F-14 Wax Fouling

C. A. Bennett

Wax, or paraffinic, fouling currently costs the petroleum industry billions every year in pipeline maintenance and repair, production downtime, and, in extreme cases, platform abandonment. Wax fouling typically occurs via a precipitation mechanism in sub-sea pipelines because the paraffinic molecules that are soluble in the crude oil at reservoir conditions become insoluble at sub-sea pipeline conditions. Even though many wax fouling mitigation techniques exist, including pigging (mechanical), applying hot oil (thermal), and using solvents (chemical), potential returns via design and process management make paraffinic fouling an active area of research.