Gas Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Separator

Written by Jerry Ratzlaff. Posted in Vessel

The design is a very simple two phase metering unit designed to measure two phase flow.  It consists of a vertical cylinder with an inclined, tangential inlet. The design and construction of the vessel's cyclonic action is proprietary to members of the Tulsa University Separation Technology Project.

  • Abbreviated as GLCC

How it Works

Flow is conditioned at the inlet of the vessel to help spur the breakout of gas from the fluid.  When fluid enters the vessel, it swirls into a cyclone.  This combines the gravitational, centrifugal and buoyancy forces to separate the liquids from the gas. The resulting vortex causes the liquids move outward and down in the cylinder, while the gas travels inward and upward.

Depending on the function of the GLCC, the gas or liquid can be metered.  The gas and liquids may or may not be recombined.

Applications

The GLCC has been used in both heavy and light oils as well as on coal bed methane wells.  The GLCCs success comes from its ability to continuously measure the flow going through the skid.  Continuous real time measurement of the well provides performance characteristics that are unavailable with other existing technologies.  

Due to its small footprint, the GLCC is used offshore where space may be limited.  The small footprint is also beneficial when permitting costs depend on the footprint of the skid proper.

History

The Gas Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone, GLCC, was invented by Chevron engineers in the early 1990s. Chevron assigned the patent to the University of Tulsa with the agreement that U of T would form a Joint Industry Project (JIP) to research, develop, and enhance the GLCC technology. TUSTP research is supported by 14 leading national and international companies in the petroleum industry.  

Sizing

The GLCC is not a one-size-fits-all device.  It must be engineered to each application.  The sizing calculations and software is proprietary to members of the TUSTP.  Since the vessel uses gravitational, buoyancy and centrifugal forces for separation, it cannot be sized using residence time as [[Stokes_Law|Stokes Law]] does.  

Members

TUSTP research is supported by 14 leading national and international companies in the petroleum industry. The goal of the members of the TUSTP  and the University of Tulsa work together to better understand, analyze and design separation systems. 

  • Calscan Energy Ltd.
  • Cameron/Petreco
  • Chevron
  • Emerson Process Management
  • eProduction Solutions
  • ExxonMobil
  • Multiphase Systems Integration (MSI)
  • NATCO
  • PEMEX (Mexico)
  • Petrobras
  • Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia)
  • Shell
  • Systems Measurement Services (SMS)
  • Total