A Potential Approach to Predict Wax Precipitation from Reservoir Core Analysis

Abstract : In the context of reducing production costs for the oil industry, this paper aims to suggest a way for predicting wax precipitation at an early stage of the reservoir characterization and production process. In this respect, reservoir core extracts and production oil-saturated fractions have been herein analyzed by high temperature gas chromatography (HTGC) in order to quantify the high molecular weight hydrocarbons (HMWHC) which are at the origin of wax deposits in the tubing and surface facilities. Samples of oils and associated reservoir cores from two adjacent but non-communicating fields are considered in this paper. Wax deposition is documented for Field P but not for Field A. It is demonstrated that the reservoir core extract of Field P is substantially enriched in HMWHC when compared to the produced oil, whereas for Field A, with no production problems, both profiles (oil and reservoir core extracts) are similar and depleted in HMWHC. These results suggest that fields exhibiting a risk of wax precipitation could be identified during the exploration phase as soon as reservoir cores are available. Moreover, it can be envisioned that such additional data provided by the saturates distribution can potentially be used in future thermodynamic models (derived from those currently applied for assessing wax precipitation in pipelines during the transport of produced oil) in order to quantitatively predict, at an early stage of reservoir characterization, paraffins precipitation in reservoirs and tubings during production. The preliminary computed results obtained for the produced oil and the reservoir rock extract of Field P indicate that the temperature of paraffin crystallization onset is significantly under-estimated when using the composition of tank oil (42°C)-heavy paraffins are already deposited. On the other hand, the predictive calculation, using the core extract (52°C) and which can be performed as soon as a core sample is available, will allow us to minimize the risk of paraffin deposition during production and transportation. Corresponding author (I. Kowalewski)
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A. Y. Huc, G. Guehenneux, I. Kowalewski, E. Behar, V. Ruffier-Meray. A Potential Approach to Predict Wax Precipitation from Reservoir Core Analysis. Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, Institut Français du Pétrole, 2002, 57 (2), pp.139-147. ⟨10.2516/ogst:2002010⟩. ⟨hal-02043929⟩

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