This paper presents an overview of the different flow assurance issues associated with naphthenic acids. In field development projects a good understanding of naphthenic acid phase behavior is essential to avoid unplanned plant changes and deferment. Good data on naphthenic acid content and speciation is obtained by using a representative sample. Basic measurements (e.g. TAN) are not sufficient to obtain a detailed understanding of the flow assurance issues regarding a particular crude oil. Infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, high and low resolution, are the preferred tools for analysis of crude oils. The target naphthenic acid species, e.g. ARN or fatty acids will dictate the best suited method selected for analysis. Geochemical analysis of crude oils has helped to highlight some common features which can be used for prediction purposes. For bound soap scale-forming crude oils, a large amount of complexed acids result in emulsions which are difficult to break. Chemical treatments are needed and these should be identified early in the project stages. For soap scale-forming crude oils chemical treatment requires in depth analysis of topsides equipment and impact on existing chemical portfolio. Surveillance of soap scale-forming crude oils is possible using readily available equipment. For soap emulsion-forming crude oils, paraffin precipitation adds to the stability of the emulsion formed. Chemical treatment and heat is required for best results. Use of stock tank sample properties can be used for predictions regarding the type of naphthenic acid issue to be expected for particular crude oil sets.

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