Hydrate Formation of Water Droplets in Hydrocarbon Phase

Prasad Karanjkar, Chem Eng, The City College of New York, 140th St and Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031, Jeff Morris, Department of Chemical Engineering, Benjamin Levich Institute, 140th St and Convent Ave, Steinman Hall, # 1M, New York, NY 10031, and Jae W. Lee, Department of Chemical Engineering, The City College of New York, 140th street and Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031.

Blockage of transport pipelines due to hydrate formation is a major concern for many gas and oil companies. Gas hydrates are solid crystalline compounds with small molecules entrapped in cavities inside cages formed by water molecules. These species are stable at low temperatures and high pressures. When deep-sea fields are explored, the problem of blockage formation becomes severe and may lead to shutdown of an entire operation. We study this problem by observing the system characteristics at lab scale for oil-dominated systems. Rheology combined with phase change and microstructure is used for characterizing physical properties of water-in-oil (w/o) emulsions, as flow assurance tools. Rheological characterization of w/o emulsions, containing a hydrate former cyclopentane in an oil phase, is done under hydrate forming conditions. Effect of hydrate formation on the emulsion properties and the effect of wax formation from an oil phase are also discussed. Morphology of these emulsions is a very important parameter in the whole study. Visualization of a water drop development (suspended in an oil phase) under hydrate forming conditions is also discussed. The effect of shear on hydrate film development and the mass transfer of hydrating forming species to the water drop surface will be discussed.