Effect of Asphaltene Precipitation and Deposition on Miscible Viscous Fingering in Porous Media — High-Resolution Nonlinear Numerical Simulations
- Nasser Sabet (University of Calgary) | Mohammadjavad Mohammadi (University of Calgary) | Ali Zirahi (University of Calgary) | Mohsen Zirrahi (University of Calgary) | Hassan Hassanzadeh (University of Calgary) | Jalal Abedi (University of Calgary)
- 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
- Enhanced Oil Recovery, Miscible Displacement, Viscous Fingering, Asphaltene Precipitation
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This work focuses on modeling the miscible viscous fingering in porous media accounting for asphaltene precipitation and deposition. The mass balance equations for solvent and asphaltene are defined, and the highly nonlinear system of equations is solved numerically through hybridization of compact finite difference and pseudo-spectral methods. We explain how asphaltene precipitation and the resulting formation damage influence the growth of viscous fingers.
To conduct our analysis, we use the experimental data for the amount of asphaltene precipitation at different solvent mass fractions and also oil viscosity at various asphaltene and solvent contents. This data is measured in our lab and is used as input for the nonlinear numerical simulations. For these simulations, the conventional finite difference schemes cannot be applied as they suffer from the excessive computational time and most importantly, numerical dispersion. Therefore, we employ hybrid techniques to benefit from the high accuracy of spectral methods and capture the nonlinear dynamics of fingerings on very fine grids.
Hydrocarbons such as light n-alkanes are widely used as diluents in the production and upgrading of heavy oils. The addition of a diluent to heavy oil or bitumen alters the chemical forces acting within the mixture, leading to the precipitation of asphaltenes. It is hypothesized that precipitation of asphaltene from oil changes the viscosity behavior of the mixture, influences the dynamics of viscous fingering, and therefore affects the oil recovery. Moreover, asphaltene deposition alters the porosity and permeability of the porous media and might modify the flow paths, leading to possible formation damage. Our results show that asphaltene precipitates are mostly accumulated in the contact interface between the solvent and oil. The major asphaltene deposition occurs along the growing fingers leading to permeability reductions up to 30% in the studied cases.
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