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Why fish don't freeze
In the search for oil and gas we are entering new frontiers, including ever deeper water. At extreme ocean depths freezing temperatures can cause oil to congeal and block pipes. To overcome this our scientists have developed an additive to inject into the pipes, based on fish protein.
Photo by Paul Harrison, Shell Senior explorer, Australia
At our deepwater projects thousands of metres below the sea near-freezing temperatures combined with high pressure can cause oil to congeal and ice-like hydrates to form. This can block oil pipes and interrupt production. Traditionally companies inject chemicals into the pipes to keep the oil flowing, but this can be costly.
In our search for a more effective solution we carried out research into why fish do not freeze at such low temperatures. Our scientists identified a protein the fish produce and developed a way to copy it. We inject this synthetic protein into oil and gas as we extract them, We use doses that are lower than traditional chemicals.