A sustainable solution for rod pump cleaning

Rod pumps are the most common form of artificial lift for oil wells, with over 800,000 in the US alone. Globally, over 40% of oil wells are equipped with such pumps. Accumulation of paraffin and other forms of wax on the equipment is an inevitable outcome of the lifting process. When wax starts accumulating, the pump rod gets stuck, the equipment can get damaged, and the well might stop producing oil. This results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs along with production losses. For this reason, rod pumps must be regularly cleaned of wax and other deposits.


How the new approach differs from conventional rod pump cleaning

When cleaning a rod pump, there are generally three ways to remove wax and other deposits from the pump: the thermal, the mechanical and the chemical approach:

  • The thermal approach uses hot oil or water with a temperature above the pour point. The prerequisite for this is that the hot water or oil is available on site or can be heated.
  • The mechanical approach removes the deposits through scraping, cutting or pigging. This can be very time consuming and result in increased downtime during which the rod pump can’t be used.
  • The chemical approach removes deposits with the help of chemicals that are flushed through the pump and dissolve the deposit. Typically, these chemicals are Toluol- or Xylene-based, meaning that they contain toxic ingredients that can be harmful to the environment and the people in the application area. Some of these chemicals are potentially fatal if inhaled or swallowed.

Intelligent fluids developed an entirely new solution which can be assigned to the chemical approach. The cleaning products can be directly immersed and circulated into the rod pump, removing the deposits straightaway. With this new solution the company is able to replace the traditional chemical solvents with a green alternative that is not only more sustainable but can also be more efficient.


Better cleaning performance than Toluol and Xylene-based solutions

The new solution has already successfully been tested in the laboratory. The results showed good stability and good material compatibility. The performance of the new cleaning products was also compared with conventional Toluol- and Xylene-based solutions. For this, four different chemical products were tested against intelligent fluids’ solution for deposits from different geographical regions (Permian, Eagleford and West Africa). The main ingredients of these deposit samples were waxes and long-chain paraffins. As can be seen in the graph below, intelligent fluids’ products achieved the same excellent cleaning performance on each of the four deposits, while the other four chemicals only achieved good results on one or two deposit types. The tests demonstrate the versatility of the powerful new solution.



Become more sustainable and save costs with green cleaning

Intelligent fluids’ cleaning products are non-corrosive and contain less dangerous ingredients compared to conventional chemical cleaning products, leading to a safer working environment. Utilizing sustainable cleaning products offers the oil & gas sector the chance to reduce its ecological footprint and save costs at the same time. Incorporating green cleaning products aligns with the industry’s commitment to reducing emissions, conserving resources, and fostering a safer working environment for employees.

The advantages of using the green alternative to harmful chemical solutions go beyond becoming more sustainable. Using intelligent fluids’ products can also save costs because the consumption of chemicals that are needed for cleaning is up to 5% lower.


Profit from the new solution by testing it on an industrial level

Intelligent fluids’ solution showed exceptional results in the lab for different types of deposits. The implementation is very easy and requires nothing more than the fluids themselves, which are directly compatible with existing infrastructure.

To scale the promising solution for use in the industry, we are looking for cooperation partners that are open to experience all the benefits live. Let’s make cleaning in the oil & gas sector easier and more sustainable together!


Contact us to see how our solution might fit with your current challenges and what a collaboration could look like!