Asphaltene Deposition

Production blockages and pressure loss can be caused by a variety of debris, including scale, paraffin, asphaltenes, and hydrates. All of these sources lead to negative impacts like production loss, downtime, equipment repairs, and other costly issues. Asphaltenes are one of the most common concerns for operators.

Asphaltenes precipitate out of petroleum fluids under a variety of relatively common conditions. As petroleum fluids are extracted from reservoirs, depressurization causes asphaltene precipitation, ultimately resulting in deposition along pipe walls. Lengthy and costly shutdowns are required to restore full flow capability to the operation, and deposits can often only be removed through injection of large amounts of aromatic solvents; an incredibly costly remediation due to the amount of chemicals required.

DragX has been rigorously tested with respected pipeline operators and consistently demonstrates high performance in varying deployment conditions.  Performance in crude oil lines with asphaltene presence was specifically studied at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) Center for Hydrate Research, in conjunction with the NETL, for anti-hydrate plugging performance.

The DragX nanotechnology was proven to outperform previous hydrocarbon pipeline coating solutions. DragX demonstrated that it repelled asphaltenes in crude oil deposition at a far better rate than other super-omniphobic treatments.

Quantification of Asphaltene Deposits on Various Coupons - CSM

Quantification of Asphaltene Deposits on Various Coupons - CSM

The images to the right demonstrate the treated and untreated coupons tested by CSM. The graph above visualizes the data of deposited solid mass on the coupons.

While pipeline operators continue to seek technologies that control deposition and provide flow assurance, in-situ-applied epoxy coatings have been an industry last resort. In testing at CSM, DragX was shown that it can be a frontline solution. DragX vastly outperformed other tested treatments and the control (uncoated) pipe in repulsion of asphaltenes in crude oil.

There was a remarkable visual difference observed in toluene wash solutions from an uncoated substrate versus a DragX-treated substrate. The dark, opaque color of the left picture below indicates higher amounts of deposited materials. The translucent, light-colored picture on the right shows that far less debris was able to deposit on the tested substrate when DragX was applied.

DragX ensures optimal performance and decreased down time for hydrocarbon pipelines while saving operators significant amounts of money when compared to past solutions.

Static Asphaltene Tests
DragX-Treated Coupon with Asphaltene and Crude Oil
Uncoated Coupon with Asphaltene and Crude Oil
Visual Difference Observed in Toluene Wash Solutions from Uncoated/Coated Coupons
Visual Difference Observed in Toluene Wash Solutions from Uncoated/Coated Coupons

Pressure Drop and Flow Assurance Study with the U.S. Department of Energy

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  • Demonstration with the Colorado School of Mines, in conjunction with the RPSEA program with the NETL, for anti-hydrate plugging performance.
  • Deployment with the Colorado School of Mines for asphaltene repulsion performance.
  • Field implementation in Houston, TX, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy to protect natural gas transport pipelines against corrosion and methane leakage.
  • Field Applications with major Oil & Gas operators for midstream, downstream, and chemical handling pipeline applications.
  • Field Application with water distribution test facility for reclaimed ductile iron and mortar-lined water main pipes, compatible with water quality standards and sanitization protocols (exposure to chlorine flushes).

Key benefits:

  • Improved pipeline efficiency by reducing surface friction of the pipe wall;
  • Increased flow capacity at decreased pressures for de-rated pipelines;
  • Effective for all flow regimes and products (Liquid, gas and multi-flow);
  • Increased throughput & lowered pumping power consumption;
  • Reduced need for use of costly inhibitors, or need eliminated altogether;
  • Eliminated need for continuous injection of costly chemicals;
  • Eliminated need for costly injection equipment and maintenance;
  • No adverse effects on purity of the fluids transported;
  • Protection against internal corrosion and black powder formation;
  • Faster pigging & less frequent scrapping.