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DOE Oil and Gas Grants Include Coating Research

Monday, January 8, 2018

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The U.S. Department of Energy last week announced $30 million in funding to further unconventional oil and gas recovery methods, including nearly $1.5 million for research into coatings for undersea oil pipelines.

Undersea pipeline construction
© / Leonid Eremeychuk

A Colorado School of Mines team will receive more than $1.5 million in federal funding to study internal pipeline coatings that could prevent hydrate deposition.

The coatings-related grant will go to the Colorado School of Mines, where researchers will be charged with developing a coating system to prevent deposits of hydrates in the undersea pipelines.

Hydrates in Pipelines

The Department of Chemical Engineering at CSM is the home of the Center for Hydrate Research, the world’s largest research center devoted to hydrates. A team from the school presented on the topic of using low-adhesion coatings to mitigate hydrates last year at the Offshore Technology Conference.

Led by Erika Brown, that group explained that at high pressure and low temperature—such as the conditions in a deepwater pipeline—when water and natural gas molecules coexist, hydrates are likely to form, creating deposits that can restrict flow.

That research found that internal pipeline coatings could be a potential solution in situations with low water content, allowing hydrates to form but preventing them from depositing on the inside of the pipeline.

The research being funded by the DOE aims to identify coatings that can be applied in situ to existing flowlines in order to mitigate hydrate deposition and assure flow. The DOE is providing $1.48 million in funding for the project, with $374,000 in support coming from other federal sources, bringing the total funding for the research to $1.87 million.

Cement Research

Other research being funded by this round of grants includes work by C-Crete Technologies LLC (Stafford, Texas) to develop hexagonal boron nitride-reinforced cement for the construction of wells. Such a material would potentially protect against leaks and offshore spills in extreme conditions such as high temperature, high pressure and corrosion conditions.

That research received $1.5 million in DOE funding, with an additional $375,000 coming from other federal sources.


Tagged categories: Colleges and Universities; Funding; Research and development; U.S. Department of Energy

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