Construction, Validation, and Application of Digital Oil: Investigation of Asphaltene Association Toward Asphaltene-Precipitation Prediction
- Shumpei Sugiyama (Kyoto University) | Yunfeng Liang (University of Tokyo) | Sumihiko Murata (Kyoto University) | Toshifumi Matsuoka (Fukada Geological Institute) | Masato Morimoto (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) | Tomoya Ohata (Japan Petroleum Exploration Company Limited) | Masanori Nakano (Japan Petroleum Exploration Company Limited) | Edo S. Boek (University of Cambridge)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- June 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 952 - 968
- 2018.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Crude Oil Molecular Model, Molecular Dynamics Simulation, Asphaltene, Digital Oil
- 6 in the last 30 days
- 214 since 2007
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Digital oil, a realistic molecular model of crude oil for a target reservoir, opens a new door to understand properties of crude oil under a wide range of thermodynamic conditions. In this study, we constructed a digital oil to model a light crude oil using analytical experiments after separating the light crude oil into gas, light and heavy fractions, and asphaltenes. The gas and light fractions were analyzed by gas chromatography (GC), and 105 kinds of molecules, including normal alkanes, isoalkanes, naphthenes, alkylbenzenes, and polyaromatics (with a maximum of three aromatic rings), were directly identified. The heavy fraction and asphaltenes were analyzed by elemental analysis, molecular-weight (MW) measurement with gel-permeation chromatography (GPC), and hydrogen and carbon nuclear-magnetic-resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and represented by the quantitative molecular-representation method, which provides a mixture model imitating distributions of the crude-oil sample. Because of the low weight concentration of asphaltenes in the light crude oil (approximately 0.1 wt%), the digital oil model was constructed by mixing the gas, light-, and heavy-fraction models. To confirm the validity of the digital oil, density and viscosity were calculated over a wide range of pressures at the reservoir temperature by molecular-dynamics (MD) simulations. Because only experimental data for the liquid phase were available, we predicted the liquid components of the digital oil at pressures lower than 16.3 MPa (i.e., the bubblepoint pressure) by flash calculation, and calculated the liquid density by MD simulation. The calculated densities coincided with the experimental values at all pressures in the range from 0.1 to 29.5 MPa. We calculated the viscosity of the liquid phase at the same pressures by two independent methods. The calculated viscosities were in good agreement with each other. Moreover, the viscosity change with pressure was consistent with the experimental data. As a step for application of digital oil to predict asphaltene-precipitation risk, we calculated dimerization free energy of asphaltenes (which we regarded as asphaltene self-association energy) in the digital oil at the reservoir condition, using MD simulation with the umbrella sampling method. The calculated value is consistent with reported values used in phase-equilibrium calculation. Digital oil is a powerful tool to help us understand mechanisms of molecular-scale phenomena in oil reservoirs and solve problems in the upstream and downstream petroleum industry.
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