First Occurrence of a Shale Oil with Trimodal Carbon Chain Distribution and Paraffins Higher than Nonacontane CH: A Real Fail Test for Existing Chemistries and Methods

Smith, Rashod (Clariant) | Miller, Amanda (Clariant) | Mahmoudkhani, Amir (Clariant) | Samaniego, Walter (Clariant) | Granda, Elizabeth (Clariant)



A major shale producer in North America with established oil and gas production was facing challenges with severe paraffin deposition in downhole tubing and flowlines. Since chemical recommendations based on traditional screenings failed to deliver adequate inhibition, the operator turned to a costly remediation program to maintain production. We aimed to revisit the case, do a root cause analysis, and look for a potential chemical solution for cost savings. The field deposit obtained from the producer proved to be quite complex and introduced limitations with our current internal HTGC method for carbon chain analysis. Upon analysis, components present in the sample were found to exceed the solidity limits of the carrier system, carbon disulfide (CS2) and would precipitate out of the solution and form a two-phased system. These components were believed to be higher molecular weight carbon chains (HMWC) above C70+ at a high enough concentration to exceed the solvents solubility limit. This was the first time encountering such a sample in our experience. A systematic approach was applied to isolate the insoluble HMWC and further outsourced analysis. A MALDI-TOF and High-Resolution Carbon-13 NMR was utilized to confirm the presence of C90+ chains within the deposit at a high enough concentration to have a trimodal paraffin distribution system. To our knowledge, this is the first time a trimodal system has been documented.