Oil and Gas

Heat Transfer Fluids for Oil and Gas Applications

Heat transfer fluids (HTFs) are essential in oil and gas processing and are used in all phases of fuels extraction, transport, refining and recycling.

Oil and gas processing requires the use of a specific heat transfer fluid designed to work at high temperatures for prolonged periods of time.

Since oil and gas applications are often situated in remote, hard-to-reach locations, it’s also important to use heat transfer fluids with a high flashpoint to minimise the risk of explosion.

Why use a thermal fluid in oil and gas processing?

Offshore platforms use liquid phase HTFs for heating facilities and regenerating glycols that are used to remove water from the natural gas produced. Refineries also use liquid phase heat transfer fluids to heat reboilers and columns for the distillation of oil and oil-based products.

Companies that reprocess and recycle used oils use thermal fluids in very high temperature distillation facilities, while pumping stations placed along oil pipelines use heat transfer systems to help control the viscosity of the oil moving through the line.

What should I look for in a thermal fluid?

All oil and gas processing facilities have operating parameters specific to the application, to guide the selection of the most suitable heat transfer fluid. However, there are a few general parameters to keep in mind to select a fluid that delivers maximum efficiency for as long as possible.

The first thing to consider is thermal stability. All heat transfer oils can degrade over time, and the rate of degradation increases when the operational temperature exceeds that of the oil’s recommended use.

At high temperatures, the bonds between hydrocarbon chains start to break and produce carbon in a process called fouling. As the carbon concentration in the fluid increases, it deposits sludge into the pipes. This reduces the efficiency of the system and, if action is not taken, this sludge can obstruct the pipes and lead to serious safety hazards.

It’s important to choose a thermal fluid with a high thermal stability, which can resist high temperatures and occasional temperature peaks. This can slow down degradation and prevent the formation of sludge. It’s also important to choose a heat transfer fluid with a high flash point, the temperature at which a fluid produces enough vapour to be ignited. Over time, the molecules in a thermal fluid will break down in a process called thermal cracking, creating volatile light ends. These cause the flash point to drop, increasing the risk of fire.

In remote applications, such as offshore platforms, a fluid change can be very costly. At the same time, it’s essential that fire hazards must be avoided at all cost. For this reason, in these applications it’s essential to maintain the fluid’s normal operating conditions for as long as possible.

What thermal fluid is best for my oil and gas application?

The Globaltherm® family of heat transfer fluids offers a broad range of products that are ideal for the oil and gas industry.

Globaltherm® Syntec

Globaltherm® Syntec is our most popular high temperature heat transfer fluid. It can operate to temperatures from -3° to 345° C and is already used in oil and gas systems all over the world.

Globaltherm® M

Globaltherm® M is a thermal fluid with superior thermal and oxidation stability and low vapour pressures at elevated temperatures. These characteristics eliminate vapour lock and cavitation, as well as the need for high pressure piping and equipment. Globaltherm® M can operate between -10° and 345° C.

Globaltherm® MXT

Globaltherm® MXT is another great choice for applicationsi in the oil and gas industry. It operates a ttemperatures between -7°C and 320°C and contains a highly resilient blend of additives that make it resistant to sludging.

Globaltherm® S

Globaltherm® S is a good choice if you experience occasional temperature peaks. Its normally operates between 250° and 350° C, but it can be used intermittently at film temperatures as high as 380°C. It has low viscosity and a flash point of 200° C, one of the highest in its category.

Globaltherm® NF

Lastly, Globaltherm® NF can be safely used in a variety of oil and gas applications with temperatures ranging from -20° to 326° C. It has exceptional thermal and oxidation stability and is non-hazardous, non-toxic, water white and odourless. Thanks to its high flash point, it provides excellent resistance to degradation.

How do I maintain thermal fluids for oil and gas?

All extraction and processing plants using heat transfer fluids should operate using a proactive maintenance plan such as Global Heat Transfer’s Thermocare, which encompasses regular system analysis, fluid top-up and flashpoint and fouling management.

Additionally, the Heat transfer Fluid Sample Kit can be useful for offshore applications, which might be hard to reach for a maintenance engineer. The kit provides everything you need to draw a live, hot, circulating representative fluid sample in preparation for expert analysis, including labelled containers to return the fluid to our lab. After the analysis, a member of our technical team will contact you to discuss the results and advise you on the next steps. The Heat Transfer Sample Kit can be supplied as part of your Thermocare program.

