Evaluation of Wax Deposition and Its Control During Production of Alaska North Slope Oils

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Due to increasing oil demand, oil companies are moving into arctic environments and deep-water areas for oil production. In these regions of lower temperatures, wax deposits begin to form when the temperature in the wellbore falls below wax appearance temperature (WAT). This condition leads to reduced production rates and larger pressure drops. Wax problems in production wells are very costly due to production down time for removal of wax. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a solution to wax deposition. In order to develop a solution to wax deposition, it is essential to characterize the crude oil and study phase ... continued below

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Zhu, Tao; Walker, Jack A. & Liang, J. December 31, 2008.

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Description

Due to increasing oil demand, oil companies are moving into arctic environments and deep-water areas for oil production. In these regions of lower temperatures, wax deposits begin to form when the temperature in the wellbore falls below wax appearance temperature (WAT). This condition leads to reduced production rates and larger pressure drops. Wax problems in production wells are very costly due to production down time for removal of wax. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a solution to wax deposition. In order to develop a solution to wax deposition, it is essential to characterize the crude oil and study phase behavior properties. The main objective of this project was to characterize Alaskan North Slope crude oil and study the phase behavior, which was further used to develop a dynamic wax deposition model. This report summarizes the results of the various experimental studies. The subtasks completed during this study include measurement of density, molecular weight, viscosity, pour point, wax appearance temperature, wax content, rate of wax deposition using cold finger, compositional characterization of crude oil and wax obtained from wax content, gas-oil ratio, and phase behavior experiments including constant composition expansion and differential liberation. Also, included in this report is the development of a thermodynamic model to predict wax precipitation. From the experimental study of wax appearance temperature, it was found that wax can start to precipitate at temperatures as high as 40.6 C. The WAT obtained from cross-polar microscopy and viscometry was compared, and it was discovered that WAT from viscometry is overestimated. From the pour point experiment it was found that crude oil can cease to flow at a temperature of 12 C. From the experimental results of wax content, it is evident that the wax content in Alaskan North Slope crude oil can be as high as 28.57%. The highest gas-oil ratio for a live oil sample was observed to be 619.26 SCF/STB. The bubblepoint pressure for live oil samples varied between 1600 psi and 2100 psi. Wax precipitation is one of the most important phenomena in wax deposition and, hence, needs to be modeled. There are various models present in the literature. Won's model, which considers the wax phase as a non-ideal solution, and Pedersen's model, which considers the wax phase as an ideal solution, were compared. Comparison indicated that Pedersen's model gives better results, but the assumption of wax phase as an ideal solution is not realistic. Hence, Won's model was modified to consider different precipitation characteristics of the various constituents in the hydrocarbon fraction. The results obtained from the modified Won's model were compared with existing models, and it was found that predictions from the modified model are encouraging.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-01NT41248
  • DOI: 10.2172/963363 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 963363
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc926120

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • December 31, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 8, 2016, 3:51 p.m.

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Zhu, Tao; Walker, Jack A. & Liang, J. Evaluation of Wax Deposition and Its Control During Production of Alaska North Slope Oils, report, December 31, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc926120/: accessed June 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.