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In heavy oil leases such as in Northern Alberta, crude oil ranges 10–14°API and has a large foaming potential and unique foam formation mechanisms. At a typical wellsite, heavy crude is heated in storage tanks to break out the gas, resulting in a thick and persistent foam in the top of the tank. This article reviews the literature on foam formation mechanisms and control methods, both mechanical and chemical. A unique laboratory test method is described that mimics the foam formation environment in the field. Field trial evaluation as well as the criteria for success and failure and some examples of the highest- efficacy products are discussed. Particular focus has been given to non-silicone chemistries, as silicone antifoam products are becoming less acceptable in environmentally sensitive areas.
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