This paper is to represent reviews of low dosage hydrate inhibitor's (LDHI) evolution and advances, and to provide a general guide for LDHI considerations, historically, hydrate risk has been managed by keeping the fluids warm, removing water, and/or by injecting thermodynamic hydrate inhibitors (THI), commonly methanol or glycol. THIs require high dosage rate therefore production systems can reach a treatment limited by supply, storage, and umbilical injection constraints. Besides, high dosage of MeOH can cause crude contamination for downstream refineries, which may result in penalty.
Over last two decades LDHIs have been extensively researched and developed as an alternative hydrate management chemical for oil and gas industry. LDHIs are divided into two main categories; Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitor (KHI) and Anti-Agglomerant (AA), both have been successfully used in field applications, but each comes with their unique challenges for applications, OPEX and CAPEX considerations. LDHIs have proven track records in numerous fields in their performance, either as stand-alone chemical treatment or reducing amounts of methanol/glycol usage, which has directly resulted in CAPEX and OPEX reduction. LDHIs have been instrumental in managing risks of early water breakthrough, high cost of THI storage and transportation, HSSE concerns around THI handling, and undersized pump capacity for required chemical volumes. Switching to LDHIs also offers an economic advantage by reducing umbilical line diameter. Latest advances in the LDHI technology is breaking barriers and pushing limits.
The paper summarizes historical advancements in LDHIs over the last two decades, discusses application advantages and limitations, and the criterions to consider for selecting LDHIs.