Composition and Heavy Oil Rheology

Abstract : Increasing energy demand persuades oil companies to exploit heavy crude oil and extra-heavy crude oil resources. These crudes are essentially characterized by high viscosity that makes impossible surface transportation in their natural state (high pressure drops). Our investigation procedure was to perform both rheological and structural experiments (Small Angle X-ray Scattering SAXS) in order to link macroscopic and microscopic properties of crudes. We studied the influence of the two heaviest and most polar components of the crude: asphaltenes and resins. Results showed the major influence of asphaltenes on viscosity of crude oils. Two viscosity domains, confirmed in SAXS, proved the existence of a critical concentration above which asphaltenes are no longer independent particles but are overlapped. Influence of resins has been developed in aromatic solvent and when adding a model molecule of resins: nonylphenol. It has been shown that resins reduce the influence of asphaltenes on viscosity. They act in two ways: in one part, they act as a stabilizing agent by covering asphaltenes and in the other part, they dissociate asphaltenes by diminishing both size and molecular mass of asphaltenes. The influence of resins has been confirmed in real crude. Then it was shown that small addition of alcohol in aromatic solvent reduced the association of asphaltenes
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Charles Pierre, L. Barré, A. Pina, M. Moan. Composition and Heavy Oil Rheology. Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, Institut Français du Pétrole, 2004, 59 (5), pp.489-501. ⟨10.2516/ogst:2004034⟩. ⟨hal-02017321⟩

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