Hydrates are ice-like crystal structures formed by water and stabilized by the presence of guest molecules within the lattice cavities. As these guest molecules are typically light gases and hydrocarbons, hydrates are of particular relevance to oil and gas production systems.
Managing hydrate formation requires skill and expertise in numerous areas in order to address the differences between the risks associated with hydrate formation under normal operating conditions, and those associated with transient operating scenarios, such as start-up and planned and un-planned shut-downs.
Hydrate blockages can result in many days of deferred production and high remediation costs if an all encompassing hydrate management strategy does not exist to cover such occasions. Dissociating hydrate plugs can be a lengthy, expensive and potentially hazardous process, which is why mitigation is usually preferred to remediation.
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