Research Area: Future Development and Operations

Next-generation wax inhibitors for the oil and gas industry

Project Number: 6601
Project Duration: 1. January 2015 - 31. December 2017

Project Director: Kristofer Paso, NTNU

Division Head: Kjetil Skaugset


Heavy crude oils often contain waxes that can form large, volume spanning networks upon crystallization, effectively forming a strong gel that inhibits flow in pipelines even at relatively low wax contents. This is avoided during normal flow by the continuous breakdown of this gel network under flow, but during operational stops this gel network can result in a serious restart problem.

The object of this project is developing new mechanism for wax inhibition in heavy oils by morphological modification of silica nanoparticles, trying to avoid major reliance on chemical modification and toxic chemicals. The major benefits of this new technology include low dosage rates, environmental friendliness by keeping the nanoparticles in the oil phase, and potential reuse of the nanoparticles. The nanoparticles should work by optimizing entropic repulsion and modifying wax crystallization.

The project uses rheology, differential scanning calorimetry and quartz crystal microbalance to evaluate nano-particle formulation effect and effectiveness on waxy oil gels, and aims to further evaluate the environmental impact of using such nano-particles on produce water, emulsions and sustainability of the formulations.


Yang, F., et al., Hydrophilic Nanoparticles Facilitate Wax Inhibition. Energy & Fuels, 2015. 29(3): p. 1368-1374.

Yao, B., et al., Organically modified nano-clay facilitates pour point depressing activity of polyoctadecylacrylate. Fuel, 2016. 166: p. 96-105.

PostDoc: Jens Norrman

E-mail: jens.norrman@ntnu.no
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