Deterring Aggregation of Asphaltenes to Prevent Clogging of Crude Oil Pipelines

Opportunity

Available for Licensing

IP Status

US Utility Patent Pending (Not Yet Published)

Inventors

Mortaza Derakhshani Molayouselfi
Martin McCullagh

At A Glance

​Researchers at Colorado State University have developed methods to decrease the occurrence of Asphaltene aggregation in crude oil pipelines.  Asphaltene aggregation is estimated to clog more than 72,000 miles of pipeline in the U.S. alone – creating not only huge economic burden, but also devastating environmental impacts during cleaning or repair.  

Methods here include proprietary algorithms to identify appropriate aggregation inhibitors (both natural or synthetic) or combinations thereof.  For more details, please contact our office.

Licensing Director

Mandana Ashouri
Mandana.Ashouri@colostate.edu
970-491-7100

Reference No.:  19-056

Background

​Asphaltenes are macromolecules indigenous to crude oil known to be responsible for forming deposits in pipelines and other petroleum industry equipment via aggregation.  The deposition of these solids can have drastic and negative impact on the oil flow through these pipes.  Billions of dollars are spent annually to clean up asphaltene-clogged pipelines and other petroleum industry equipment.  There are various methods of cleaning clogged pipelines such as replacing the equipment, pulse pressurizing pipelines and chemical treatments – but none of these methods lead to prevention.

The ability to decrease aggregation can lead to modified oil extraction and production processes that will minimize asphaltene deposition and subsequently minimize economic and environmental consequences.  

Figure 1  – Depicts common asphaltene deposition within a pipeline.

Benefits
  • Method utilizes natural components of crude oil
  • Decreases potential of pipeline shutdowns due to clogging
Applications
  • Oil industry – lower the intensity of the aggregation in crudes that cause sever clogging
Publications 

Derakhshani-Molayouselfi, Mortaza, and Martin McCullagh. “The Effect of Resins on the Aggregation Behavior of Asphaltenes.” APS March Meeting 2018, American Physical Society, 2018, meetings.aps.org/link/BAPS.2018.MAR.L02.8.

Last updated: May 2020

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