The goal for all oil and gas production facilities is to have zero fugitive emissions. This is impossible but reducing the unnecessary fugitive emissions to zero is possible with planning and correct production equipment selection. Sand separators are a critical piece of early production equipment. Every time the sand is removed from these vessels’ fugitive emissions are created. There are effective strategies to minimize fugitive emissions when using sand separators. Horizontal or low angle Desanders have shown better performance over vertical or spherical sand separators. This is due to a larger sand holding capacity resulting in fewer blowdowns and unnecessary fugitive emissions.
What are fugitive emissions?
Fugitive emissions refer to unintended or accidental releases of gases or vapors from industrial processes or equipment. These emissions occur outside of designated pathways like vents or stacks, escaping into the atmosphere. Common in various industries such as oil and gas, chemical manufacturing, and transportation, fugitive emissions result from leaks, equipment malfunctions, or inadequate maintenance. They often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), methane, or other harmful pollutants, contributing to air pollution and environmental damage. Monitoring and controlling fugitive emissions are crucial to mitigate their impact on air quality, human health, and climate change. Technologies and protocols aimed at reducing fugitive emissions play a vital role in promoting sustainability and addressing environmental concerns across different sectors.
For 1 m3 (264.2 gallons) of sand stopped by each Sand Separator the Vertical geometry would produce 72% of the Carbon of the spherical vessel while the horizontal Desander would produce 26% of the spherical and the low angle tilt would produce 11%.
To optimize the process further, a scale system should be paired with the horizontal or low angle Desander so that the Desander is only blown down when needed. This is one of the effective strategies to minimize fugitive emissions while using sand separators.
Download the full study here: https://www.onepetro.org/conference-paper/SPE-196142-MS