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An Early Production Facility (EPF) in the oil and gas industry is a production facility designed to enable rapid production from a newly discovered crude oil production field. The modular nature of EPF process skids allows for easy transportation, rapid installation, and integration into the EPF layout. The specific combination and configuration of skids depend on the characteristics of the well fluids, production rates, and the desired level of processing required during the early production phase.

Modular Process Skids:

In an Early Production Facility (EPF) for the oil and gas industry, modular process skids are extensively utilized to provide a compact, prefabricated, and easily deployable solution for various processing operations. These modular skids are designed to handle the production and treatment of well fluids during the early stages of field development. Some common modular process skids found in an EPF include:

➣ Well testing skids:

These skids are used for initial well testing and evaluation, incorporating equipment such as chokes, separators, and metering systems.

They allow for controlled flow and separation of the well fluids, enabling accurate measurement of production rates and fluid properties.

➣ Separation skids:

Separation skids incorporate two-phase or three-phase separators to separate the well stream into gas, oil/condensate, and water phases.

Additional components like inlet heaters, mist extractors, and level control systems may be integrated into the skid.

➣ Stabilization skids:

Stabilization skids are used to condition the produced oil or condensate by removing light hydrocarbon components and meeting transportation specifications.

They may include components like heater treaters, flash tanks, and vapor recovery units.

➣ Dehydration skids:

Dehydration skids, such as glycol dehydration skids, are used to remove water vapor from the gas stream, preventing hydrate formation and corrosion issues.

They typically consist of a glycol contactor, regeneration system, and associated pumps and heat exchangers.

➣Metering and custody transfer skids (LACT skids):

LACT (Lease Automatic Custody Transfer) skids are used for accurate measurement and custody transfer of the produced liquids (oil or condensate).

They incorporate components like meter provers, flow meters, samplers, and instrumentation for precise volume and quality measurements.

➣ Produced water treatment skids:

These skids are designed to treat and manage the produced water stream, removing contaminants like oil, solids, and dissolved salts.

They may include various treatment processes such as hydrocyclones, nutshell filters, and compact flotation units.

➣ Flare and vent skids:

Flare and vent skids are used for safe disposal of excess gases or relief during upset conditions, ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.

Modular process skids in EPFs offer advantages such as standardized designs, pre-fabrication in controlled environments, and the ability to scale or reconfigure the facility as needed. They contribute to the flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and rapid deployment of EPFs, enabling operators to effectively manage the early stages of field development and maximize the value of their assets.


Primary Objectives:

➣ Early cash flow generation: By bringing the field into production quickly, an EPF allows operators to generate cash flow from the sale of hydrocarbons, which can help offset some of the exploration and development costs.

➣ Reservoir evaluation: The production data and fluid samples obtained from an EPF provide valuable information about the reservoir characteristics, such as pressure, flow rates, and fluid composition, which aids in optimizing the field development plan.

➣ Proof of concept: An EPF serves as a proof of concept, demonstrating the viability of the field and the potential for commercial production, which can attract investment and support further development. 

➣ An EPF in the oil and gas industry typically consists of the following key components:

➣ Well testing and production equipment: This includes wellheads, surface flow lines, chokes, and separators to control and process the well fluids.

➣ Processing facilities: Depending on the field characteristics, processing facilities may include separation units, stabilization units, dehydration units, and basic treatment systems to condition the produced hydrocarbons for transportation or storage.

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➣ Storage facilities: Temporary storage tanks or vessels for holding the produced oil, gas, and water before transportation or disposal.

➣ Metering and testing equipment: Flow meters, sampling systems, and analytical equipment to measure and monitor the production rates and fluid properties.

➣ Utilities and support systems: Power generation, flaring systems, and other ancillary equipment required for the operation of the facility.

Design and Construction:

  • EPFs are designed with a focus on modularity, mobility, and rapid deployment. They are typically constructed using prefabricated and skid-mounted components, which can be easily transported and assembled on-site.

  • The modular nature of EPFs allows for flexibility in scaling up or down the production capacity as needed, based on the initial field evaluation and subsequent development plans.

  • EPFs are often designed to be self-contained and self-sufficient, with their own power generation, utilities, and ancillary systems, making them suitable for remote or deserted locations.

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Operation and Maintenance:

  • EPFs are operated by a relatively small crew, as they are designed for temporary and streamlined operations.

  • Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the EPF, given its temporary nature and the potential for harsh environmental conditions.

  • Preventive maintenance programs and contingency plans are typically in place to minimize downtime and address any potential issues promptly.

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