Offshore Europe 2011: Fluid eases solids transport through pipelines

ITF is supporting development of a new fluid for clearing offshore pipelines.

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UK – ITF is supporting development of a new fluid for clearing offshore pipelines. The fluid, produced by Pipeline Cleaning Solutions, is capable of suspending and carrying solid and liquid particles such as oil, gravel and sand.

ITF, which serves as a technology facilitator for the global oil and gas industry, has concluded a proof-of-concept study along with member companies including BP and Weatherford.

The fluid was originally developed for use in production of golf mats, which incorporate soil and sand to give an authentic divot. But the inventor also noticed the fluid’s ability to lift the sand in the mats and hold it in suspension.

Laboratory experiments showed that it could suspend and carry hydrocarbons, sand gravel and wax. ITF gave the inventor £70,000 to further development via a new test facility (via the specially-established Pipeline Cleaning Solutions), and expects to provide further funding application for a full field test.

The fluid (named UPTAKE) may also have potential for use in small and larger bore pipework, tanks and separators, and downhole. Its solid carrying capacity is said to be two and a half to three times that of gels currently used for this purpose, but it is much less viscous and therefore requires less energy to pump.

09/06/2011

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