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Research Papers: Petroleum Transport/Pipelines/Multiphase Flow

An Experimental Study on Wax Removal in Pipes With Oil Flow

[+] Author and Article Information
Qian Wang, Cem Sarica, Michael Volk

 The University of Tulsa, 600 South College Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74104

J. Energy Resour. Technol 130(4), 043001 (Nov 06, 2008) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3000136 History: Received February 15, 2008; Revised September 23, 2008; Published November 06, 2008

Pigging is recognized as one of the most used techniques for removing wax deposits in pipelines. In an earlier paper, the mechanics of wax removal was studied using an experimental setup under dry conditions, i.e., no oil presence. In this study, the pigging experiments are conducted for both regular disk and by-pass disk pigs under flowing conditions. A new test facility was designed and constructed. The test section is 6.1 m (20 ft) long schedule 40 steel pipe with an inner diameter of 0.0762 m (3 in.). A mixture of commercial wax and mineral oil is cast inside the spool pieces for different wax thicknesses and oil contents. The wax breaking and plug transportation forces are investigated separately. The results indicated that the wax breaking force increases as wax thickness increases, and the wax plug transportation force gradient is independent of the wax plug length. In comparison to previous test results, the presence of oil reduced the wax plug transportation force. Experimental results also showed that the wax transport behavior of the by-pass pig is significantly different than that of the regular pig. The by-pass pig allows the oil to flow through the by-pass holes and mobilizes the removed wax in front of the pig resulting in no discernible wax accumulation in front of the pig. Therefore, no measurable transportation force was observed for the by-pass pig tests.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of the test facility

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Figure 2

Schematic of the test section

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Figure 4

Base line pressure for a regular pig

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Figure 5

Base line pressure for a by-pass pig

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Figure 6

Breaking force using a regular pig for 70% oil content

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Figure 7

Breaking force using a regular pig for 50% oil content

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Figure 8

Breaking force using a regular pig for 30% oil content

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Figure 9

Breaking force versus oil content at different thicknesses (regular pig)

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Figure 10

Transportation pressure data for 70% oil content

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Figure 11

Transportation pressure data for 50% oil content

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Figure 12

Transportation pressure data for 30% oil content

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Figure 13

Pressure per unit length versus oil content at different plug lengths

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Figure 14

Comparison of breaking force for regular pig and by-pass pig

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Figure 15

Comparison of breaking force for present test with previous data

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Figure 16

Comparison of transportation force for present test with previous data

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