Measurements of oil-water separation dynamics in primary separation systems using distributed capacitance sensors

A.J. Jaworski, Tomasz Dyakowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides an overview of research activities conducted and results obtained within an industrially driven research programme managed through UMIST (currently The University of Manchester) over the recent years. Its main objective was to design, construct and demonstrate new instrumentation technologies which could allow reliable measurement of the separation process in the oil and gas extraction industries with the view of transferring the technology developed in academia into the oilfield environment. The paper describes the developments starting from the early work, which aimed at the laboratory qualification of the distributed electrical capacitance sensors embedded in the parallel-plate interceptor of the transparent oil–water separator located at the university Pilot Plant. This is followed by the description of the design, analysis and industrial evaluation of the pre-prototype capacitance probe, containing 24 distributed sensors, in the live oilfield conditions of the BP Exploration facility at Wytch Farm, Dorset, UK. Finally, the most recent advances, including industrial tests of the prototype multi-electrode capacitance probe carried out in the National Engineering Laboratory in Glasgow are reported. The probe was designed and built to include a mechanical deposit prevention system and to meet the flame proof standards of the oil and gas extraction industry. The three case studies presented demonstrate the process of evolution of the measurement technology, which originally stemmed from ECT, and its transfer into the live process environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-127
Number of pages15
JournalFlow Measurement and Instrumentation
Issue number2-3
Early online date11 Apr 2005
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


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