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Sunflower oil can be used to prevent corrosion

The development of a hybrid inhibition of corrosion and gas hydrate formation in offshore oil and gas fields is the main object of this study. Sunflower oil was an inexpensive and environmentally friendly resource for synthesizing a dual-function inhibitor to prevail incompatibility difficulty between anti-hydrate and anti-corrosion reagents.

Gas hydrate blockages commonly cause severe problems to oil & gas transport pipelines, processing facilities, and deepwater drilling. It impedes hydrocarbon flow and even exposes personnel safety in danger.

There are various ways to deal with gas hydrate plugs. The most common and simplest one is to cut them out. But this method has many drawbacks, is extremely ineffective, unsafe, and has long been outdated. Inhibitors have replaced his technology. However, all existing inhibitors have different side effects: some are environmentally unsafe, others are too expensive.

Thus, scientists at the Kazan University with colleagues from Russian Oil and Gas University, Shahid Beheshti University (Iran), and the University of Isfahan (Iran) opted for a budget-friendly, affordable and biodegradable product. They found that sunflower oil will help avoid complications (gas hydrates and corrosion) during oil and gas production.

Unique reagents found in sunflower oil have high efficiency. They can prevent freezing in wells when producing hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic.

Scientists are planning to apply inhibitors developed on its basis in harsh Arctic conditions.

Research Associate Abdolreza Farhadian said, “We found that sunflower oil can be modified in several ways, and many molecules can be synthesized from it. The presence of alkyl chains in its structure can improve hydrate inhibition. Sunflower oil-based molecules can easily degrade due to the presence of ester groups in their structure.”

“When it comes to working in offshore fields, it is impossible to ignore environmental issues, bearing in mind that the components should not be toxic. Therefore, scientists’ task was not only to ensure the effectiveness of the inhibitor but also to ensure environmental safety for the aquatic environment and its inhabitants.”

Head of Hydrocarbon Research at KFU Mikhail Varfolomeev said, “When we were developing this reagent, we were looking for a basis for the synthesis of molecules that would be the least toxic, biodegradable, and paid attention to natural compounds, primarily natural oils. From the point of view of chemistry, it was sunflower oil that interested us. First, it allows its structure to implement exactly the synthesis method that we have invented. Secondly, sunflower oil is just a natural product, non-toxic, and biodegradable. Exactly what we need.”

Co-author, Senior Research Associate Andrey Stoporev, said, “It should be noted that the new sunflower oil-based inhibitor also allows the simultaneous killing of two birds with one stone – gas hydrates and pipeline corrosion. In the presence of such complications in oil and gas production, the proposed multifunctional inhibitors can be more effective than reagent mixtures used in the industry.”

Journal Reference:
  1. Abdolreza Farhadian et al. Toward a bio-based hybrid inhibition of gas hydrate and corrosion for flow assurance. DOI: 10.1016/j.energy.2020.118549

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