Asphaltene deposition problems in Kuwait have become a serious issue in a number of reservoirs during primary production in different fields, resulting in a severe detrimental effect on the economics of oil recovery. Hence, one of the mitigation approaches in the field is using remedial solvent treatments, such as Xylene or Toluene, which is very costly and harmful to the environment.
Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) is planning to produce from asphaltinic Marrat wells that have been shut down due to low bottom-hole pressure (BHP), by artificial lifting technique using an Electric Submersible Pump (ESP) supported with continuous chemical injection, as a pilot. The main objective of this study was to investigate in the lab the effectiveness of various concentrations of toluene/diesel (T/D) mixtures on Marrat reservoir fluid in order to mitigate asphaltene deposition problem during the actual pilot implementation.
Preliminary screening tests were conducted on the surface oil sample using Solid Detection System (SDS) "laser technique" to determine the optimum dose of the T/D mixture ratio. The results showed that pure diesel accelerated the asphaltene precipitation; however, mixing T/D inhibited the precipitation process. Series of pressure depletion tests was then conducted on live oil, single phase samples, to determine the Asphaltene Onset Pressure (AOP) with and without adding various ration of T/D solvents at different temperatures from reservoir to surface conditions.
The results revealed that using 15% (by volume of oil) from the (50T:50D) mixture reduced the AOP close to the bubble point pressure. Furthermore, the amount of the precipitated asphaltene was physically quantified using a bulk filtration technique. It was observed that, based on blank sample, the wt% of the precipitated asphaltene was minimized at the AOP and maximized at the bubble point. However, using the recommended mixture of 50T/50D, the amount of asphaltene that precipitated was almost negligible. Therefore, from a health, safety, and economic point of view, this study recommends using a low dose of 7.5% (by volume of oil) from toluene mixture with diesel (50%:50%) rather than using pure toluene to prevent the precipitation.