Education: Dr. Rachael Cole holds both a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and a BSc in chemistry from the University of Bristol, U.K., and is an active member of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Since joining M-I SWACO in 2010, Cole has been involved in researching new technologies for production chemicals and has led the development of novel patented chemistries for paraffin inhibitors, demulsifiers, hydrate inhibitors and asphaltene dispersants.
Leadership: The highlight of Cole’s contribution to the industry is the use of dendrimers for the development of new molecules with unique and highly beneficial properties for oilfield services use. Dendrimers are repetitively branched molecules that are typically symmetric around the core. Cole used her expertise to investigate the structure and property relationship of dendrimers and to modify them to prove her idea that these types of chemistries can lead to unique properties.
Cole has initiated and led the development, synthesis, qualification, scale-up and field testing of this technology. Applying her creativity with relentless dedication, she has delivered new dendrimer technology with unique benefits. Paraffin inhibitors developed using dendrimers are truly differentiating, and there are no other low viscosity high-active paraffin inhibitors formulations on the market.
Her solutions, grouped under the SYMETRI technology platform, deliver inhibitor chemistries that offer both high functionality and high activity, reducing the quantity of inhibitor required to attain flow assurance requirements and lowering chemical treatment cost per barrel of oil.
As the leader of the SYMETRI dendrimer technology development program, Cole has been synthesizing, testing, and qualifying products in the lab, working with the chemical manufacturing and blending facility to scale up to production, and working with operations to roll out the technologies to address specific customer issues.
What makes Cole an outstanding innovator is that her contribution does not stop at the origination of the idea or concept. She is driven to carry her ideas and inventions forward – from inception to implementation to commercialization.
Accomplishments: Cole’s efforts have produced a range of new products developed by leveraging the unique structural features of dendrimers and functionalizing the end-groups on the branches of the dendrimers. Her work has led to the introduction of novel products for a wide array of applications.
In 2017, this technology entered the subsea, deepwater and unconventional applications sectors, delivering inhibitor chemistries that offer both high functionality and high activity, reducing the amount of inhibitor required to attain flow assurance requirements and lowering chemical treatment cost per barrel of oil.
Today, ten active chemicals are commercial under the SYMETRI technology name, and more are in development and undergoing field trials. This technology has extended from a portfolio of wax inhibitors at its inception to other applications currently in field test that include asphaltene dispersants and emulsion breakers.
Game-changer: Cole has the qualities of an extremely enthusiastic innovator, and her willingness to invest time and energy – coupled with a level of grit and tenacity that few others possess – have led to the development of game-changing solutions.
Insight: “Each step has its challenges, from designing and making a brand-new chemical to getting the first good result to testing the technology in the field, but when it all comes together, and you have taken that idea from the back of an envelope to a success, that is really something special.”