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Using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to Measure Emulsion Properties In Water In Oil Emulsions during Methane Hydrate Formation

Clint P. Aichele1, Waylon House2, George J. Hirasaki1, and Walter G. Chapman3. (1) Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University, 6100 Main St. (MS 362), Houston, TX 77005-1892, (2) Texas Tech, 2500 Broadway, Lubbock, TX 79409, (3) Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, MS-362, Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005

Water in oil emulsions are of particular significance regarding methane hydrate blockages during crude oil production. Specifically, the drop size distribution of the emulsion, and the relationship between drop size and methane hydrate formation are important. This work utilizes nuclear magnetic resonance to measure the amount of water converted to hydrate, drop size distributions, and the one dimensional spatial distribution of the components in the emulsions. Nuclear magnetic resonance is particularly useful for these systems because it is not constrained by the optical properties of the samples, and it considers the entire emulsion. Drop size distributions are obtained for both crude oil and model oil systems using the pulsed field gradient with diffusion editing (PFG-DE) technique. This technique is useful for measuring drop size distributions because it does not assume a form of the drop size distribution. Transverse relaxation measurements are used to directly measure the conversion of water to methane hydrate. One dimensional imaging measurements yield quantitative information about the spatial distribution of components in the emulsions. These measurements provide quantitative information that describes the structure of the water droplet during methane hydrate formation. In addition, this work provides useful information about the relationship between water in oil emulsions and methane hydrate formation.