Asphaltene deposition may occur during primary or gas miscible injection recoveries, taking place almost at any stage of production from the reservoir all the way to surface facilities. Change of reservoir oil chemical composition, temperature and/or pressure during depletion leads to a state of disequilibrium that induces asphaltene precipitation causing major production problems. Asphaltenes are the polyaromatic and polar components of crude oil that are insoluble in lower molecular fractions of oil but soluble in toluene and benzene. Numerous experiments and investigations have been performed on crude oils in an attempt to understand asphaltene precipitation phenomenon that profoundly affects the economics of oil production in many reservoirs around the world. However, the problem with these experiments lies in the fact that they predominantly apply identical approaches to investigate asphaltene short-term removal and not digging enough into preventive measures.
This study presents a novel approach to tackle the asphaltene deposition problem by virtue of applying a DC current on an oil sample to move the asphaltene colloids to one of the electrodes. Asphaltene colloid particles in this experiment proved to possess negative charges. Evidently, the asphaltene particles moved and deposited on the anode resulting in all the asphaltene being extracted from the oil. The use of an electric current in this experiment shows that this approach can be implemented in the reservoir by drawing all the negatively charged particles to a dumpster well as discussed below. Results from the experimental work and analyses are very encouraging for more investigation that might lead to something that sought for the longest time.