Multiphase flow modeling of asphaltene precipitation and deposition
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
2 Petroleum Division, Research Institute of Petroleum Industry (RIPI), Tehran, Iran
3 Department of Petroleum Engineering, Petroleum University of Technology (PUT), Ahvaz, Iran
4 Discipline of Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus, King George V Avenue, Durban 4041, South Africa
Accepted: 16 July 2018
Asphaltene precipitation in reservoirs during production and Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) can cause serious problems that lead to reduction of reservoir fluid production. In order to study asphaltene tendency to precipitate and change in flow rate as a function of distance from wellbore, an equation of state (Peng-Robinson) based model namely Nghiem et al.’s model has been employed in this study. The heaviest components of crude oil are separated into two parts: The first portion is considered as non-precipitating component (C31A+) and the second one is considered as precipitating component (C31B+) and the precipitated asphaltene is considered as pure solid. For determination of the acentric factor and critical properties, Lee-Kesler and Twu correlations are employed, respectively. In this study, a multiphase flow (oil, gas and asphaltene) model for an asphaltenic crude oil for which asphaltene is considered as solid particles (precipitated, flocculated and deposited particles), has been developed. Furthermore, effect of asphaltene precipitation on porosity and permeability reduction has been studied. Results of this study indicate that asphaltene tendency to precipitate increases and permeability of porous medium decreases by increasing oil flow rate in under-saturated oil reservoirs and dropping reservoir pressure under bubble point pressure. On the other hand, asphaltene tendency to precipitate decreases with pressure reduction to a level lower than bubble point pressure where asphaltene starts to dissolve back into oil phase. Moreover, it is observed that precipitation zone around the wellbore develops with time as pressure declines to bubble point pressure (production rate increases up). Also, there is an equilibrium area near wellbore region at which reservoir fluid properties such as UAOP (Upper Asphaltene Onset Pressure) and LAOP (Lower Asphaltene Onset Pressure) are constant and independent of the distance from wellbore.
© A. Tabzar et al., published by IFP Energies nouvelles, 2018
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