Dilution Strategies for Wax Management and Control for Deepwater Development from a Flow Assurance Perspective: Part I - Current Practice and Perspective
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Oils with high wax content may cause pipeline plugging and deterioration of equipment, resulting in production shutdowns and economic losses. At present, various mechanical, thermal and chemical methods are used for wax management, however these methods can cause additional problems and can be very expensive. Dilution can be used as an alternative or can be combined with current wax-management methods. This paper identifies dilution strategies for a range of waxy crudes from different oil producing regions of the world. Prevention and control of wax deposits by blending heavy fractions of oil with lighter fractions is achieved with tools currently available in the industry. Mixing rules and blending correlations to suppress the wax appearance temperature (WAT) can be developed. A database of fluids with a range of wax contents from different regions of the world was created and used in this analysis. A way forward in modeling, control, and remediation is proposed, and possible areas of further research and development are identified. Expensive thermal and chemical solutions are currently required to produce fluids with high wax content in deep-and ultra deep-water field developments. The results are promising. Unique flow-assurance solutions can be achieved by addition of diluent. Injecting 6 to 23 MSCF Lift gas/1000 bbl crude in low GOR fluids can achieve a WAT reduction of 6 to 7°F. Other diluents evaluated demonstrated that with ratios of 0.5 - 4 bbls of diluent/1000 bbls of crude, a WAT reduction of 6-13°F could be achieved. Copyright 2004, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.
author list (cited authors)
Singh, A., Benavides, M. S., Saint Marcoux, J., & Barrufet, M. A.