Gas hydrates, waxes and asphaltenes represent some of the most significant flow assurance challenges, especially in subsea lines, where treatment options can be limited. Currently, complete avoidance is the primary strategy for hydrate management, while chemical or mechanical flushing/pigging may be utilized for other solids. Each system must also be treated with individualized solutions, as there have been no proved one-size-fits-all technologies demonstrated to date. As an alternative to constant chemical injection or thermodynamic controls such as insulation or heating, a robust omniphobic surface treatment material has been developed which has been shown in previous studies to significantly reduce the adhesion of flow assurance solids, resulting in lower risk for deposition and plugging of gas hydrates, waxes, and asphaltenes. As part of a Department of Energy study, laboratory scale tests were performed on a variety of apparatuses ranging from micromechanical force (micron scale) to laboratory flow loop testing (meter scale). While the results from these tests have been promising, there can be some disconnects between lab-scale observations and field-scale testing.

Several factors can result in discrepancies between small-scale bench-top studies and deployment-scale efforts. These include flow conditions (Reynolds number, flow regime), chemistry (synthetic vs. crude oils, gas composition, and additives), physical differences (pipeline material, size, and geometry), etc. This work will describe the actions taken to better understand the deployment and performance of a material such as this omniphobic surface treatment in field scenarios, and to build confidence for deployment in a production scenario. These efforts include modeling field production scenarios using models developed from lab observations, application of the material to field-scale equipment to better understand application challenges, and expanded survivability and longevity testing. Understanding the bridge between laboratory testing and full-scale deployment allows for better technique and risk mitigation for field scale testing.

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