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Asphaltene deposition in production tubing represents a major flow-assurance challenge. Common strategies to mitigate asphaltene deposition downhole include mechanical or solvent cleanouts and chemical inhibition. These are associated with production deferment, high job costs, safety and environmental risks, and operational issues. An operator has addressed this challenge using production tubing lined with glass-fiber-reinforced epoxy (GRE). This technology was implemented in two trial wells.
Perhaps the most common formation damage problem reported in the mature oil-producing regions of the world is organic deposits forming both in and around the wellbore. These deposits can occur in tubing, or in the pores of the reservoir rock. Both effectively choke the flow of hydrocarbons. Table 1 shows the gross composition of crude oils, tars, and bitumens obtained from various sources. It is evident that crude oils contain substantial proportions of saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons with relatively small percentages of resins and asphaltenes.
Deposition of the high-molecular-weight components of petroleum fluids as solid precipitates in surface facilities, pipelines, downhole tubulars, and within the reservoir are well-recognized production problems. The deposits also can contain resins, crude oil, fines, scales, and water. Asphaltenes and waxes are a general category of solids and, thus, cover a wide range of materials. Understanding the fundamental characteristics that define the nature of asphaltenes and waxes is valuable in reducing or avoiding the production impacts of their deposition. This page examines the general chemical classifications and types of asphaltenes and waxes, in addition to their solidification behaviors.
Al-Nakhli, Ayman R. (Saudi Aramco) | Tariq, Zeeshan (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals) | Mahmoud, Mohamed (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals) | Abdulraheem, Abdulazeez (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals)
Abstract Commercial volumes of hydrocarbon production from tight unconventional reservoirs need massive hydraulic fracturing operations. Tight unconventional formations are typically located inside deep and over-pressured formations where the rock fracture pressure with slickwater becomes so high because of huge in situ stresses. Therefore, several lost potentials and failures were recorded because of high pumping pressure requirements and reservoir tightness. In this study, thermochemical fluids are introduced as a replacement for slickwater. These thermochemical fluids are capable of reducing the rock fracture pressure by generating micro-cracks and tiny fractures along with the main hydraulic fractures. Thermochemical upon reaction can generate heat and pressure simultaneously. In this study, several hydraulic fracturing experiments in the laboratory on different synthetic cement samples blocks were carried out. Cement blocks were made up of several combinations of cement and sand ratios to simulate real rock scenarios. Results showed that fracturing with thermochemical fluids can reduce the breakdown pressure of the cement blocks by 30%, while applied pressure was reduced up to 88%, when using thermochemical fluid, compared to slickwater. In basins with excessive tectonic stresses, the current invention can become an enabler to fracture and stimulate well stages which otherwise left untreated. A new methodology is developed to lower the breakdown pressure of such reservoirs, and enable fracturing. Keywords: Unconventional formation; breakdown pressure; thermochemicals; micro fractures.
Abstract Flow assurance is a vital challenge that affects the viability of an asset in all oil producing environments. A proper understanding of asphaltene precipitation leading to deposition lends itself to reliable completions planning and timely remediation efforts. This ultimately dictates the production life of the reservoir. The Wireline Formation Tester (WFT) has traditionally aided the understanding of asphaltene composition in reservoir fluids through the collection of pressurized fluid samples. Moreover, the use of Downhole Fluid Analysis (DFA) during a fluid pumpout has augmented the understanding of soluble asphaltenes under in-situ flowing conditions. However, an accurate and representative measurement of Asphaltene Onset Pressure (AOP) has eluded the industry. Traditionally, this measurement has been determined post-acquisition through different laboratory techniques performed on a restored fluid sample. Although sound, there are inherent challenges that affect the quality of the results. These challenges primarily include the need to restore samples to reservoir conditions, maintaining samples at equilibrium composition, and the destruction of fluid samples through inadvertent asphaltene precipitation during transporting and handling. Hence, there is a need for WFT operations to deliver a source of reliable analysis, particularly in high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) reservoirs, to avoid costly miscalculations. A premiere industry method to determine AOP under in-situ producible conditions is presented. Demonstrated in a Gulf of Mexico (GOM) reservoir, this novel technique mimics the gravimetric and light scattering methods, where a fluid sample is isothermally depressurized from initial reservoir pressure; simultaneously, DFA monitors asphaltene precipitation from solution and a high-precision pressure gauge records the onset of asphaltene precipitation. This measurement is provided continuously and in real time. An added advantage is that experiments are performed individually after obtaining a pressurized sample in distinct oil zones. Therefore, the execution of this downhole AOP experiment is independent of an already captured fluid sample and does not impact the quality of any later laboratory-based analysis. Once the measurements are obtained, these can be utilized in flow assurance modeling methods to describe asphaltene precipitation kinetics, and continuity of complex reservoirs. For the first time in literature, this study applies these modeling methods in combination with the AOP data acquired from a downhole WFT This approach has the potential to create a step change in reservoir analysis by providing AOP at the sand-face, along with insight that describe performance from asphaltene precipitation. The results of which have tremendous economic implications on production planning.
