A wax deposition scale-up model has been developed to scale-up laboratory wax deposition results for waxy crude production lines. The wax deposition model allows users to predict wax deposition profile along a cold pipeline and predict potential wax problems and pigging frequency. Consideration of the flow turbulence effect significantly increases prediction accuracy. Accurate wax deposition prediction should save capital and operation investments for waxy crude production systems.
Many wax deposition models only apply a molecular diffusion mechanism in modeling and neglect shear effect. However, the flow turbulence effect has significant impact on wax deposition and can not be neglected in wax deposition modeling. Wax deposition scale-up parameters including shear rate, shear stress, and Reynolds number have been studied. None of these parameters can be used as a scaler. Critical wax tension concept has been proposed as a scaler. A technique to scale up shear effect and then wax deposition is described. For a given oil and oil temperature, the laboratory wax deposition data can be scaled up by heat flux and flow velocity. The scale-up techniques could be applied to multiphase flow conditions.
Examples are presented in this paper to describe profiles of wax deposition and effective inside diameter along North Sea and West Africa subsea pipelines. The difference of wax deposition profiles from stock tank oil and live oil is also presented.