Where can I get help?

Global Heat Transfer’s technical team has worked with engineers in the oil and gas industry for many years, specifying and supplying the correct heat transfer fluid and testing and analysing the product at regular intervals throughout the year. We provide on-site and telephone support for plant engineers to keep your system running safely and efficiently.

Do you have any more questions about thermal fluid for oil and gas applications?

For more personalised advice, call one of our engineers on +44 (0)1785 760 555 or visit our contact page to submit an enquiry.

Product Operating Temperature Bulk 200 KG Barrel
Globaltherm® Syntec -3°C  to 345°C
(27°F to 653°F)
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Globaltherm® Syntec is the most popular high temperature heat transfer fluid. Primary uses are oil and gas, chemical industries, plastics processing and biodiesel applications.

Globaltherm® Syntec uses the chemistry of the most popular high temperature liquid phase heat transfer fluid. No other heat transfer fluid delivers a higher degree of customer satisfaction for oil and gas processing applications.

Globaltherm® Syntec is readily pumpable at temperatures as low as -3°C (27°F) insuring trouble-free start up under most conditions.

Globaltherm® Syntec is suited to heat transfer system applications operating up to 345°C (653°F) and can be pumped to -3°C (27°F)

Globaltherm® Syntec is used in a wide variety of applications in systems all over the world and provides true 345° C (653°F) performance

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Product Operating Temperature Bulk 1000 Litre IBC 208 Litre Barrel
Globaltherm® M

-10°C  to 320°C
(14°F to 608°F)

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Globaltherm® M is a superior high performance energy efficient heat transfer fluid suitable for use in all kinds of industrial processes, including oil and gas applications.

Made from highly refined base stocks, Globaltherm® M thermal fluid has excellent thermal and oxidation stability allowing operation at high temperatures for extended periods.

Globaltherm® M delivers good viscosity, at the relevant operating temperatures, and ensures high heat transfer rates requiring limited pumping energy.

Globaltherm® M has low vapour pressures at elevated temperatures and greatly reduced evaporation.

With Globaltherm® M vapour lock and cavitation is eliminated, as is the need for high pressure piping and equipment.

Used fluid may be disposed of through a number of environmentally acceptable methods such as used oil recycling or heavy fuels burning.

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Product Operating Temperature (Liquid Phase)  Bulk 214KG Barrel
Marlotherm® SH -5°C  to 350°C
(23°F to 662°F)
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Marlotherm® SH Heat Transfer Fluid for Oil and Gas Applications 

The operating temperature range for Marlotherm® SH is from 250°C (482°F) to 350°C (662°F) and can be used intermittently at film temperatures as high as 380°C (716°F).

Marlotherm® SH can be used in systems that require start-up temperatures as low as -5°C (23°F) without the need for heat tracing and without being pressurised.

Marlotherm® SH thermal fluid is thermally stable up to 300°C (572°F) and can be used for extended periods (years) below this temperature without reducing performance.

Marlotherm® SH has a low viscosity 17 cSt @ 40°C (104°F) with a pumping limit at -5°C (23°F) – making it one of the lowest in its fluid class.

Marlotherm® SH thermal fluid has a flash point of 200°C – one of the highest in its fluid class.

Marlotherm® SH has superior thermal stress resistance in the bulk outlet temperature range from 60°C-350°C (140°F - 662°F) and primary uses are plastics processing and biodiesel industries.

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Product Operating Temperature Bulk 208KG Barrel
Globaltherm® NF -20°C  to 326°C
(-4°F to 619°F)
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Globaltherm® NF Heat Transfer Fluid for Oil and Gas Applications

Globaltherm® NF is the non-fouling, non-toxic, high performance semi-synthetic heat transfer fluid specially developed for use in industrial heat transfer, including oil and gas applications.

Globaltherm® NF is made from severely hydro treated synthesised hydrocarbon base stocks, and delivers exceptional thermal and oxidation stability, allowing operation at high temperatures for extended periods. It is non-hazardous, non-toxic, water white and odourless.

Globaltherm® NF heat transfer fluid has a high flash/fire point and provides extra resistance to degradation, in particular the build-up of sludge.

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