Modeling of asphaltene deposition in a production tubing



Asphaltene deposition phenomena are investigated both theoretically and experimentally. A Couette device, where the inner cylinder rotates and particles deposit on the outer wall, is used for deposition laboratory studies. A deposition modeling approach, recently proposed by the authors is improved. Empirical parameters of the model are obtained from Couette device experiments. The deposition mechanism peculiarities are explained based on an analogy between the deposition and water in oil emulsion stabilization by asphaltenes, and on an analysis of interaction of asphaltene molecules. The model performance is illustrated by modeling oil production, accompanied with asphaltene deposition, from a cylindrical reservoir through vertical tubing. The computations, performed for a reservoir depleting over time, demonstrate a good qualitative agreement with the field data reported in literature. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2012