Oil & Gas

Oil and gas industries deal with exploration, production and downstream handling of crude oils, and gases. Currently, the industry faces challenges from depleted sources but also from the transformation of traditional state-oil companies to chemical companies.

CULGI contributes to research and development in Oil and Gas industries in a variety of ways.

At the highest level, we help state-oil companies in transforming to modern organizations with own research.

On a research level, we are involved in modeling a variety of oilfield chemicals, from fracking fluids to chemical-enhanced-oil recovery systems, to asphaltene deposits.

CULGI can be used for a wide range of applications of which a few examples are listed below. If you would like to know more about each example, continue reading.

DemulsiFyING Chemicals

Produced oil contains 10 to 30 percent of water in the form of complex emulsions. The water needs to be removed before distillation. To do so, chemicals are added to the crude to break the emulsions into separate phases of oil and water. After this, the oil is collected for downstream handling. Demulsifying chemicals are extremely diverse in their composition. For example, they contain copolymers, surfactants and solvents. Oil companies have an interest in finding better compounds based on (new) intellectual property. Since 2000 the world has filed more than ten thousand patents with the topic demulsification. CULGI is involved in patent analysis for such complex chemicals.


In a typical well, up to 50% of the crude oil cannot be produced, because the remaining oil is trapped in the pores. Since in such case, the infrastructure for production is already available, it could be beneficial to enhance the oil recovery by modification of the production process on site. One type of chemically enhanced oil recovery involves injecting complex detergent mixtures in the well. After injection, the detergents solubilize the oil by so-called micro-emulsification.

CULGI has made a breakthrough scientific discovery of a new theoretical algorithm, which allows rationalization and modeling of micro-emulsions in general, and crude-oils in particular.


Crude oils can contain 5% to 70% of asphaltenes, depending on the location of the oil well. When the oil is produced, asphaltenes precipitate from the crude oil. As a result, pores, pipes and transportation infrastructure is clogged. Ways to prevent clogging are all chemical.

CULGI has applications that involve making a model for chemical asphaltene molecule distribution. In addition, we can also provide a model for the aggregation of such molecules given an environmental context. Finally, we are able to provide insights into the chemical formulations needed to remove the deposits.

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