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Design and Develop Integrated Compact Multi-Phase Separator System
Project Number

The project is to advance the state of the art in separation technology to improve the economics and ultimate recovery of oil and natural gas. These compact separation systems also will improve safety in offshore operations. The goal is to make compact separators and compact separation systems predictable, reliable, and a viable economic alternative to conventional separation technology. 


University of Tulsa
Tulsa, OK 


Development of the gas-liquid cylindrical cyclone (GLCC) was completed under a University of Tulsa contract DE-FG26-97BC15024 between 1997 and 2003. This contract developed many of the components necessary for the compact multi-phase separation systems. 

Project Results
The integrated compact multi-phase separator system will ensure simple, compact, cost-effective and high-efficient separation of clean streams of gas, oil, water and solids. The CMSS will be adaptable for FPSO and subsea applications and will provide effective separation of gas, oil and water.

This technology is intended for use by oil and gas production companies and production equipment manufacturers. The compact separator will reduce operating cost and provide environmental benefits over existing methods of lifting, separating and disposal of fluids.

Project Summary
The project will work on six primary tasks in the six year budget period.

  • Compact Multiphase Separation Systems (CMSS) component development
  • Modeling of CMSS components
  • Design and test Wet Gas Scrubber and Solids removal unit (SSU)
  • Modify flow loop, CFD simulation
  • CMSS flow testing and design modification
  • CMSS high pressure testing
  • Finalize CMSS design

The Helical Pipe Separator (HPS) is a compact appliance that enhances fluid-liquid separation prior to the effluent entering the separator. This device will aid in improving the efficiency of the separator.

Severe slugging is a common problem in oil production. Slugging can fully fill a separator resulting in equipment fouling. The Slug Damper (SD) regulates the flow of fluid into a separator preventing fouling, while simultaneously not interfering with the well's oil production. The first successful field implementation of this critical piece was demonstrated for SMS Inc. in California. Production from SMS Inc.'s wells routinely slugged and consequently filled the production separators resulting in incomplete separation. Observations on the first quarters operation indicate a significant reduction in slugging.

The conceptual design of the Sand Separation Unit (SSU) has been finalized. The SSU concept consists of solid-liquid hydrocyclone with the solids collecting in the bottom of the SSU and solid-free liquids passing through. Currently, solids are removed from the SSU manually.

Fluids will enter the 3-phase GLCC unit; solids will be removed at the bottom, gas will be removed and process through the Wet Gas Scrubber at the top, and oil bearing fluids will be removed from the bottom for further processing steps. The second generation CMSS configuration and the new components will allow cost-effective and highly efficient separation of clean gas, oil, water and solids, significantly improving on the original 3-phase GLCC design.

Current Status

(June 2006)
This project is completed.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution

$334,919 (33% of total)

Contact Information

NETL - Betty Felber ( or 918-699-2031)
U. of Tulsa - Ram Mohan ( or 918-631-2075)

Gomez, L., Mohan, R. and Shoham, O. Swirling Gas-Liquid Two-Phase Flow – Experiment and Modeling, Part I: Swirling Flow Field, presented at the ASME/JSME FED summer meeting, Honolulu, HI, July 6-10, 2003, ASME J. Fluids Eng., V. 126, No. 6, (November 2004), 935-942.

Gomez, L., Mohan, R. and Shoham, O. Swirling Gas-Liquid Two-Phase Flow – Experiment and Modeling, Part II: Turbulent Quantities and Core Stability”, presented at the ASME/JSME FED summer meeting, Honolulu, HI, July 6-10, 2003, ASME J. Fluids Eng., V. 127, No. 6, (November 2004), 943-959.

Second-generation CMSS configuration with new components.
Second-generation CMSS configuration with new components.