Review of the Factors that Influence the Condition of Wax Deposition in Subsea Pipelines

  • Koh Junyi University Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam
  • Nurul Hasan Universiti Teknologi Brunei, Brunei Darussalam


When crude oil is transported via sub-sea pipeline, the temperature of the pipeline decreases at a deep depth which causes a difference in temperature with the crude oil inside. This causes the crude oil to dissipate its heat to the surrounding until thermal equilibrium is achieved. This is also known as the cloud point where wax begins to precipitate and solidifies at the walls of the pipeline which obstruct the flow of fluid. The main objective of this review is to quantify the factors that influence wax deposition such as temperature difference between the wall of the pipeline and the fluid flowing within, the flow rate of the fluid in the pipeline and residence time of the fluid in the pipeline. It is found the main factor that causes wax deposition in the pipeline is the difference in temperature between the petroleum pipeline and the fluid flowing within. Most Literature deduces that decreasing temperature difference results in lower wax content deposited on the wall of the pipeline. The wax content increases with rising flow rate. As for the residence time, the amount of deposited wax initially increases when residence time increases until it reaches a peak value and gradually decreases. Flow-loop system and cold finger apparatus were used in literature investigations to determine the trends above. Three new models are generated through a regression analysis based on the results from other authors. These new models form a relationship between temperature difference, flow rate, residence time and Reynolds number with wax deposition. These models have high values of R-square and adjusted R-square which demonstrate the reliability of these models.