JIP: Improved Mechanisms of Asphaltene Deposition, Precipitation and Fouling to Minimize Irregularities in Production and Transport (NFR PETROMAKS) 2014 – 2017

Asphaltenes represent heavy polar colloidal fraction in crude oils. Due to pressure variation, processing and production conditions of different crude oils, asphaltenes can precipitate and form organic deposits in oil reservoirs, in wells and on equipment and pipe walls and induce fouling in general. These deposits can cause serious and costly irregularities in production and transport of oil. Several models have been proposed to explain these irregularities but they all suffer from inaccurate asphaltene chemistry. It is by now evident that in order to fully understand and account for the above-mentioned phenomena, the effect of the polydisperse functionality of the asphaltenes must be understood.

In order to follow up the objective, the project will combine small scale tests both at atmospheric and elevated pressures, modelling and capillary loop tests. Finally based on the accumulated knowledge, chemical modifications together with inhibitors will be developed in order to minimize the molecular affinity to pipe surfaces and their interactions in solution.

This project is a collaborative effort between the Ugelstad laboratory, University of Alberta (Canada), University of Pau (France), University of Paraná (Brazil) and several industrial partners.

 

JIP1: Increased Energy Savings in Water-Oil Separation Through Advanced Fundamental Emulsion Paradigms (NFR PETROMAKS) 2011 – 2013

The goal of the project is to advance fundamental knowledge of the water-oil separation process in order to make it more energy efficient and energy saving. The focus will be on accelerating the processing of high volumes of water and viscous oil by speeding-up the sub-processes of creaming and sedimentation of existing emulsions in the first stage. The second stage involves the treatment of concentrated w/o or o/w emulsions. This program is a continuation of two previous JIP projects run in the past 6 years which were focused on an improvement of understanding of the stabilizing and destabilizing mechanisms of water-in crude oil emulsions based on heavy and particle-rich crude oils and also on the modeling (start-up, rheology and separation).



This project is a collaborative effort between the Ugelstad laboratory, University of Alberta, University of Bergen, IFE and several international partners.


 

Participants:
Akzo Nobel
BP
Champion Technologies
Hamworthy

ENI

Kemira

Saudi Aramco
Statoil
Shell
Total
 

Principal Investigator:
• Prof. J. Sjöblom

Researchers:
• Sebastien Simon
• Serkan Kelesoglu
• Brian A. Grimes

Ph.D. Student:

• Andreas L. Nenningsland
• Karina Kovalchuk

• Albert Barrabino

 

 

JIP2-4: Prediction of Ca-naphthenate deposition in Water-oil systems (2011-2013)

During the past years, extensive work has focused towards naphthenate precipitation from acidic crude oil. Due to a rise in crude pH, the naphthenic acids dissociate and react with divalent cations, especially calcium. These compounds accumulate at the oil/water interface and might cause costly shutdowns. It has been discovered that the key components responsible for the formation of such deposits is a group of molecules having four carboxylic acid groups named Tetra-acids.

This program is a continuation of two previous JIP projects run in the past 6 years. Several key elements about calcium naphthenate were identified. Procedures and methods were developed as well which give the JIP members a technological lead in the naphthenate treatment. The continuation of the project, JIP2-4, was developed towards the establishment of a model predicting calcium naphthenate deposition in oil/water system based on interfacial conditions together with advanced techniques to detect calcium naphthenate formation in an early stage (on a nanogram scale). To fulfil this goal, techniques developed in the previous JIP:2 programs will be used along with new techniques especially developed for the JIP:2-4 program. We intend to establish critical conditions for gel formation.

This project is a collaborative effort between the Ugelstad laboratory and several international partners.
 

Participants:
Champion Technologies

• Clariant
ConocoPhilips Inc.

ENI

Petrobras

REP

Shell

 

 

Statoil
Talisman
Total

 

 

Principal Investigator:
• Prof. J. Sjöblom

 

Researchers:
• Sebastien Simon
• Brian A. Grimes

Ph.D. Student:
• Karina Kovalchuk

 

Multiphase Flow Assurance Innovation Centre (FACE) - Centre for Research-Based Innovation (CRI) application 2006-2014

An increasing fraction of hydrocarbon reserves are difficult or impossible to produce and process today mainly due to the complexity of the fluids. Production of these reserves will require new and innovative technologies. FACE will develop the knowledge base for the new predictive tools that will be essential in order to develop the new, innovative production solutions. It is expected that new SMB's will be generated based on knowledge and technology from the centre as well as development of new or improved products in existing companies.

The research is focused on transport and separation aspects of three thematic topics, i.e. heavy crude oils, dispersed systems (emulsions), and solid particulate suspensions (hydrates, wax, sand and fines). Fluid characterization is a central tool to describe complex fluids within the three thematic topics and a necessary input to hydrodynamic modeling.

