Early Warning of Gas Hydrate Formation in Gas Pipelines

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Energy & Renewables
Energy & Renewables

University: Heriot Watt University

Sector(s): Energy & Renewables, Chemical, Electronics, Sensors & Photonics, Engineering & Manufacturing

About Opportunity:

Gas Hydrates are solid materials that can form rapidly and cause blockages in oil & gas pipelines especially in high pressure, low temperature conditions typical of the deep & cold waters around the UK.

As exploration and extraction moves to ever deeper (and often colder) waters hydrate formation represents a growing concern for producers.

We provide a method of the early detection of these gas hydrates based on a compositional analysis of the gases in the pipeline and the change in their composition as Hydrates form.

This approach has the benefit of simplicity and is compatible with existing measuring approaches such as speed of sound (velocimetry), Gas Chromatography (GC) or Gas PT instruments. Use of time/ flow data can provide information on the approximate location of the hydrate formation position.

The information our technique provides can be used to inform & support existing hydrate mitigation strategies within Oil & Gas exploration, production or transportation processes.

Key Benefits:

  • Method of monitoring the formation of gas Hydrates / Clathrates
  • Provides an indication of the approximate position of Hydrate formation in a pipeline
  • Can be used on-line with compatible sampling apparatus
  • Versatile - can use Speed of Sound, Gas Chromatography/ Gas PT data inputs


  • Offshore Oil & Gas exploration in deep/ cold waters
  • Oil & Gas transportation lines subject to "Hydrate forming" pressure/ temperatures
  • Monitoring of pressurised Oil/Gas/Water mixtures

IP Status:

PCT patent application "Early Warning System for Hydrate or Clathrate Materials" recently published as WO2012/156669 A1 (Priority May 17 2011). Proof of Principle demonstrated on synthetic water/ hydrocarbon mixtures. The university seeks industry partners with experience of instrumentation/ technical support services within Oil & Gas sector. Partners should have an interest in either licensing or in supporting collaborative development of the technique and its application across the Oil & Gas sector.


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