(580a) Reduction of Wax & Hydrates in Deepwater Oil Pipelines Via Cold Flow
AIChE Annual Meeting
Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 12:30pm to 12:55pm
When a waxy oil/water emulsion exits a wellhead and enters a deep undersea pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico, formation of methane hydrates and precipitated wax is likely due to the high pressure and cold temperature of the surrounding sea water. If this should occur, then wax will deposit on the pipeline walls and increase corrosion, whereas hydrates have the potential to plug the pipeline and completely block the flow. In the past, these problems have been avoided by insulating the pipelines, but this approach is becoming increasingly uneconomical as the need increases for longer pipelines. In this talk, we review a new strategy called "cold flow" in which the oil exiting the wellhead is transformed into a cold slurry with controlled particle morphology before entering the pipeline.