(49d) Flow Assurance: In-Process Particle and Droplet Characterization for Process Design and Optimization | AIChE

(49d) Flow Assurance: In-Process Particle and Droplet Characterization for Process Design and Optimization


Hukkanen, E. J. - Presenter, METTLER TOLEDO
Smith, B. - Presenter, METTLER TOLEDO

There are several flow assurance problems occuring during oil production, recovery, and transport. In cases of extreme temperatures and pressures, it is possible that methane gas hydrates crystallize or asphaltenes precipitate in the pipeline. If not properly controlled, the hydrate crystals or asphaltene particles may agglomerate to the point of plugging the pipeline. This can be costly it deposition or blockage may damage the reservoir and affect the oil production rate. Therefore, it is critical to study how additives may be used to better understand, optimize, and control agglomeration and precipitation.

In the case of oil recovery and transport, water is used to displace oil in the well. Ultimately, the water and particulates must be removed from the oil, whether by physical or chemical methods. Therefore it is necessary to quantify how much water or particulate remains trapped in the oil before and after the unit operation. For example, de-emulsifying studies are conducted to improve the separation process of oil and water, by varying the type and concentration of different additives.

Probe-based Lasentec tools are ideal for characterizing methane gas hydrates, asphaltene particles, and oil emulsions. In most cases, the conditions (high pressure) to which hydrate crystals form and asphaltenes precipitate make it extremely difficult to sample. The particle and droplet systems are extremely sensitive to temperature and pressure fluctuations. Additionally, off-line techniques require that the samples are dilute enough to allow for simple measurement. However, the measurement of dilute samples is not representative of the actual system and provides a very limited data set. With Lasentec FBRM and PVM probes the researcher can track the entire dynamic particle and droplet system in crude oil at standard operating temperatures and pressures, without sampling or sample dilution.

This paper will present several flow assurance case studies in which Lasentec and PVM are implemented to characterize the formation of crude oil emulsions, hydrate crystals, and asphaltene particles.