Really Interesting Idea from Scott at the mindshaftgap

Here is a great article from Scott at the mindshaftgap.  He explores using liquid nitrogen to increase the viscosity of oil and eventually freeze it.  The article also provides some great figures and graphs on oil at varying temperatures.  The problem for his proposal is that liquid nitrogen is boiling at the temperature found down there (liquid nitrogen freezes at -210 ºC).  While I don’t want to give up on liquid nitrogen completely, I propose using CO2 which has a freezing temperature of -70 ºC.  Still too warm to freeze, but closer to the temperatures 5,000 feet below.

Definitely worth the read.

Here is some of his background information on oil and flow:

Crude oil and two-phase crude oil/gas mixtures have a very strong viscosity dependency on temperature.  At lower temperatures (especially below 0˚F) the viscosity of crude oil and its mixtures increase very rapidly.  As can be seen in the figure I generated below and to the left, the mass flowrate of a fluid through a pipe at constant pressure drop is a very strong function of the viscosity of the fluid flowing in the pipe.  Next to it is a plot of viscosity vs. temperature for a two-phase mixture of light crude and natural gas (as the flow coming out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead is) at a bunch of different pressures.

and some diagrams.

Thanks Scott for the great work and sharing your idea! (be sure to let me know if you have a problem with me reproducing your info)

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2 Responses to Really Interesting Idea from Scott at the mindshaftgap

  1. Gerhard Schlatte says:

    Dear all,

    first I want to send our warmest greetings from good old europe! Though we are on the other side of the earth we are very concerned about this eco-catastrophy, we feel with you!

    I want to inform you, that some weeks ago an austrian Professor of Vienna University , Austria, has sent an abstract about the possibility of freezing the oil spill on the seefloor using liquid nitrogen to BP. There was no reaction.
    Meanwhile several prominent scientists of Vienna University and Cern, Geneva, Swizerland support tis proposal.

    Do you have an idea why BP is not reacting or considering the freezing technique?

    Best wishes and keep on working for a better world!
    Gerhard

    • zerbe says:

      Hi Gerhard,
      Thanks for the update. Do you know this professor’s name? I would like to find out some more information about him. Perhaps you could send me a link to some news or related information.

      Thanks,
      Zach

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