Shell scientists develop pipeline antifreeze additive based on fish protein
At extreme ocean depths freezing temperatures can cause oil to congeal and block pipes. To overcome this, Shell’s scientists have developed an additive to inject into the pipes, based on fish protein.
At Shell’s deepwater projects thousands of metres below the sea near-freezing temperatures combined with high pressure can cause oil to congeal and ice-like hydrates to form. This can block oil pipes and interrupt production. Traditionally companies inject chemicals into the pipes to keep the oil flowing, but this can be costly.
In Shell’s search for a more effective solution, researchers carried out research into why fish do not freeze at such low temperatures. Scientists identified a protein the fish produce and developed a way to copy it. They inject this synthetic protein into oil and gas as we extract them, using doses that are lower than traditional chemicals.