Effect of wettability on particle settlement behavior within Mono-Ethylene Glycol regeneration pre-treatment systems
School of Engineering
This study was undertaken to diagnose routine settling problems within a third-party oil and gas companies’ Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG) regeneration system. Two primary issues were identified including; a) low particle size (<40 >μm) resulting in poor settlement within high viscosity MEG solution and b) exposure to hydrocarbon condensate causing modification of particle surface properties through oil-wetting of the particle surface. Analysis of oil-wetted quartz and iron carbonate (FeCO₃) settlement behavior found a greater tendency to remain suspended in the solution and be removed in the rich MEG effluent stream or to strongly float and accumulate at the liquid-vapor interface in comparison to naturally water-wetted particles.
As such, exposure of particles including quartz and FeCO₃ to the condensate phase within natural gas transportation pipelines may ultimately cause poor settlement of suspended particles downstream within MEG regeneration systems, leading to increase filtration requirements. The effect of oil-wetting on particle settlement was successfully managed through application of a cationic surfactants, including cetrimonium bromide (CTAB), to transition the initially oil-wetted surface to water-wetted. Cationic surfactants were found to be most suitable due to the negative surface charge of mineral particles at pH levels typical of MEG regeneration system pre-treatment systems (pH > 8).