Asphaltene Stability of Some Iraqi Dead Crude oils
Asphaltene is one of the fractions of the crude oil which is soluble in aromatics such as benzene or toluene and insoluble in alkane such as n-heptane, n-pentane or petroleum ether (mixture of alkane compounds). Asphaltene precipitation is one of the most common problems that sometimes occurs in both oil recovery and refinery processes as a result of changing in pressure, oil composition, or temperature. Therefore the stability of asphaltene in the crude oil must be studied to show the tendency of it for precipitating asphaltene to prevent it (Asphaltene precipitation and deposition problem) and eliminate the burden of high treatment costs.
In the present study, saturate, aromatic, resin and asphaltene (SARA) analysis of the six dead crude oil samples from different Iraqi oil fields was conducted by using open column liquid chromatography after separating the asphaltene from them through filtration process. The asphaltene stability of dead crude oil samples was studied depending on changing the composition of them by adding the petroleum ether as an alkane and using colloidal instability index (CII) to determine the tendency of these crude oil samples to precipitate asphaltene depending on the SARA analysis results of these dead crude oils.
All of dead crude oil samples showed the instability of asphaltene depending on this index and this means that all of them might precipitate asphaltene if the composition of these crude oil samples changed due to existing with the alkane in the live case in wells (Live oil is oil containing gas phase at reservoir conditions) such as injection of gas which has high ratio of alkane or the expanding the gas in the oil when the pressure decreases until reaches bubble point pressure.
The refractive index of the dead crude oil samples was measured experimentally and calculated by two correlations which were Fan et al. correlation and Chamkalani correlation. The last one showed the best match between the experimental and calculated values of the refractive index of the dead crude oil samples.