Precipitation and deposition of asphaltenes is becoming a more common issue in the hydrocarbon production process from high pressure reservoirs. Asphaltenes are organic solids commonly considered to be polyaromatic structures with aliphatic chains, sometimes including other heteroatoms. Asphaltene formation in the near-wellbore area and downstream in production facilities can cause numerous flow assurance related issues.
This paper describes work performed in developing a novel class of materials, using dendrimers as a platform to inhibit asphaltene deposition in oilfield applications. Dendrimers, or hyperbranched polymers, are tree-like structures grown from a central core with repeating subunits that provide high molecular weight compounds.
This paper describes the initial development of the dendrimeric chemistries, including initial crude characterisation, laboratory performance evaluation of the products, and two subsequent successful field treatments. The data presented shows effective reduction of precipitation and deposition of asphaltenes both downhole via capillary injection and topsides in production facilities both previously encountering complicated asphaltene issues.