Experimental Study of Wax Deposition in a Single Phase Sub-Cooled Pipelines

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Adeyanju, O.
Oyekunle, L.
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Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
The ability to determine the severity of wax deposition is an extremely important issue, particularly in the design and development of deepwater oilfields. Though much progress has been made in the last decades to better the understanding of this complex process, yet the ability to accurately account for all the factors that affect wax deposition are currently not in existence in the wax simulators used presently in the industries. In this study an experimental methodology constructed to simulate wax deposition process was employed to investigate the influence factors controlling paraffin wax deposition to the pipe wall surface (namely, inlet oil temperature, inlet coolant temperature, oil flow rate and the wax content). Series of tests were designed to determine the effects of these influence factors on the wax content in the deposit. The experimental results revealed that the amount of wax deposited initially increases with time, attained a maximum value and gradually erode off. Also it was discovered that the wax deposition decreases with flow rates and also with the temperature difference between the flowing oil and the pipe wall, when the oil temperature is above its Wax Appearance Temperature (WAT), while the reverse is the case when the oil temperature is below its WAT. The study also established that shear dispersion, defined as the movement of wax crystals towards the pipe wall as a result of the velocity variation along the radial direction during oil flow in the pipe ignored in most of the existing models used in the existing wax deposition commercial codes was found not to be inconsequential. The flow rate rather than the flow regime was also discovered to responsible for the shear stripping of wax deposit at the wall. This experimental observation will provide a reference point and an insight for further study on wax deposition in actual pipelines. This is particularly so for oil characterized by high wax content and high gel point temperature like those produced from most fields in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.
Staff publications
Wax appearance tempreture , Flow assurance , Molecular diffusion , Flow loop , Coolant tempreture , Research Subject Categories::TECHNOLOGY::Chemical engineering
Adeyanju, O.A. and Oyekunle, L.O. (2013). Experimental Study of Wax Deposition in a Single Phase Sub-Cooled Pipelines. Journal of Advances in Petroleum Engineering Sciences (ASPES), 5(2).