Croda strengthens its Oil & Gas portfolio through latest acquisition
By Dr Clare Temple-Heald, Research & Technology Manager
January 2014, Volume 66, Issue 01
A critical part of any oilfield production processing is oil and water separation. Although some highly effective demulsifier products for this purpose have been developed for a number of production scenarios, the application of demulsifiers to “heavy” oils remains problematic. However, the work described below has led to the development of a tailored range of demulsifiers to add to the relatively small number of effective chemistries applicable across the growing demands of heavy oil production activity.
Theoretical models show that the critical parameters of how chemical demulsifiers break crude oil emulsions are associated with the rheology of the oil/water interface. The work undertaken was to determine whether such correlations are justified in real systems by measuring the rheological parameters associated with the oil/water interface and correlating them with demulsifier performance. The principle of this model was then used to design more efficient demulsifier molecules. All demulsifiers were evaluated individually for comparison and not as a demulsifier blended package.
To meet the needs of field applications, the desired demulsifiers must be very interfacially active and be able to displace the surfactants in crude oil at a use concentration as low as 10 ppm. A range of novel heavy oil demulsifiers has been developed with a wide demulsification chemistry portfolio, including resins, polymerics, and esters to optimize and further develop more efficient molecules.