Wherever oil and water meet in industrial processes, there is a need to monitor the concentration of oil in water. In shipping, oil-in-water monitors are needed for compliance with ballast and bilge water discharge standards. In oil and gas production, oil-in-water technologies are used to ensure that separation is as effective as possible and to predict when maintenance will be needed, among other applications.
Each application has different demands, constraints and challenges. It is important to choose the right technology for your application and the conditions under which the measurements are made. For example, if you are measuring oil-in-water to monitor environmental compliance on ships you will have a different set of needs than if you were measuring to optimise processes in upstream oil and gas. Likewise, contrasting technologies will be applicable if you are working in the North Sea or the Sahara Desert.
The four main optical-based oil-on-water technologies have their own advantages and disadvantages that make them more or less suitable for certain applications. For example, the volumes of water monitored and sampled, the turbidity of the water, the level of hydrocarbons and the presence of solids and chemical contaminants – as well as factors such as maintenance and calibration requirements - can all have a big impact on which technology is the most appropriate