A few months back, an oil and gas facility asked Alpine Technical Services (ATS) to assess and perform some demulsification testing on slop oil from an emulsion tank with a 5 gallon sample. The current primary process of oil & water separation results in a tightly bonded secondary emulsion which this facility has had difficulty separating. This emulsion is continuously accumulated until it must be shipped off to a 3rd party for disposal.

Goals of This Project

  1. Utilizing demulsification chemistry to attempt to break oil/water emulsion releasing additional oil from accumulated secondary slop oil emulsion for resale
  2. Utilizing demulsification chemistry to attempt to release additional water from accumulated secondary slop oil emulsion for injection down hole
  3. Determine if a mechanical process is desirable to further de-oil and de-water emulsion, further concentrating solids for disposal


ATS prepared 15 different chemical-based demulsifier solutions for jar testing of the slop oil sample provided. Testing included a “Cold Blank” as well as a “Heated Blank” to 130 F (customer’s temperature for emulsification tank) for baseline comparison. Testing was first conducted at ambient temperatures, then heated to 130 F. A heated (160F) grind out was also performed to understand percentages of all phases of the slop and solids. 100 ml slop samples were dosed with 1000, 2000 and 3000 ppm dosages looking to optimize chemical dosage for best performance. All demulsifiers performed best at the 2,000 ppm level. Performance was graded, first by the percentage of oil removed from slop and second based on the percent of water squeezed from slop. Observations were noted as to the percentages of solids that were oil wetted and water wetted. Pictures of the top three demulsifier performers are attached below.

Testing – Grind Out, Picture, Tables and Charts

The below table displays each of the samples tested with the raw data collected. Note first test on all charts is the grind out.

Pictures of Treated Emulsion and Backlit Water

Pictures below are of the phase separations from top three performers.

Ambient and Heated Blanks (Baseline) Pictures