Measuring the interface levels of oil / emulsions / water in desalters and separators

Arrangement of Multiphase Level Measurement on an oil separator

To ensure extracted brine is free of oil and water does not contact the electrostatic grid or enter the oil outlet, the different levels have to be controlled carefully. The Berthold Multiphase Level Measurement system - EmulsionSENS is used to reliably monitor the separation process online. With two different arrangements, either the product density at specific heights (aligned arrangement) or the level of different phases can be measured continuously (staggered arrangement). Suited for all API oil grades – even for heavy and extra heavy crudes – the measurement is repeatable and stable over time, with no need for cleaning or recalibration.

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Customer benefits

  • Maximum throughput and availability
  • Ideal control of drained water quality and oil outlet flow
  • Lower operation temperatures in the desalter
  • Efficient addition of emulsion breaking chemicals
  • Monitoring of potential rag layer forming
  • Increased efficiency for mud wash
  • Reduced salt carryover – less corrosion in downstream units



  • Detectors mounted outside the vessel – ease of maintenance and no cooling required
  • Increased reliability, operates on all API crudes
  • Accuracy of density profile: <0.002 g/cm3
  • Accuracy of interface level measurement: +/- 25 mm
  • Optional mud level measurement
  • Capable of measuring interface levels even when refining with varying crudes, including opportunity crudes

Optimum control of the desalting process

To ensure optimum control of water / emulsions / oil separation layers in the desalter, more and more operators are turning to radiometry as a highly reliable and accurate measurement solution. By optimizing the process, you minimize the probability of failure, increase efficiency, reduce emulsion breaker chemicals and thus permanently reduce your operating costs. 
Thus, we reduce the probability of upsets for our customers and maximize throughput in the desalter. This process optimization saves money in the long term. According to customers and experts, these are savings of $100,000 to $300,000. We help you to optimize your processes. We offer you tailored measurement solutions that meet the requirements of the refinery with the highest degree of accuracy and stability. 

Berthold Webinar

Improving desalter performance for opportunity crudes

LEARN FROM OUR EXPERTS how the performance of separators and electrostatic coalescers (desalters/dehydrators) can be improved by design and control instrumentation.

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Whitepaper Multiphase Level Measurement

Berthold has published the whitepaper “Multiphase Level Measurement - Improving level control in desalters to aid in use of opportunity crudes”, wherein the different technologies of level measurement and some of their possible issues are explained. Especially the different nuclear density profile systems are discussed. This paper shows how Berthold with its highly sophisticated radiometric Multiphase Level Measurement system EmulsionSENS helps refiners to optimize the separation process, minimize the probability of failure, increase efficiency, save chemicals and thus permanently reduce your operating costs.

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Detector retrofit program to improve your production

Especially in low radiation conditions, our highly sensitive detectors improve the signal to noise ratio, what is resulting in superior measurement performance compared to competing systems. Source replacement is costly, time consuming, and does not work towards a reduction in overall site source activity.

Berthold's retrofit solution


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Berthold's measurement solution


Solution for monitoring transition phases or the height of multiple phases