Case History: Silicone Foam Control Agent Provides Solution

Momentive Performance Materials offers silicone products that act as antifoams and demulsifiers. These silicone-based products offer significant performance benefits in the production, transportation, and refining of oil and gas.

In gas/oil separators, Momentive’s specialty antifoams offer excellent foam control and deairation that may result in increased productivity, boost the demulsifier performance, while at the same time, reduce the silicon metal loading in the crude – significantly reducing the impact on refining catalysts.

Silbreak™ silicone demulsifiers are not intended to replace organic demulsifiers, but rather, to act as boosters to organic demulsifier formulations. At low concentrations, they may improve the clarity of the water, improve interface, reduce BS&W or reduce the temperature of demulsification.

Case Study in the Gulf of Mexico

Silbreak* 638 silicone demulsifiers served as an effective foam control agent in the Gulf of Mexico.

Problem

In an offshore facility in the Gulf of Mexico processing heavy crude with a high gas/oil ratio (GOR), significant levels of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) based antifoam were used to control foam in the gas oil separators. This resulted in levels of silicon metal in the crude that were unacceptable to the end user refineries. New antifoams were needed to maintain the production level of the operations, but reduce the silicon metal loading in the crude. Fluorosilicones were not acceptable.

Solution 

Silbreak 638 silicone foam agent was selected for a trial on a small platform. Over a period of several hours, the Silbreak 638 silicone demulsifier controlled foam better than the incumbent and was therefore subsequently introduced on a much larger unit. There, not only was foam control maintained, but in fact was significantly improved as measured by foam levels inside the separator and levels of gas carry-under. Both effects resulted in a 2% increase in the amount of crude oil processed. Furthermore, the silicon metal loading fell well within spec, having been reduced by 8x versus that of the PDMS antifoam. 

Benefit

The trial validated the following potential benefits from the use of Silbreak 638 silicone demulsifiers in crude oil processing: 

Momentive Performance Materials, with its Silbreak 638 silicone foam control agent, offers effective solutions to challenging conditions both onshore and offshore. All silicone products are available globally and supported by decades of technical and application experience. For more information on Silbreak silicone demulsifiers and additional silicone products, visit momentive.com.

*Silbreak is a trademark of Momentive Performance Materials Inc.