Surface Equipment – Brine Tank
If the interface level controller on the low pressure, three phase separator malfunctions, a well’s entire production of natural gasoline may wind up in an open top brine holding tank. Of course, losses in hydrocarbons will be accelerated due to evaporation. More importantly, the lease operator may lose all the well’s condensate. It can happen that the brine disposal truck which empties the brine tank also disposes of the accumulated condensate. The condensate is recovered by whoever operates the local salt water disposal facility. Naturally, this enterprising individual will then keep the condensate and sell it at a substantial profit.
It has been alleged that on rare occasions, that the interface level controllers on the low pressure, three phase separators are encouraged to malfunction by human intervention. Certainly, the theft of natural gasoline from wellhead storage tanks is not unknown. Dumping condensate to the brine storage tank is one method to foil auditors monitoring production losses in condensate.