Institute of Petroleum Engineering

Project Proposals



JIP - Flow Assurance: Hydrate Monitoring and Warning System

Start Date: November 2004
Duration: 2 years

This proposal presents a 24-month research programme with the aim of developing an online hydrate monitoring and warning system to reduce the risks of gas hydrate formation in pipelines.

Proposed Work Programme


The proposed research programme addresses the following topics:

Determining the Hydrate Safety Margin

The objective is to develop a practical method for evaluating the degree of inhibition offered by hydrate inhibitors. The developed method should be able to determine the hydrate safety margin (or lack of), for pipeline systems. This would allow assessment of whether the system is adequately inhibited against hydrate formation, and provide a warning to the operator if this is not the case. Furthermore, the methodology should be able to indicate excessive inhibitor use, thus improving the economics of hydrate inhibition strategies.

Early Warning System in Case of Initial Hydrate Formation

It is believed that, in most cases, gas hydrate build up over time is the main cause of pipeline blockage. The objective of this section of the proposed work programme is to develop techniques for detecting the initial stages of hydrate formation, giving the operator time to take corrective measures, and so preventing pipeline blockage. Initial results of work in this area are encouraging, and a patent application for newly developed technology is in progress.

Cost and Duration


Currently TOTAL, the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), Statoil, Norsk Hydro, BP, Chevron Texaco and PETRONAS are supporting the project and a number of other companies have expressed interest. We are prepared to discuss the initial results with interested parties after signing confidentiality agreement.

Costs for joining the project is £30K per company per year for a 3-year project duration. The initial commitment is for one year and the participating company can decide to discontinue project sponsorship if they wish at the end of each year.