Green Oilfield Chemistry

The Green Oilfield Chemicals programme at UiS is researching new chemicals for tackling gas hydrate, wax and scale issues, as well as other studies on defoamers, oily water discharge, corrosion problems, oil slick dispersants and biodegradation issues.

  • Green Oilfield Chemistry research group at University of Stavanger
    Green Oilfield Chemistry research group
  • The university's Oilfield Chemical Synthesis lab
    Oilfield chemical synthesis lab
  • Custom-made Dynamic Scale Inhibitor test rig
    Dynamic Scale inhibitor test rig
  • Book cover:
    Book cover: "Production Chemicals for the Oil and Gas Industry"
  • Molecule model
    Molecule model

The North Sea has the strictest offshore environmental regulations in the world. This means some high-performance chemicals have been banned from use, and others are to be phased out.

Therefore, the petroleum industry has an increasing need for greener production chemicals. A research group at UiS are trying to find new solutions. 

In general, the service and chemical companies have taken up the baton to develop new, greener products. However, there should be a place at universities to carry out such research, and the University of Stavanger is uniquely and ideally positioned to do this with a multi-disciplinary research team.

New chemicals
Therefore, the UiS has established a Research Programme called Green Oilfield Chemicals.

Within the production chemistry staff of nine full-time professors and senior research personnel we are currently researching new chemicals for tackling gas hydrate, wax and scale issues, as well as other studies on defoamers, oily water discharge, corrosion problems, oil slick dispersants and biodegradation issues.

Published book
Currently we have 2 post-docs and five PhD students studying various issues of production chemistry and each year about 15 bachelor and master students.

We have collaborations with several oil companies, service companies, chemicals suppliers and many other research institutes and universities worldwide.

In addition, the group leader, professor Malcolm Kelland, has written a leading book on the subject, ”Production Chemicals for the Oil and Gas Industry”, the second edition of which was published in 2014 (CRC Press) (Also available on internet bookshops).

What is Oilfield Production Chemistry?
Production chemistry issues in the upstream oil and gas industry occur as a result of chemical and physical changes to the well stream fluids, as they are transported from the reservoir through the processing system. In general, production chemistry problems are one of three types:

  • Problems caused by fouling, e.g. scales, corrosion products, wax (paraffin), asphaltenes and gas hydrates.
  • Problems caused by the physical properties of the fluid. Foams, emulsions and viscous flow are examples.
  • Problems that are health-related, environmental or economic e.g. H2S. Oily water discharge and some production chemicals can damage the environment.

Problem prediction
Production chemistry problems have to be predicted in advance and can cost an operator many millions of dollars in lost revenue if not handled correctly. The main factors that decide whether a new production chemical will be used in the field are:

  • Cost
  • Performance
  • Environmental properties
  • Ease of handling, health and safety issues
  • Compatibility issues

Eco Inhibitors
In 2011, UiS established a spin-off company, called Eco Inhibitors. Several patented low dosage hydrate inhibitors, discovered through research at UiS, are currently under development and testing at service and oil companies. These include natural product KHIs, green AAs and powerful new KHI synergists. Eco Inhibitors also consults on gas hydrate inhibition and other production chemistry issues. 

(Key: IMN = Institute of Mathematics and Natural Science, IPT = Institute of Petroleum Technology)

Malcolm Kelland, professor (IMN): low dosage hydrate inhibitors (LDHIs), scale inhibitors, wax and corrosion inhibitors, polymer and surfactant synthesis, leader of production chemistry group at UiS

Tor Hemmingsen, professor (IMN): Corrosion, analytical chemistry

Kåre Jørgensen, ass. professor (IMN): Organic synthesis, analytical chemistry

Magne O. Sydnes, ass professor (IMN): Organic synthesis

Roald Kommedal, ass. professor (IMN): Ecotoxicological properties of oilfield chemicals and oil biodegradation

Merete V. Madland, professor (IPT): Scale inhibition, core flooding

Thor Martin Svartaas, ass. professor (IPT): Gas hydrates, hydrate inhibitors

Jostein Djuve, senior lecturer IP Wax deposition, PPDs

Ingebret Fjelde, professor II: Asphaltenes, surfactants/emulsions, scale inhibitors, foams, core flooding