Gelvez, Camilo (The University of Texas at Austin) | Cedillo, Gerardo (BP America) | Soza, Eric (BP America) | Gonzalez, Doris (BP America) | Slotnick, Benjamin S. (BP America) | Moreno, Sol (BP America) | Pineda, Wilson (BP America) | Saidian, Milad (BP America) | Mullins, Oliver C. (Schlumberger) | Paul, Scott (Schlumberger) | Cañas, Jesus (Schlumberger) | Kulkarni, A lok (Schlumberger)
Abstract Reservoir Fluid Geodynamics (RFG) is a novel thermodynamic methodology that integrates pressure-volume-temperature (PVT), geochemical fingerprinting (GCFP) and reservoir geology with downhole fluid analysis (DFA) data to understand the evolution of reservoir fluids over geologic time. RFG enables the enhancement of reservoir description, estimation of reservoir fluid properties, and optimization of data acquisition plans. Deep-water reservoirs comprise multiple uncertainties in reservoir connectivity, viscous oil and flow assurance. This paper demonstrates the development of digital fluid sampling techniques for deep-water fields using the RFG workflow to predict fluid properties and distribution, to address compartmentalization uncertainties and flow assurance risks, as well as to redefine the well-logging program. Identifying key reservoir concerns is the first step during the implementation of the RFG workflow. Five questions define key reservoir concerns: Do optical density measurements explain the impact of biogenic methane on fluid behavior? Is it feasible to characterize baffling and fault compartmentalization? Can we predict reservoir fluid properties and assess flow assurance risks based on fluid behavior? Is it possible to identify all this in real time? How could we optimize future fluid sampling programs? The next step is to collect the available DFA data and to integrate it with the existing PVT and geochemistry datasets. This paper describes the evaluation of over 150 fluid sampling DFA measurements acquired during the operational history of a Gulf of Mexico field. Fluid behavior and optical density gradients are interpreted from a geological perspective to understand reservoir connectivity. A strong correlation between optical density and asphaltene content enables digital fluid sampling for different PVT and geochemical parameters. Lastly, a general correlation of optical density and asphaltene content is derived for multiple Gulf of Mexico oil fields. Optical density measurements support a consistent characterization of biogenic methane along the studied deep-water field, suggesting a relation to fluid migration and charging from deeper to shallower reservoirs. Likewise, optical density gradients and its integrated evaluation facilitate the identification of mass transport complex (MTC) baffles in the north part of the field and the characterization of fault compartments in the main reservoir sands. In addition, the RFG workflow reveals the difference in fluid behavior of sampled wells located in the area of a water injection project by identifying asphaltene clustering near the oil-water contact. The correlations of optical density and asphaltene content help to predict fluid properties and to estimate its uncertainty, benefiting risk assessment for asphaltenes deposits and flow assurance in deep water operations. Real time analysis of optical density measurements during fluid sampling permits the characterization of fluid properties and reservoir connectivity, optimizing future fluid sampling programs when fluid contamination reaches 10%. Ultimately, this innovative methodology conveys a general correlation to predict asphaltene content based on optical density measurements for deep-water reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico, enabling the possibility to predict reservoir fluid properties in real time fluid sampling operations.
Kumar, Shailesh (Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy) | Rajput, Vikrant Singh (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited) | Mahto, Vikas (Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) (Corresponding author)
Summary The development of concentrated and highly stable oil-in-water (O/W) emulsion is considered to be a cost-effective alternative for the transportation of produced heavy crude oils. However, the demulsification of a transported O/W emulsion is necessary once it reaches the destination. This article experimentally investigates the performance of four low-cost chemicals of varying water solubility as potential demulsifiers, independently and in combinations, for demulsifying two Indian heavy crude O/W emulsions prepared for pipeline transportation. The chemical demulsifiers used, in order of their higher water solubility, are: polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG) > polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate (Tween-80) > linear alkylbenzene sulfonic acid (LABSA) > n-octylamine (OA). For this study, stable O/W emulsions (in the 60:40 ratio) of two Indian heavy crude oils were prepared using high-frequency ultrasonic waves in the presence of Triton X-100 as a surfactant. Both crude oils were characterized at first based on their physicochemical properties, infrared (IR) spectrum, and rheological properties. Prepared O/W emulsions were characterized based on rheological properties and droplet size. A bottle test method with heating (using a water bath) and enhanced gravity (by centrifuge) has been used to study the demulsification efficiency of used chemicals. Complete demulsification of both emulsions was achieved as desired. The synergetic effect of the interaction between two suitable demulsifiers provided remarkably better performance than that of independent returns, leading to minimization of the amount of demulsifier and the energy requirement for complete demulsification of both emulsions.
