Distributed-Temperature-Sensing Method Detects Wax and Optimizes Treatment
- Adam Wilson (JPT Editorial Manager)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 122 - 126
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 124 since 2007
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This article, written by Editorial Manager Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 156077, "Use of Distributed Temperature Sensing for Wax Detection and Treatment Optimization," by Manuel Guzman, Brunei Shell Petroleum, prepared for the 2012 SPE International Production and Operations Conference and Exhibition, Doha, Qatar, 14-16 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) has been commercially available for more than a decade; however, only recently has it been used in the oil industry. Interpretation of the data has been difficult, and, therefore, its value has been questioned. The author presents an original technique of monitoring wax buildup through the use of the DTS data. Pressure/volume/temperature analysis from an appraisal well showed significant wax content, and DTS provided temperature trends that showed temperature decline in a section of the tubing string. The decline was caused by the additional layer of wax between the crude oil and the gas-filled annulus.
DTS has been employed for reservoir monitoring since the 1990s. Application for monitoring on steam-assisted gravity drainage was one of the earlier documented uses. During the last decade, the acquired data have been interpreted for different applications, mainly because of a larger number of installations around the world.
The temperature profile provided for each well in this study has been recorded and is available for evaluation. Nevertheless, current software capabilities allow only qualitative interpretation of the data. Therefore, the time required for monitoring each of the wells is significantly higher than initially expected. Experienced production engineers are required to get the most value out of the large amount of data collected.
During analysis of fluid data from appraisal wells, paraffinic components were identified as part of the crude-oil composition. Several tests were conducted to determine the depositional temperature, and the results showed that wax precipitation could occur along the shallow section of tubing string if the deepest reservoirs were produced alone. However, mixtures of oil from shallow and deep reservoirs reduce the precipitation of paraffinic ends on the tubing string. The field development concept was to produce all four zones simultaneously to minimize wax deposition in the tubing and to install pigging facilities for surface lines.
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