Mohammed Osman, ass. professor (IMN): Biosurfactants

Selected Recent Publications

  1. First Investigation of the Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitor Performance of Poly(N‑alkylglycine)s, Fernando T. Reyes,† Li Guo,‡ John W. Hedgepeth,‡ Donghui Zhang,‡ and Malcolm A. Kelland, Energy Fuels 2014, 28, 6889-6896.
  2. M.A. Kelland, Production Chemicals for the Oil and Gas Industry, 2nd edition, CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group), Boca Raton, Florida, March 2014.
  3. Novel Benchtop Wheel Loop for Low Dosage Gas Hydrate Inhibitor Screening: Comparison to Rocking Cells for a Series of Anti-agglomerants, M.A. Kelland, A. Grinrød and E.G. Dirdal, ICGH8, Beijing, 16-20 July 2014.
  4. Study of the Gas Hydrate Anti-agglomerant Performance of a Series of nAlkyl-tri(nbutyl)ammonium Bromides, P.C. Chua and M.A. Kelland, Energy Fuels 2013, 27, 1285−1292.
  5. Breakthrough in Synergists for Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitor Polymers, Hexaalkylguanidinium Salts: Tetrahydrofuran Hydrate Crystal Growth Inhibition and Synergism with Polyvinylcaprolactam, M.A. Kelland, N. Moi, and Michelle Howarth, Energy Fuels, 2013, 27, 711.
  6. Investigation into the strength and source of the memory effect for cyclopentane hydrate, H. Sefidroodi, E. Abrahamsen, M.A. Kelland, Chem. Eng. Sci., 2013, 87, 133-140.
  7. Exploring Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitor Test Methods and Conditions Using a Multicell Steel Rocker Rig, A. Lone and M.A. Kelland, Energy Fuels 2013, 27, 2536−2547.
  8. A New Class of Hyperbranched Polymeric Scale Inhibitors, Malcolm A. Kelland and Martin C. Jensen, J. Petr. Sci. Eng., 94–95 (2012) 66–72.
  9. Tetra(iso-hexyl)ammonium Bromide—The Most Powerful Quaternary Ammonium-Based Tetrahydrofuran Crystal Growth Inhibitor and Synergist with Polyvinylcaprolactam Kinetic Gas Hydrate Inhibitor, P.C. Chua and M.A. Kelland, Energy & Fuels,  2012, 26, 1160.
  10. Poly(N-vinyl azacyclooctanone): A More Powerful Structure II Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitor than Poly(N-vinyl caprolactam), P.C. Chua and M.A. Kelland, Energy Fuels, 2012, 26, 4481–4485.
  11. A Review of Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitors - Tailor-made Water-soluble Polymers for Oil and Gas Industry Applications, M.A. Kelland, Chapter 5, Advances in Materials Science Research, M.C. Wytherst Ed., Nova Science Publishers Inc., Vol.8, New York, 2011.
  12. The Missing Polyvinyllactam Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitor – High Pressure Kinetic Hydrate Inhibition of Structure II Gas Hydrates with Polyvinylpiperidone and Other Polyvinyllactam Homopolymers, P.C. Chua, R. O’Reilly, N.S. Leong and M.A. Kelland, Energy & Fuels, 2011, 25, 4595.
  13. Kinetic Hydrate Inhibition At Pressures Up To 760 Bar In Deep Water Drilling Fluids, M.A. Kelland and J.E. Iversen, Energy & Fuels, 2010, 24(5), 3003.
  14. Class Of Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitor With Good Biodegradability, L. Del Villano, R. Kommedal and M.A. Kelland, Energy & Fuels, 2008, 22(5), 3143.
  15. History of the Development of Low Dosage Hydrate Inhibitors, M.A. Kelland, Energy & Fuels, 2006, 20, 825.

The cover of UiS professor Kelland's book

Malcolm Kelland's book on production chemicals has been well received, and is now in its 2nd printing.