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Level interface sensing for water dump control in oil & gas

Accurate and reliable detection of the interface between oil and water in a water dump tank

Capacitance level switches are used to detect the oil/water interface

In a separation vessel, oil and water separate, with oil moving to the top and water to the bottom. Capacitance level switches are used to detect the oil/water interface.

In a fracking operation at oil and gas wells, water and oil both come to the surface, and must be separated. Oil and gas can be filtered from the water fairly easily, but the remaining water, called “produced water”, is contaminated and must be treated before being released into the environment. Whether the separation is done at the well site or at the refinery, one of the most critical parts of the process is measuring the level of the interface between oil and water in the separation vessel.

When comparing point level instruments that can detect the water/oil interface, the capacitance sensor stands out as the best choice. Capacitance level switches are simple to calibrate and can be installed horizontally or vertically. There are no moving parts to wear out or hang up. Because capacitance has the advantage of active buildup compensation, materials that coat such as heavy crude or paraffin are not a problem.

Reliably measure water/oil interface for water dump control

There are a number of point level approaches to measure the interface between water and oil for water dump control. Manual methods, such as sampling valves and sight glasses are still widely used in these applications. Using level instrumentation to determine the interface removes both the manual aspect and human error from the procedure. Capacitance level switches provide reliable water oil interface detection, and help to automate the water dump


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