Volume: 2 | Issue: 6

Separations Technology Technical Section Continues Growth into 2014

Facilities separations encompass a wide variety of physical and chemical technologies. This scope covers free water knockout vessels, wellhead desanders, flotation cells, amine sweeteners, electrostatic desalters, mist pads, rotordynamic scrubbers, molecular sieves, and flash drums—just to name a few. The technologies are designed to meet the unique needs of onshore, offshore, floating, and subsea facilities, as well as high-pressure/high-temperature, heavy oil, sour gas, waxy, and sand-prone wells. The ubiquitous nature of separations in facilities led to the development of the Separations Technology Technical Section (STTS) in 2011.

Entering its third year, the STTS has grown to more than 500 members representing all 16 SPE regions and all six SPE disciplines. Many of these members attended the second annual “Knowledge Sharing on Separator Design” special session held during the 2013 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in October (see page 58). We will continue building the momentum at the 2014 ATCE in Amsterdam with a focus on debottlenecking.

At the recent ATCE, the STTS sponsored three web events that covered interface and level detection, foaming, and effect of defoaming additives. For next year, web events are being developed on topics such as separator design, separator internals, foam control, droplet distribution, and demisting technology.

The STTS holds its annual meeting in conjunction with the ATCE. A new slate of officers was elected during the October meeting, including members from operating companies, consultants, research institutions, equipment designers, educators, and engineering companies. We are always looking to grow our membership across geographic and discipline distributions. Please contact the STTS to offer your suggestions and ideas on topics that are critical and relevant to the needs of our industry.

The STTS offers a means of information exchange, developing designs, and networking. Its mission is to provide a forum in which technical professionals and academia can

  • Share knowledge, experiences, and best practices
  • Identify major issues and technology areas for cooperation and discussions
  • Maintain and promote industry awareness of separation-related issues and technologies
  • Enhance their own technical competencies that meet the needs of the petroleum industry

To participate in the discussion, visit the STTS website at

Hank Rawlins is the chair of the SPE Separations Technology Technical Section, PetroWiki moderator on water treating, and author of 10 SPE publications.

He is the technical director of eProcess Technologies and can be reached at ­



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