation efficiency
  • Minimises the vessel size on a new build project (reducing CAPEX)
  • Allows a greater fluid throughput for a set vessel size, on a revamp project
  • Increases separation efficiency for a set vessel size, on a revamp project
  • Wide operational range - typically, providing 100% turndown
  • Suitable for modular or framed assembly
  • Easy to install in both new and existing separators
  • Includes no moving parts so no maintenance is needed (for clean duties)
  • Reduces surface waves and sloshing effects.

Applications of a Plate Pack Coalescer:

  • Production Separators
  • Test Separators
  • Slug Catchers
  • Free Water Knock-Out (FWKO) Drums
  • Skimmer Vessels
  • Enhanced Oil Recovery Systems
  • Floating Production Units (FPUs).

Case Studies

Dulang (Malaysia)

Discovered in 1981, Dulang is a major oil field in the Malay Basin. Located 130 km off the east coast fo Malay Peninsular in depths of 76 m the Dulang field is approx. 24 km long and 3.5 km wide. It is owned jointly by Petronas Carigali Sdn. Bhd and Esso Production Malaysia Inc.

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