Hydrate formation and deposition in a gas-dominant flowloop: Initial studies of the effect of velocity and subcooling

Zachary M. Aman, Mauricio Di Lorenzo Ruggeri, Karen Kozielski, Carolyn A. Koh, Pramod Warrier, Michael L. Johns, Eric F. May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


Gas hydrate formation is a critical flow assurance risk in oil and gas production, as remediation of blockages may require weeks of operating downtime and represent a significant safety hazard. While many studies over the past two decades have focused on quantifying hydrate blockage risk in crude oil systems, there is a dearth of information available with which to assess hydrate growth rate or blockage severity in natural gas systems, which typically operate between stratified and annular flow regimes. In this investigation, a single-pass gas-dominant flowloop was used to measure hydrate growth and particle deposition rates with variable liquid holdup (1–10 vol%) and subcooling (1–20 °C). A particular focus of this study was the impact of reducing the gas phase velocity to achieve lower liquid entrainment and, therefore, decrease hydrate formation rate. Reducing the gas velocity from 8.7 to 4.6 m/s at a constant subcooling around 6 °C reduced the total formation rate by a factor of six. At these conditions, the sensitivity of hydrate formation rate to velocity was about 40 times greater than the sensitivity to subcooling. This reduction in gas velocity also halved the estimated rate of hydrate deposition on the pipeline wall. Finally, new observations of hydrate wash-out are reported, whereby significant localized hydrate deposits were effectively removed by modulating the subcooling of the flowloop wall from 6 °C to 3.5 °C. The results provide new insight to inform the next generation of predictive hydrate growth and deposition models for gas-dominant flowlines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1490-1498
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


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