In general, the pour point of a liquid is a value describing the lowest temperature at which the liquid is flowable and pumpable. Each component of the crude oil has its own pour point. Once the crude oil or one of the end products reaches its specific pour point, it can not be pumped through the pipes anymore. The management of the crude oil flow is a complex issue, which can be facilitated by lowering the pour point.
To avoid the crude reaching its pour point there are to possible methods. The first, obvious one, is to apply heat, which ensures the transport of the crude through the pipe. The second method is to add costly chemicals called PPD (Pour Point Depressant).
Despite all effort, from time to time the ambient temperature causes a temperature fall in the crude and the oil stops flowing. Especially offshore this is a feared problem as the sea temperature is not always predictable and can not be controlled. As long as the crude flows, its temperature stays more or less stable. The time needed to pass the part of the pipe under the sea is too short, to decrease the temperature significantly. Only if the constant flow is disrupted, the risk of thickening is high. If this happens, the cleaning of the pipe with chemicals can get very costly and often is the only possibility to free the pipe of set crude to continue the production.
Lowering the Pour Point with Merus
What sounds like a miracle is a positive side effect of Merus Technology. In practice, we made the experience that after installing a Merus Ring, the pour point of crude oil and its components is lowered. The Merus Technology facilitates the effect of the PPD and therefore improves their efficiency.
The observation could be proved by analyzing the data before and after the installation. This specific effect works hand in hand with what Merus can do concerning waxing and viscosity. For us, it is not possible to predict, to which degree the pour point will be lowered in your individual case. Nevertheless, data shows, that we are able to wide the natural limits and reduce the risk of a blocked pipe under the natural circumstances (temperature fluctuations, unsteady flow of crude).
Less Heat and reduced PPD
After installing the Merus Rings we advise our customers not to change the added heat and PPD. After some time both parameters can be reduced little by little. This approach ensures a stable production at all times.
We have equipped flow lines of several kilometers length. The pipeline had to be heated at three different points. After the installation of the Merus Ring the heating was slowly reduced until we and the customer were sure that the flow would stay stable without any heating. Even as the ambient temperature fell below the critical point, known as the pour point. The estimated „new“ pour point was 10-15% less than the „original“ one for this type of crude.
Furthermore, the efficiency of the PPD was increased by approx. 30%. This was calculated as savings through the installation of a Merus Ring.