Deposition of organic solids high in asphaltene content (tar, bitumen) in reservoirs from natural processes is a routine occurrence around the world. Nevertheless, there is a bewildering array of deposition characteristics as shown in recent case studies. Sometimes this tar or bitumen (both are really the same material) is at or near the crest; sometimes it is on interlayers within a heterolithic sequence (baffles) or at the base of the reservoir which can be tens of kilometers away from the crest. Sometimes the bitumen deposition is such that the corresponding formation remains permeable; sometimes the tar zone is totally impermeable. Sometimes the tar at the base of the reservoir represents a more or less continuous increase in asphaltenes from the oil immediately above the tar; sometimes there is a sharp, discontinuous increase in asphaltene content from the oil to the tar. And particularly for upstructure bitumen, sometimes the bitumen is deposited throughout the entire producing interval (in a well); at other times the bitumen deposition is only at the base of the producing interval. This paper shows that ALL of these variable tar or bitumen characteristics can be understood within simple concepts that treat the dissolved asphaltene in crude oils and the deposited asphaltene within the same framework. This framework utilizes simple chemical solution characterisitcs that are formally expressed in the Flory-Huggins-Zuo Equation of State for asphaltene gradients with its reliance on the Yen-Mullins model of asphaltenes. Multiple charges of incompatible fluids lead to asphaltene deposition. The extent of slow, diffusive destabilization from density stacking charge fluids versus rapid destabilization from a secondary lateral fluid front controls much of the characteristics of deposited asphaltene. Consequently, the proximity of the well to reservoir charge points as well as petrophysical parameters of the formations are very important parameters. The ideas herein enable projection of the nature of asphaltene deposition away from a wellbore to other locations in the reservoir. This capability greatly assists the ability to understand the impact of asphaltene deposition on production.

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