Crude oil is composed of various elements beyond oil, gas and hydrocarbons. It’s necessary to separate the elements in crude oil, and treating the oil is a key part of that process. Treatment starts before the oil is even out of the ground, and continues up to point of sale. For instance, chemical compounds are added to nearly all crude oil. Let’s look closer at the processes involved in chemical treatment of oil and gas.
What Can Be Done With Chemicals
In addition to treating oil, chemicals can also help prevent corrosion of pipes and tanks. And oil treatment itself can mean many things. Different chemicals and processes are utilized depending on the situation, as certain chemicals are more beneficial to particular concerns.
When considering what chemicals to use, step one is to focus on the problem at hand rather than brand and chemical names. Companies often refer to chemicals by alternate names. Hone in on your goals and expectations with professionals rather than asking for a specific branded product.
The benefits of chemical treatment are more pronounced with time, so it’s best to do as early as possible. You can sometimes add it into the formation, but it’s not always cost effective. The better option is to add chemical compounds through the casing, where the pump draws oil. Chemicals can also be added at the wellhead or the tank battery.
Remember the old adage about mixing oil and water? The two naturally separate over time with the help of gravity, but we don’t always have time to wait. Chemical treatment speeds that process along. These chemicals—detergents or surfactants—bind with water and other non-oil molecules, separating them from the oil by weighing the water down, forcing the oil upward.
Thinning Paraffin in the Chemical Treatment of Oil and Gas
Heavy weight oil may also contain hydrocarbons like paraffin and asphalt. These thick elements coat the sides of pipes and tubing, creating a blockade between the water and oil. This sends the oil down the drain, wasting it. There are chemicals you can use to thin the paraffin, preventing it from building up and messing up your oil flow. Instead of specific paraffin thinners, consider using casinghead gasoline. It’s a much less expensive, but volatile product, so use with caution.
Cleaning the Tanks
Keeping a clean tank isn’t fun, but it’s imperative. Sediment and other undesirable elements collect on the bottom of the tank and create a thick emulsion that slows down the drain. To fix the issue, bottom breaking chemicals are required, sometimes with a mix of several chemicals to remedy the problem.
Make sure to add chemicals when you are circulating oil through your tanks. You can do this by poking a small hole in a plastic jug dangled over the oil. Looking for a more professional touch? Use one of our Tiger General vacuum trucks to clean your tank.