Deterring Aggregation of Asphaltenes to Prevent Clogging of Crude Oil Pipelines


Available for Licensing

IP Status

US Patent: US 2021/0139792


Mortaza Derakhshani Molayouselfi
Martin McCullagh

Reference No: 19-056
Licensing Manager

Jessy McGowan

At a Glance

​Researchers at Colorado State University have developed methods to decrease the occurrence of Asphaltene aggregation in crude oil pipelines.  Asphaltene aggregation is estimated to clog more than 72,000 miles of pipeline in the U.S. alone – creating not only huge economic burden, but also devastating environmental impacts during cleaning or repair.


Methods here include proprietary algorithms to identify appropriate aggregation inhibitors (both natural or synthetic) or combinations thereof.


Asphaltenes are macromolecules indigenous to crude oil known to be responsible for forming deposits in pipelines and other petroleum industry equipment via aggregation.  The deposition of these solids can have drastic and negative impact on the oil flow through these pipes.  Billions of dollars are spent annually to clean up asphaltene-clogged pipelines and other petroleum industry equipment.  There are various methods of cleaning clogged pipelines such as replacing the equipment, pulse pressurizing pipelines and chemical treatments – but none of these methods lead to prevention.


The ability to decrease aggregation can lead to modified oil extraction and production processes that will minimize asphaltene deposition and subsequently minimize economic and environmental consequences.  

  • Method utilizes natural components of crude oil
  • Decreases potential of pipeline shutdowns due to clogging

Figure 1. Depicts common asphaltene deposition within a pipeline.
  • Oil industry – lower the intensity of the aggregation in crudes that cause sever clogging