Oil Desalter Unit Unveiled

Oil Desalter Unit UnveiledOil Desalter Unit Unveiled

Iran has achieved the technology to desalinate crude oil using electrostatic methods, research and technology director at the oil ministry said during a ceremony where the unit was unveiled, IRIB reported. The technology was so far monopolized by a few countries, Mohammadreza Moghaddam said, adding that it will enhance the quality of Iranian crude to be later sold at a higher price.  Crude oil comprises varying amounts of water and inorganic salts when extracted. The presence of salts, especially chlorides, corrodes oil processing equipment.  Therefore, desalting has been also used to reduce fouling in the crude distillation unit and to reduce corrosion in the crude distillation tower overhead.

Electrostatic separation methods are frequently used with crude oil containing about 0.5 to 12 percent water. Electrostatic method involves injection of high voltage electricity to desalinate crude, deputy head of the Research Institute of Petroleum Industry (RIPI), Seyed Aimrabbas Hosseini said.

A total of 20 barrels of oil per day (bpd) are desalinated in the pilot scheme, but the RIPI plans to increase the figure to a thousand bpd once the technology is commercialized in less than two years. The unit is capable of desalting light, heavy, semi-heavy, and heavy crude oils with different APIs. The American Petroleum Institute gravity, or API gravity, is a measure of how heavy or light petroleum liquid is compared to water.