Joint-Industry Projects HOnE (Heavy Oils and Emulsions) – formation and properties of heavy oil and water emulsions in ESPs and effectiveness of production chemicals



Client: Equinor and Sinochem


Emulsions are commonly present in the petroleum industry and its characteristics have a large impact on the design and operation of subsea and surface facilities.  Each type of emulsion (O/W, W/O or multiple emulsions) has its particularities in terms of stability, rheology, morphology and surface chemistry.

Some fields impose an additional challenge: presence of heavy and extra heavy oils. Such oils can be extremely viscous and may create very stable emulsions. Understanding the emulsion characteristics, presence of free water, influence of chemical additives and operational conditions is fundamental to ensure transportability and separation efficiency.

The project should investigate the formation of emulsions in a stirred tank, as well as in a homogenizer of the type Narrow Gap, rheology and morphology of the generated emulsions and stability aspects. The project must provide fundamental elements for the best understanding of: emulsion formation in rotating systems; systems with high shear and scalability of benchtop experiments (in a small-scale stirred tank) scale; and in a Narrow Gap-type homogenizer to realistic systems (with application to ESPs).