Measuring the interfaces of oil / emulsions / water in desalters

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
  • Ideal control of oil outlet flow
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Minimized and optimized addition of emulsion breaking chemicals
  • Increased safety and decreased corrosion for subsequent processes



  • Number of sources/detectors dependent upon measuring range and arrangement
  • Highly repeatable and stable measurements
  • Detectors are mounted outside of the vessel for ease of access, ensuring  water cooling is not required
  • Increased reliability, operates on all API crudes
  • Very precise density at each corresponding height, density accuracy <0.002 g/cm3 (aligned arrangement)
  • Or continuous level measurement of the interface layers, level accuracy +/- 25 mm (staggered arrangement)
  • Optional mud level measurement

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 chemical use, and permanently reduce your operating costs.
The EmulsionSENS reduces the probability of upsets and maximizes desalter throughput. This optimization saves money in the long term, according to customers and experts, $100,000 to $300,000. The EmulsionsSENS is tailored to meet the requirements of your desalter and refinery with the highest degree of accuracy and stability.

Detector retrofit program to improve your production

Especially in low radiation conditions, our highly sensitive detectors improve the signal to noise ratio, resulting in superior performance when compared to competing system. Replacing your existing detector with a more sensitive Berthold detector will delay source replacement, which is costly, time consuming 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

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”, describing the different technologies for multiphase level measurement and their potential drawbacks, including the different nuclear density profile systems. 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 reduce operating costs.

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Berthold's measurement solution


Monitoring the emulsion layer or the height of multiple phases