Crude oil plays an important role in providing the energy supply of the world, and pipelines have long been recognized as the safest and most efficient means of transporting oil and its products. However, the transportation process also faces the challenges of asphaltene-paraffin structural interactions, pipeline pressure losses and energy consumption. In order to determine the role of drag-reducing surfactant additives in the transportation of crude oils, experiments of wax deposition inhibition and drag reduction of different oil in pipelines with a biobased surfactant obtained by enzymatic syntheses were carried out. The results indicated that heavy oil transportation in the pipeline is remarkably enhanced by creating stable oil-in-water (O/W) emulsion with the surfactant additive. The wax appearance temperature (WAT) and pour point were modified, and the formation of a space-filling network of interlocking wax crystals was prevented at low temperature by adding a small concentration of the surfactant additive. A maximum viscosity reduction of 70% and a drag reduction of 40% for light crude oil flows in pipelines were obtained with the surfactant additive at a concentration of 100 mg/L. Furthermore, a successful field application of the drag-reducing surfactant in a light crude oil pipeline in Daqing Oilfield was demonstrated. Hence, the use of biobased surfactant obtained by enzymatic syntheses in oil transportation is a potential method to address the current challenges, which could result in a significant energy savings and a considerable reduction of the operating cost.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited