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Permanent Magnet (PM) Induction Heater for Paraffin Abatement

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0018464
Agency Tracking Number: 243835
Amount: $1,049,963.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 20b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001975
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-05-28
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-05-27
Small Business Information
4229 Hidden Canyon Cove
Austin, TX 78746-1256
United States
DUNS: 964750558
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Mukul Sharma
 (512) 413-1803
Business Contact
 Mukul Sharma
Phone: (512) 413-1803
Research Institution
 University of Texas at Austin
 Raymond Zowarka
110 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78705-1139
United States

 (512) 471-4496
 Nonprofit College or University

There are an estimated 1.7 million oil and gas wells in the United States, 771,000 of these are considered marginal producers. Combined they make up 11.3% of the US oil production and 8.3% of the US gas production. In that last 10 years, over 131,000 of these oil wells and 48,000 gas wells have been plugged and abandoned. Most of these wells suffer from paraffin plugging problems. The only way to extend the economic life of these wells is to reduce operating costs and/or increase production. A new paraffin abatement tool has been built and has now been successfully tested in a simulated wellbore as a part of Phase 1 of this SBIR project. It provides a simple and novel way to prevent downhole paraffin buildup to both increase production and reduce operating costs. The tool which permanently screws into the tubing and the sucker rods generates heat over a specific depth interval in the tubing by converting the up and down motion of the sucker rods to the rotary motion of a metal tube within an array of magnets. We have demonstrated that for our tool the induction currents generated by this rotary motion generates over 2KW of heat per foot of tool length. This heating keeps the oil above the cloud point temperature until it reaches the surface. The full-scale tool that has been designed, built and lab-tested has many commercial and technical advantages over current methods (hot-oiling or chemical treatment using paraffin inhibitors). Higher continuous oil production. Much less decline in production because there is no buildup of paraffin in tubing over time. 10-20% lower annual treating costs than hot oiling or paraffin inhibitor chemicals. No formation damage to the well. No paraffin being squeezed into the perfs (as happens in hot oiling). The heat is generated where it is needed (at the depth where paraffin is forming). The rest of the wellbore and rock is not heated. The tool integrates with existing tubing and sucker rod. No additional equipment, power requirements or operational changes are needed. The tool is modular, so its heating capacity can be adjusted to meet the needs of different wells. Permanent tool installation results in less frequent well workovers and well intervention. The market and/or market segments we are targeting is well over $1 billion annually. With the better performance, lower cost, higher efficiency and improved production we expect the PM heater to be an attractive solution to virtually all oil and gas operators. The primary hurdle we will need to overcome in order to gain market/customer acceptance is the initial demonstration of the technology in several wells over a period of time. Most operators are eager to adopt the technology after it has been demonstrated to be effective and reliable in other oil wells. To demonstrate the capabilities of the tool and to install it in a reliable manner in the first few wells we have partnered with Harbison Fisher (now Apergy Inc.), the world’s largest supplier of sucker rods and other artificial lift equipment (see Letter of Commitment). Once we have established the viability and effectiveness of the tool over the course of the next 2 years, Apergy has agreed to make this a part of their product line. With this level of well-established marketing and technical support in the field we will be able to deploy the tool across all markets in the US and abroad (all markets that they already operate in). In addition, we intend to set up marketing booths in industry conferences and conduct short courses to educate the industry about the benefits of preventing paraffin formation in their wells.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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