Re-Evaluation of Asphaltene-Precipitation Risk Depending on Field-Operational-Condition Change/Variation: Case Study Comparing Risks in Past (2008) and Present (2016) for Future Prediction

Takabayashi, Katsumo (INPEX Corporation) | Shibayama, Akira (INPEX Corporation) | Yamada, Tatsuya (ADNOC Offshore) | Kai, Hiroki (INPEX Corporation) | Al Hamami, Mohamed Tariq (ADNOC Offshore) | Al Jasmi, Sami M. (ADNOC Offshore) | Al Rougha, Hamad Bu (ADNOC Offshore) | Yonebayashi, Hideharu (INPEX Corporation)



This study aims to improve asphaltene-risk evaluation using long-term data. Temporal changes in asphaltene risks with gas injection were evaluated. In reservoirs under gas injection, the in-situ fluid component gradually changes by multiple contact with the injected gas. Those compositional changes affect asphaltene stability, causing difficulty in risk prediction using asphaltene models. This study aims to reduce the risk uncertainty depending on operational-condition changes.

Periodic upgrading of asphaltene models is essential for understanding the time-dependent changes of asphaltene risks. In a previous study, the asphaltene risk was evaluated for an offshore oil field in 2008 using the cubic-plus-association equation-of-state (EOS) models and using all the available data at the time. Additional experimental data were subsequently collected for a gas-injection plan. An additional study was performed that incorporated and compared the data sets.

According to the previous study recommendation, additional asphaltene laboratory studies were conducted using the newly collected samples. All the asphaltene-onset pressures (AOPs) detected in the new samples were higher than those found in the previous study. A large difference was observed between the past and recent AOPs in the lower reservoir even though the samples were collected from the same well. The asphaltene-precipitation risk increases considerably because the new study detected AOP at the reservoir temperature, whereas no AOPs were detected in the previous study. The difference may be attributed to saturation-pressure increase. Next, the numerical asphaltene models were revised; the re-evaluated asphaltene-risk estimations were higher in the lower reservoir and slightly higher in the upper reservoir than the past ones. The reference sample fluids were collected from two different wells with different asphaltene and methane (C1) contents. The reliability of the new asphaltene laboratory results was increased by applying multiple data interpretation. Thus, the difference between the past and recent results can be attributed to fluid alteration with time. On the basis of the analysis in this study, the risk rating was updated to slightly higher than in the previous evaluation, emphasizing the importance of regular monitoring of asphaltene risks.

This study provides valuable findings of time-lapse evaluation of asphaltene-precipitation risks for a reservoir under gas injection. The evaluations currently conducted in the industry are snapshots of instantaneous risks. Through the entire field life, the risks have varied depending on the operating conditions. This study demonstrates that risk estimates can change in a unique field with identical work flow by analyzing data collected at different times. Finally, this study demonstrates the importance of time-dependent reservoir-fluid properties.