Asphaltene Behavior during Thermal Recovery: A Molecular Study Based on Realistic Structures

Saad Alafnan
2022 Minerals  
Asphaltene precipitation and deposition can occur at both the surface and subsurface levels, leading to the formation of organic-based scales. Asphaltene precipitation can also lead to changes in petrophysical properties such as wettability, which affects the ultimate recovery. Asphaltene precipitation is linked to changes in fluid composition driven by pressure drawdown and temperature variation across the reservoir. Thus, asphaltene deposition can adversely influence the ultimate recovery.
more » ... rmal recovery methods are invoked to mitigate the adverse effects of asphaltene precipitation. The behavior of asphaltene under thermal recovery along with the link between the asphaltene molecular structure and its response to the increase in temperature during thermal recovery are not fully understood. In this paper, realistic asphaltene structures based on actual crude samples were recreated on a computational platform, and several characteristics of the asphaltene structures (density, viscosity, and interfacial tension) were evaluated during the heating process. The density of asphaltene was correlated with the percentage of aromatic carbon in its structure. The viscosity and interfacial tension decreased substantially as the temperature increased. The IFT reduced by approximately 30 mN/m as the temperature was increased from 300 K to 450 K. Moreover, the mechanical stability of asphaltene was found to be highly influenced by heating. The findings provide nanoscale insights into the behavior of asphaltene during thermal recovery, which can be used to improve the design of thermal recovery processes.
doi:10.3390/min12101315 fatcat:vl57yx5hqreu5leh4en3whpcpi