Pipeline transportation of heavy oil has always been a challenge due to its low flowability. Subsea operations pose several operational challenges especially high temperature drop and this leads to chemistry related flow challenges like precipitation of waxes, formation of hydrates, crude oil gelation, etc.
To curb excessive heat loss, several measures are taken including: insulation, heating, etc. However, this comes at a great cost especially for long distance pipelines.
A novel technology in the field of long distance pipeline transportation is now being developed. This technology works best at high pressure and low temperature, thereby solving the problems associated with high temperature drop in subsea operations. When compared with other viscosity-reducing technologies like heating, addition of drag reducing additives, oil in water emulsion, etc, this technology has many merits such as energy conserving, environment protecting, ecological efficiency outstanding, etc. With this technology, the frequency of pigging and associated costs would reduce considerably and the need for pipe insulation and its associated costs would be very minimal.