Recently observed production behavior in a maturing carbonate oil reservoir indicated that many production strings were getting plugged with solid scales, requiring tubing clean-out jobs. This is the main reservoir of a supergiant onshore carbonate oil field operated by ADCO since 1973. Some cases proved to be no more than calcium carbonate scaling following water breakthrough and the tubing blockage was successfully treated with acid washing. A number of plugged strings revealed that a non-mineral hard scale was the cause of the blockage. Upon analysis, such scales proved to have an organic composition rich in asphaltenes. While solvent washing was successful in removing the blockage, rapid reoccurrence was observed in many cases. The subsurface asset team embarked on a detailed reservoir monitoring and fluid compatibility study to establish causative factors. One of the aims of the study was to check a possible link between the asphaltenes deposition with a naturally occurring tarmat and a rich-gas injection pilot, both located in the severely affected part of the reservoir. This work revealed that although the severity of the problem is higher in the tarmat area, asphaltenes mobilization from the tarmat layer was not considered a realistic mechanism. Although PVT studies revealed that rich gas dissolution in the crude at reservoir conditions triggered asphaltenes instability and precipitation but occurrence of asphaltenes deposition in the field seemed unrelated to the rich-gas injection as the injected gas was moving in a different reservoir subzone. Most of the plugged strings were unlikely to have had gas breakthrough at the time of problem detection and no clear spatial relationship could be evidenced. A preferred explanation may be that asphaltenes precipitation is related to differences in crude oil composition within the studied reservoir. The reservoir might have seen successive oil influxes from two source rocks with wide distribution of mixing ratios. Asphaltenes originating from one of the source rocks might cause greater fluid instability even at the observed low concentrations. Production rate sensitivities indicated that asphaltenes blockage was retarded at higher production rates. Many asphaltenes dispersant/inhibitor chemicals were evaluated for effective tubing clean-out and preventing asphaltenes deposition. Some chemicals proved to be more effective in mitigation and prevention of asphaltenes deposition.

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