Despite a global move towards more renewable energy sources, oil and gas production will also continue for many decades. During the production phase of oil, many chemicals are added to the well stream to prevent a range of problems such as corrosion and flow line deposits such as gas hydrates, scale, wax and asphaltenes. The oil and gas industry has strived for many years to develop green chemicals that have little or no acute and chronic environmental impact. However, so far chemicals that are greener suffer from low performance, high cost, and various incompatibilities with the production system. Some chemical recycling technologies based on solvent extraction have been proposed, but none have yet been used in the field.
The main objective of this project is to investigate for the first time the use of revolutionary environmental nanotechnology to prevent oilfield flow assurance problems, using a simple, cost-effective method for treating the produced fluids for a variety of production problems and removing the production chemicals from the produced fluids. This method is unique as it will give ZERO environmental impact from oilfield operations.
The need for green oilfield production has grown considerably in the last two decades in light of our understanding of environmental issues. Many oilfield chemistry fouling (flow assurance) problems occur, such as corrosion, gas hydrates and scale. A major problem of most of the chemicals used to avoid these problems is that they are not environmentally friendly, either due to acute or chronic toxicity or low biodegradability.
The main project described herein will consist on three large work packages, which will focus on design, synthesis, characterization, and application of novel environmentally friendly polymer-capped nanoparticles in the oil and gas industry. We will design and test new magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs), known to be non-toxic, that can be used to treat oilfield production problems and yet be fully recyclable, thus avoiding environmental pollution to the sea. All new MNPs will be analyzed by different techniques such as transmission electron spectroscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering particle size analysis. In addition, studies of the biodegradation and ecotoxicology of all synthesized MNPs is essential to approve our aim, which the development of green oilfield production. Furthermore, we propose that the new environmentally-friendly nanoparticles incorporating polymers (e.g. PVP and PVCap) will be tested for THF hydrate crystal growth inhibition and Structures (I) and (II) gas hydrate inhibitor performance in high-pressure rocking cell and compared to some commercial KHIs. We will also investigate the new MNPs as scale inhibitors effective for barium sulfate, calcium carbonate and sulfides scale inhibition at a variety of temperatures and produced water conditions. Scale inhibition efficiency of oilfield scale is normally measured by Dual Scale Rig equipment to determine the minimum inhibitor concentration (MIC). Finally, removal and recycling of the MNPs will be investigated using various magnetic devices.