Introducing the new ACPA Seminar Series, a monthly webinar series including various topics of interest related to advancing the Chemical Profession in Alberta. For the tenth seminar in this series, we are happy to introduce Mark Williams, Retired Senior Applications Advisor for Baker Hughes to speak on 'Pioneers of Demulsification' on April 26, 2022.  Each seminar will be eligible for 1 PDC credit.


6:45 - 6:59 PM MT - Networking

7:00 - 8:00 PM MT - Presentation and Q&A

Pioneers of Demulsification 

Although crude oil and water are immiscible, these components mix during production and can form various types of stable emulsions.  If these emulsions cannot be destabilized quickly and effectively, problems exist producing and selling the crude oil.  This makes demulsification technology essential for oil production.  In the early days of the petroleum industry, when a crude oil emulsion was produced, technology did not exist to separate emulsions effectively.  The resulting produced oil emulsion could not be refined so it became unusable.  Since producers could not sell the emulsion, it had to be disposed and some of the disposal methods used in the early days of the petroleum industry were nothing short of an environmental disaster.  This presentation discusses the contributions of four pioneers in the petroleum industry for demulsification: William S. Barnickel, Frederick G. Cottrell, Melvin DeGroote, and Charles M. Blair.  In the early 1900s, Barnickel and Cottrell started the science of demulsification with their inventions of the first chemical demulsifiers and process of breaking emulsions using electrostatic precipitation, respectively. Their efforts prevented the environmental discharge and allowed use of millions of barrels of crude oil required for a then rapidly industrializing world.  Later, DeGroote and Blair entered the petroleum industry and significantly advanced chemical demulsification and other chemical treating technologies. These four pioneers’ contributions to the petroleum industry and society are immense. This talk is intended to provide recognition of these contributions.

Speaker Bio

Mark Williams, Retired Senior Applications Advisor

Mark Williams is a retired Senior Applications Advisor for Baker Hughes Company’s Upstream Chemical and Industrial Services product line in Sugar Land, Texas.  Prior to this role Mark was the Upstream Director of Production Optimization with global responsibility for technical applications support, R&D of new demulsifiers, water clarifiers, foaming technology for gas well deliquification and antifoamers.  During his 42 years at Baker Hughes Company he was a resource to several special project teams dealing with deep water production, EOR, conventional oil/gas production, and a team leader for an unconventional heavy oil production team.  Mark’s career also spans the Mid and Downstream segments of the hydrocarbon industry.  In the downstream market segment he was the Director of the Finished Fuel Additive and Process Technology Group at Baker Hughes.  There he managed all aspects of new product R&D, technical support to the Operations/Sales Group, and product line maintenance.  Mark began his career as a technical support and development chemist for Petrolite’s worldwide oilfield chemicals group in St. Louis, Missouri after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry.  He has also held several other management level positions, led quality improvement teams, developed and conducted internal training programs, co-chaired an ASTM committee and has seven patents during his tenure with the Baker Hughes Company.

Registration Information

Cost:  FREE

Registration Deadline: April 24, 2022

>> Register today!

If you are not an ACPA member, you can create an account to access the Member Registration link above. If you have questions, contact the ACPA office at [email protected].