We will use existing laboratories to perform both small-scale and high-pressure, large-scale flow experiments in pipes and separators. These experiments will be accompanied by multidimensional model development and their verification.
 

Participants:
Ugelstad Laboratory
SINTEF
Institute for Energy Technology (IFE)
University of Oslo

Principal Investigator:
• Prof. J. Sjöblom

Researchers:
• Sebastien Simon
• Serkan Kelesoglu

Ph.D. Student:
• Mehdi Benmekhbi

 

Produced Water Management – Fundamental Understanding of the Fluids (2010-2014)

Good practical expertise in PW management exits among the oil and gas producers and in the related vendor industry. However, most of the expertise has been gained through trial-and-error approaches to solve field specific problems. There is a clear lack of fundamental understanding on the microscopic and molecular level with respect to the mechanisms that govern separation efficiency of dispersed components and the injectivity of the PW fluids.

The overall objective in this project is to provide a tool for industrial companies involved in PW management in terms of fundamental knowledge of interaction properties between dispersed components (oil/solids/gas) present in PW streams.
 

Participants:
Ugelstad Laboratory, NTNU

ConocoPhillips Inc.
Statoil
Total
ENI
Schlumberger Norge AS Division M-I EPCON
 

Principal Investigator:
• Prof. Gisle Øye
 

Personell:
• Mona Eftekhardadkhan
• Dr. Bartlomiej Gawel

 


Shut-in and Restart of Waxy Crude Pipelines: Software Module Development (2010-2013)


Waxy oil is commonly found on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and elsewhere. Production through sub-sea pipelines must at times be stopped, and these fluids will then tend to form a gel-like structure. It is thus essential to design and operate the pipeline such that restart is possible. It has been observed that when the inlet pressure is increased it can take days for the gel to start moving. No model can accurately predict this process, and it is recognized in the industry that this is a gap in their design tools. In order to address this, a major project is jointly initiated by the Ugelstad Laboratory at NTNU and IFE at Kjeller. They are internationally leading centers on properties of complex fluids and on multiphase pipeline transport, respectively. Detailed rheological measurements will be done on gelled oil properties and on the removal of gelled oil from a pipeline. A model will be developed to encapsulate a physical understanding of the gel-breakage process into a simulation tool. It will account for chemicals injected to reduce wax formation, and thus enable optimal use of these. This model will finally be condensed to a useful tool for engineers designing production pipelines. It will fit with the industry standard simulation tool for transport of gas, oil and water in pipelines. The primary objective is to develop a software module which enables hydrodynamic predictions of shut-in and restart processes in multiphase petroleum pipelines with waxy oil. An additional focus of the project will be to develop new chemical additives, including pour point depressants, yield point depressants, and wax dispersants, for use in gelled pipeline restart applications.

 

Participants:
Ugelstad Laboratory
Institute for Energy Technology (IFE)
Champion Technologies
Statoil
BASF
Petronas
Petrobras

Principal Investigator:
• Dr. Kristofer Paso

Researcher:
• Dr. Brian A. Grimes

 


Materials/Nanotechnology Related Projects


Interfaces as 2D Folding Templates for Polypeptides 2009-2013

Interaction of dissolved proteins with nanomaterials and interfaces is essential for a wide range of applications, ranging from reduction of biofouling via biosensing and enzymatic catalysis to targeted intracellular drug delivery. An understanding of the underlying mechanisms and adsorption kinetics is therefore crucial to the design of new smart materials which can be used to control protein deposition and delivery. Protein-surface and protein-protein interactions are determined by chemical and physical factors such as electrostatic forces, curvature, hydrophobic interactions and steric constraints. This in turn leaves an abundance of possibilities for manipulation of these surfaces, enabling interaction studies with biological membrane mimics and various delivery vehicles (e.g., Au nanoparticles, liposomes).

Figure: Emergent membrane-affecting properties of BSA–gold nanoparticle constructs

Gold nanoparticles possess unique optical and surface properties and represent promising materials as e.g. drug delivery vectors, biomarkers and folding templates for proteins. The conformation of the protein dictates protein function and interaction with interfaces, and as such manipulation of the protein-fold might invoke emergent properties useful for improved understanding and potential treatment of protein misfolding diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Adsorption of bovine serum albumin (BSA) onto gold nanoparticles (Aunps) results in partial unfolding of the protein. The resulting BSA–Aunp constructs induce miscibility with phospholipid monolayer films, a trait not seen for BSA or Aunps alone, as well as disruption of liquid crystalline domains in the film. These protein-Aunp constructs might improve interaction with cell membranes and hence intracellular delivery.

Participants:
Ugelstad Laboratory, NTNU
Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB
Dept. of Chemistry, F&M College
Dept. of Chem. Eng, Osaka Prefecture University

Principal Investigator:
• Dr. Wilhelm R. Glomm

Ph.D. student:
• Sina Maria Lystvet