Abstract

The oil and gas production in deeper water scenarios (e.g. pre-salt) has been increasing due to the growth in industrial production. The exploration fields under more severe conditions is accompanied by concerns about solid precipitation/deposition and hydrate formation. Transient operations, involving shut-in and restart is the most challenging scenario with risk for hydrate problem. The residence time of the production fluids associated to the rate of heat loss to the ambient seabed during the period of shut-in may increase the potential risk of hydrate blockage. This work is focused on understanding the hydrate formation, breakup, agglomeration and deposition, reproducing the shut-in and restart conditions in a lab-scale. Experiments were performed using a high pressure cell coupled to a rheometer using a custom-designed impeller and a rocking cell experiments with visual capabilities. A two-phase (water and gas) and three-phase (water, oil and gas) systems were used in the experiments. Also, the impact of the shear applied at restart on the hydrate morphology was evaluated. The viscoelastic behavior was observed in most shut-in and restart tests. Understanding the mechanism of hydrate formation and agglomeration during transient conditions may help to develop strategies to avoid hydrate plugging and allow the formation of a hydrate slurry yielding flowable conditions.

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