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Frontiers in Energy >> 2022, Volume 16, Issue 5 doi: 10.1007/s11708-022-0830-z

Mechanism and control factors of hydrate plugging in multiphase liquid-rich pipeline flow systems: a review

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There is nothing illogical in the concept that hydrates are easily formed in oil and gas pipelines owing to the low-temperature and high-pressure environment, although requiring the cooperation of flow rate, water content, gas-liquid ratio, and other specific factors. Therefore, hydrate plugging is a major concern for the hydrate slurry pipeline transportation technology. In order to further examine potential mechanisms underlying these processes, the present paper listed and analyzed the significant research efforts specializing in the mechanisms of hydrate blockages in the liquid-rich system, including oil-based, water-based, and partially dispersed systems (PD systems), in gathering and transportation pipelines. In addition, it summarized the influences of fluid flow and water content on the risk of hydrate blockage and discussed. In general, flow rate was implicated in the regulation of blockage risk through its characteristic to affect sedimentation tendencies and flow patterns. Increasing water content can potentiate the growth of hydrates and change the oil-water dispersion degree, which causes a transition from completely dispersed systems to PD systems with a higher risk of clogging. Reasons of diversity of hydrate plugging mechanism in oil-based system ought to be studied in-depth by combining the discrepancy of water content and the microscopic characteristics of hydrate particles. At present, it is increasingly necessary to expand the application of the hydrate blockage formation prediction model in order to ensure that hydrate slurry mixed transportation technology can be more maturely applied to the natural gas industry transportation field.

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