Novel Non-Aromatic Non-Ionic Rheology Modifiers for High Paraffinic Crude Oils
- Khatere Sokhanvarian (Sasol Performance Chemicals) | Alfa Diarra (Sasol Performance Chemicals) | Jorge Fernandez (Sasol Performance Chemicals) | Cornell Stanciu (Sasol Performance Chemicals)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 30 September - 2 October, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2019. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Flow assurance, Wax crystals, High paraffinic crude, Rheology
- 3 in the last 30 days
- 220 since 2007
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Wax and paraffin precipitation is a major problem around the world, costing the petroleum industry billions of dollars yearly. As temperature drops below the Wax Appearance or Wax Precipitation Temperature (WAT/WPT) of crudes, paraffin starts to precipitate out and restrict or block the effective flow. There are different methods, such as mechanical and chemical remediation to deal with wax issues. Among the latter ones, the use of surfactants is favorably looked upon since they are small molecules with surface activity properties. This study aims to introduce novel aliphatic non-ionic surfactants with different chain length and degree of ethoxylation. In addition to chain length, the impact of branching on the hydrophobic part of the surfactants was also studied.
A waxy crude oil from Brazil was characterized through determining its carbon distribution, WAT, viscosity and density based on industry standard methods. Several surfactants with different combinations of chain length/ethoxylation number were then selected for screening. The performance of surfactants was evaluated based on data obtained from treated crude versus the control sample through different experiments. Rheology studies were conducted at 50 to -10°C and at shear rates of 5 and 300 s-1. The cold finger instrument was utilized to determine paraffin content of the untreated and treated crude. Finally, the paraffin crystal size was analyzed through microscopic studies.
The results showed that shear rate can affect the wax treatment outcome as well as the effective concentration of surfactant. Therefore, it is important to assess the rheology at high and low shear rates. Some surfactants in the present study performed great at both low and high shear rates and were able to reduce the viscosity by 80% at temperatures well below WAT of the crude oil. The microscopy results confirmed that wax crystals were reduced in size and were more dispersed after treating the crude with these surfactants. The findings from High Temperature Gas Chromatography showed that the deposition of heavy fraction part of crude (C40+) is reduced after treating the crude oil with the surfactants in the present study.
The current study addresses the wax precipitation/deposition challenges of heavy crudes and proposes mitigating them through the use of some new non-aromatic non-ionic surfactants. The chemistries and findings of this research help the oil and gas industry to save money and time by mitigating flow assurance problems.
|File Size||1 MB||Number of Pages||16|
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