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Reynolds Number Is Important in Understanding Wax Deposition

Topics: Flow assurance

Comprehension of the mechanisms that influence wax deposition in oil-production systems has not yet been achieved fully. Given the absence of a theory able to explain the evolution and characteristics of these deposits, the resulting production limitation is one of the main issues in flow assurance. This paper investigates the influence of the Reynolds number on wax deposition.

Introduction

Several numerical models and experiments have been conducted to understand wax deposition in flowlines. A typical experiment consists of injecting a heated solution (wax dissolved in a solvent) through a test section with one of its surfaces kept at a colder temperature than the wax appearance temperature (WAT). As the fluid temperature is reduced below the WAT, the first wax crystals appear, initiating deposit growth.

Typically, oil flow in production lines is turbulent. As the Reynolds number increases, deposit thickness decreases. Experiments have shown that composition changes with time, with the increase of shear stress (higher Reynolds numbers) resulting in deposits with higher percentages of solids.

In this work, an enthalpy/porosity model was coupled with a kinetic energy/specific dissipation (κ/w) turbulence model to allow an investigation of this flow regime. The outer pipe is maintained at a constant high temperature equal to the inlet temperature, and the inner pipe is cooled.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper OTC 28053, “Reynolds Number Influence on Wax Deposition,” by R.C. Albagli, Petrobras, and L.B. Souza and A.O. Nieckele, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, prepared for the 2017 Offshore Technology Conference Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, 24–26 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2017 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Reynolds Number Is Important in Understanding Wax Deposition

01 November 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 11

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