Asphaltene precipitation and deposition is considered one of the prevailing issues during carbon dioxide (CO2) gas injection in gas enhanced oil recovery techniques, which leads to pore plugging, oil recovery reduction, and damaged surface and subsurface equipment. This research provides a comprehensive investigation of the effect of immiscible and miscible CO2 gas injection in nanopore shale structures on asphaltene instability in crude oil. A slimtube was used to determine the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP) of the CO2. This step is important to ensure that the immiscible and miscible conditions will be achieved during the filtration experiments. For the filtration experiments, nanocomposite filter paper membranes were used to mimic the unconventional shale pore structure, and a specially designed filtration apparatus was used to accommodate the filter paper membranes. The uniform distribution (i.e., same pore size filters) was used to illustrate the influence of the ideal shale reservoir structure and to provide an idea on how asphaltene will deposit when utilizing the heterogeneous distribution (i.e., various pore size filters) that depicts the real shale structure. The factors investigated include immiscible and miscible CO2 injection pressures, temperature, CO2 soaking time, and pore size structure heterogeneity. Visualization tests were undertaken after the filtration experiments to provide a clear picture of the asphaltene precipitation and deposition process over time. The results showed an increase in asphaltene weight precent in all experiments of the filtration tests. The severity of asphaltene aggregations was observed at a higher rate under miscible CO2 injection. It was observed that the miscible conditions have a higher impact on asphaltene instability compared to immiscible conditions. The results revealed that the asphaltene deposition was almost equal across all the paper membranes for each pressure used when using a uniform distribution. Higher asphaltene weight percent were determined on smaller pore structures of the membranes when using heterogeneous distribution. Soaking time results revealed that increasing the soaking time resulted in an increase in asphaltene weight precent, especially for 60 and 120 minutes. Visualization tests showed that after 1 hour, the asphaltene clusters started to precipitate and could be seen in the uppermost section of the test tubes and were fully deposited after 12 hours with less clusters found in the supernatant. Also, smaller pore size of filter membranes showed higher asphaltene weight percent after the visualization test. Chromatography analysis provided further evaluation on how asphaltene was reduced though the filtration experiments. Microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging of the filter paper membranes showed the severity of pore plugging in the structure of the membranes. This research highlights the impact of CO2 injection on asphaltene instability in crude oil in nanopore structures under immiscible and miscible conditions. The findings in this research can be used for further research of asphaltene deposition under gas injection and to scale up the results for better understanding of the main factors that may influence asphaltene aggregation in real shale unconventional reservoirs.

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