The objective of this paper is to evaluate and analyze energy savings and process optimization opportunities in the gas-oil separation plants (GOSPs) in upstream surface facilities. This approach resulted in the development of a new design for a compact gas-oil separation plant (C-GOSP) to meet the crude oil export specifications with less process equipment and operating costs, and higher oil product yield compared to conventional GOSPs. The new design was materialized as patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The innovative C-GOSP is based on the integration of the gas compression system with production traps to conserve energy consumption and minimize capital cost and increase crude production. Atmospheric and hot discharge gas from low pressure compressors will be rerouted and directly mixed with the incoming wild crude before entering the production traps. This process will result in simultaneously cooling the compressors' discharge gas and heating the incoming crude while increasing crude production. Hysys simulation was used to model and verify the feasibility of the C-GOSP. A 300 MBD production facility was used to benchmark the Hysys simulation model and to verify the feasibility of these promising energy saving opportunities.

The extensive process simulation modelling using Aspen Hysys and benchmarked with the actual plant energy consumption revealed the feasibility of this innovative C-GOSP, which will result in the following benefits:

  • Lowering the capital cost by eliminating the compressors discharge after coolers, liquid pumps, discharge KO drums and minimize the surface area of the crude heat exchangers.

  • Lowering operating cost by eliminating the after coolers and heating medium required to heat the crude.

  • Increase crude production yield by condensing the heavy hydrocarbon from the gas stream.

  • Minimize the spacing requirements, which make ideal for offshore applications.

The innovative approach of direct heating and cooling by mixing of hot and cold streams is superior to any other optimization approach. Consequently, a patent was granted from the USPTO on July 17, 2018, for the innovative C-GOSP. The patent number is 10023811.

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