An important challenge in the oil industry is to transport crude oils through pipelines while minimizing potential transport issues like formation damage and plugging of wellbores, production facilities, and pipelines due to asphaltenes agglomeration.
Asphaltenes agglomeration occurs when the equilibrium of the asphaltene and resins is altered due to the changing flow conditions during transportation. Since the viscosity of crude oil which is a key governing parameter in fluid transportation in pipelines and asphaltenes content are both closely related – any fluctuation in the temperature, pressure, and oil composition in the pipelines can easier trigger an industrial debacle.
The company is seeking chemical flow improvers i.e. surfactants, polymers, small molecules, etc. and analytical/computational methods to study the mechanism of asphaltenes agglomeration.
Chemical Flow Improvers
The transportation of highly viscous reservoir fluids is a demanding industrial tasks and chemicals like flow improvers are often added to tackle this issue. Here, the company is keen to explore viscosity-reducing chemical-based technology for super heavy oil. The chemical solution should have at least one of these capabilities:
- To improve stability of asphaltene
- To prevent agglomeration
- To maintain/alter dispersion
- To prevent/ reduce deposition on/ adherence of deposited asphaltenes to surfaces
- To easily remove adhered asphaltenes from pipe and equipment surfaces without stopping the flow of crude oil
Analytical or Computational Methods
Due to the complexity of petroleum, any thermodynamic modeling of the asphaltene precipitation requires many approximations and assumptions which is a challenge to provide a reliable predictive model. The company is keen to explore analytical and predicative technologies to understand agglomeration/dispersion mechanism in specific oil conditions with these focus:
1. Analysis the stability of asphaltene fraction in the production fluid matrix
- Measure stability
- Monitor stability across the length of the well and its flow lines
- Identify/ assess the most critical points along the flow that affect asphaltene stability
- Qualitatively detect loss of stability
- Predict loss of stability
2. Analysis the agglomeration and dispersion of Asphaltene in crude oil
- Measure level of agglomeration and/or dispersion
- Predict or detect onset of agglomeration and /or dispersion
3. Asphaltene deposition on/ adherence to surfaces
- Predict or detect propensity of asphaltenes to deposit