Case Study: Permian Separators


With more than 12 years working in oil reclamation, in the oil industry, Phil Procter knows how to extract the maximum value for Permian Separators.

The Stanton, Texas-based facility reclaims valuable oil from processing tank bottoms, saltwater disposals and oil-based mud supplied by the oil sector.

At the heart of his operation are two GTech Echo-4 3 phase separation machines, which Phil runs 24/7 to meet the growing demand from the local industry. Processing around 1,000 barrels of slurries and emulsions per day, Phil’s team can extract up to 200 barrels of oil daily, while also separating out saltwater and dry solids for disposal.

“There’s definitely an art to it,” says Phil. “You are trying to create the oil while leaving the residue with the minimum amount of oil and water left in it. This is about clarification and maximising our ability to extract clean water, clean oil, and dry solids.”

Partnering with GTech

Having used a wide range of separation equipment, Phil says the machines from Texas-based GTech USA outperform their international rivals. With the care and maintenance provided by the skilled and experienced Permian Solutions team, the lifetime value of the hard-wearing GTech Echo-4 is also superior.

But its GTech’s service focus that really impresses.

“Obviously, the cost of the machine up front is a consideration, but for me one of the larger considerations is being able to talk to somebody, and get it returned to us as quickly as possible if it does go down,” says Phil. “That’s a bigger factor to us.”

“We run 24/7, so downtime is very expensive – especially if we have to store material. I’ve got clients that I just can’t refuse if they call me to go and pick up material, otherwise they’ll go somewhere else, and it will be difficult to get them back.”

Phil says it is vital for his business to be able to rely on a partner that can respond as quickly as possible to provide support and repair services.

“I’ll give you an example. We had a bearing go out on a machine. We took it down off the machine, we put it on a truck. We shipped it to GTech in Houston, which is about a 9-hour drive from here. It got there at 6 in the morning. It was back on that same truck about 3 in the afternoon and back at my facility in the morning. So, you can’t beat that.”

Performance under the toughest conditions

GTech’s machine can also stand up to the most punishing conditions.

“I think we have the most aggressive, nasty stuff you’re going to put through a machine,” says Phil.

“We heat it to 180 degrees, 200 degrees, its brine, there’s salts, lots of aggressive sand. There are all kinds of stuff – but our GTech machines stand up well.”

Major opportunities in circular focus

While Permian Separators’ focus is on the oil industry, Phil regularly fields inquiries from other sectors which are now recognising the value of three-phase separation for recovering valuable oils.

“The other demand is coming from all kinds of industries – refinery waste, a lot of barge clean ups – anywhere you need to clean up oil,” says Phil. “Whether it be from food, from cooking oil, anywhere where oil is a waste product, there’s a market to use a 3 phase machine to take the valuable material out and minimise the disposal.”

“Outside of the oil field, to dispose of anything that is contaminated is really expensive, so there’s definitely a market out there for other industries.”

Within his own sector, Phil and his team are also exploring other options to use what they recover.

A growing business

Having brought on his second GTech Echo-4 3 phase separator in January 2022, Permian Solutions is already looking at further growth and expansion.

“Now we’ve got the two machines in, we’ve got a nice process going,” says Phil. “So now we can go after more material. And as we go after more material, it could mean more machines.”

As his business grows, Phil sees customer focused GTech as a big part of its future.

“Once it gets out that you’ve got a machine that is comparable or outperforms one of the major companies and you have that customer service aspect, it's a no brainer really.”

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