Summary Uncertainties regarding the factors that influence asphaltene deposition in porous media (e.g., those resulting from oil composition, rock properties, and rock/fluid interaction) strongly affect the prediction of important variables, such as oil production. Besides, some aspects of these predictions are stochastic processes, such as the aggregation phenomenon of asphaltene precipitates. For this reason, a well-defined output from an asphaltene-deposition model might not be feasible. Instead of this, obtaining the probability distribution of important outputs (e.g., permeability reduction and oil production) should be the objective of rigorous modeling of this phenomenon. This probability distribution would support the design of a risk-based policy for the prevention and mitigation of asphaltene deposition. In this paper we aim to present a new approach to assessing the risk of formation damage caused by asphaltene deposition using Monte Carlo simulations. Using this approach, the probability-distribution function of the permeability reduction was obtained. To connect this information to a parameter more related to economic concepts, the probability distribution of the damage ratio (DR) was also calculated, which is the fraction of production loss caused by formation damage. A hypothetical scenario involving a decision in the asphaltene-prevention policy is presented as an application of the method. A novel approach to model the prevention of asphaltene aggregation using inhibitors has been proposed and successfully applied in this scenario.
Abstract Asphaltene precipitation and deposition occur in the reservoir, near-wellbore, inside the tubing, and production facilities during primary, secondary, or tertiary production. As more water-flooded oil fields produce under miscible gas flooding, this problem becomes more common around the world. If asphaltene deposition occurs in the reservoir or wellbore, it can severely affect the economics of the field in terms of production loss, intervention cost, and the requirement for chemical additives, if necessary. In some severe cases, intervention would be impossible and side-track well needs to be drilled. Hence, the best strategy for oil production in asphaltenic reservoirs is to control asphaltene precipitation and deposition through prevention and remediation jobs to minimize the number of well shut-ins, the downtime of the wells, and the associated cost. In this paper, we reviewed the common asphaltene prevention and remediation techniques along with their pros and cons. Since removing asphaltene deposits from the problematic wells is relatively expensive and sometimes requires substantial downtime of the well, we focused on one of the prevention techniques (i.e., continuous solvent injection through capillary injection string), which has become more popular, to control asphaltene precipitation in the wellbore. We obtained the physical properties of an aromatic solvent from literature and then characterized it as a component to be used with PC-SAFT EOS. Subsequently, we used the in-house wellbore model to evaluate the effectiveness of the continuous solvent injection with different injection rates on preventing asphaltene precipitation and deposition along the wellbore.
Summary The ability of geochemistry techniques in reservoir-continuity studies has already been proved. Most of the traditional methods mainly involve analyzing nonpolar components of crude oil and overlooking polar components. Despite valuable information obtained from nonpolar components, these compounds are sometimes affected by various alterations or likely provide only a piece of the reservoir-compartmentalization puzzle. In this paper, an integrated geochemical approach that uses nonpolar (i.e., saturates and aromatics) and polar (i.e., asphaltenes) components of crude oil was performed to evaluate reservoir continuity efficiently. The Shadegan Oil Field in the Dezful Embayment in southwest Iran was investigated for reservoir-continuity studies to show the efficiency of this proposed technique. The selected interparaffin peak ratios and light hydrocarbons [the C7 oil correlation star diagram (C7CSD)] from whole-oil gas chromatography (GC) (WOGC) chromatograms were used to obtain oil fingerprints from the nonpolar fraction of crude oils. The Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy of asphaltenes was applied to obtain oil fingerprints from the polar fraction of crude oils. The pairwise comparison of studied wells by each technique was summarized in a similarity matrix with green, yellow, and red colors to show connectivity, limited connectivity, and disconnectivity according to oil fingerprints. Finally, a compartmentalization model was prepared from the integrated results of different techniques considering the worst-case scenarios regarding the occurrence or absence of reservoir continuity when relying on individual methods for the studied field. Results show that the Shadegan Oil Field comprises three zones in the Asmari Reservoir and two zones in the Bangestan Reservoir. Reservoir-engineering data, including pressure data and pressure/volume/temperature (PVT), completely corroborated the obtained results from the geochemical approach. The consistency of results suggested FTIR oil fingerprinting of asphaltene as a novel and straightforward technique, which is a complementary or even alternative method with respect to previous geochemical methods.