Crude Desalter Levels and the Nuclear Option

Presented By

David Williams - Vega

Conference: Galveston 2016

In today’s refinery with all the opportunity crudes that are available, it is a important to know how the
different crude oils react when mixed together to ensure compatibility. If oils are mixed and they are not compatible, they could form emulsion that are very difficult to break. When this happens in the desalter, knowing not only the brine water level is important, but also the top of the emulsion layer to ensure proper desalter operation. There are several technologies that are used to measure the water level in the desalters from , displacers, floats, DPs, capacitance, radar, manual samples and nuclear.

Each one of these technologies have their advantages and disadvantages and most of these technologies stop working effectively once the emulsion layer gets more than 1-2 inches thick, except for the nuclear option. The Nuclear option will provide the user with a density profile of the desalter so that the water level and emulsion levels can be determined, monitored and controlled. We will discuss how the nuclear density profile system works and answer some of the most concerning questions regarding nuclear levels in an interface application. Some of these questions are:

  1. How are the sources inserted?
  2. What are my radiation fields outside the vessel?
  3. What is the accuracy of the density profile system
  4. Can I preform a vessel entry?
  5. How do I calibrate the density profile system?
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