As a result of hydrothermal stress induced by steam injection in reservoirs, heavy crudes undergo chemical transformations, called aquathermolysis, the extent of which depends at least on steam temperature, injection history and both crude and mineral matrix physicochemical properties. As heavy crudes often have high sulfur content, their hydrothermal alteration results in the formation of H2S. In order to predict artificial H2S emissions during thermal EOR, we seek to develop a geochemical model to be coupled with a 3D reservoir simulator.

This paper presents the first step of the process that consists in simulating in-situ aquathermoysis in laboratory in order to derive a 0D compositional kinetic model for H2S formation.

For that purpose, aquathermolysis experiments were performed on an Athabasca oil sand sample. The amount of H2S generated during aquathermolysis was measured for different time and temperature conditions. At the same time, sulfur distribution was quantified over crude SARA fractions (Saturates, Aromatics, Resins and Asphaltenes) and insoluble fraction (mainly mineral), before and after aquathermolysis. Experimental results were then derived to elaborate a kinetic model of H2S generation upon aquathermolysis, encompassing the chemical conversion of sulfur in SARA and insoluble fractions.

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