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Abstract

Most crude oils contain high molecular weight components, which at low temperatures may precipitate as a wax phase. This may cause plugging of pipes and numerous other problems. This paper presents a solid-liquid equilibrium based model for the description of wax formation. The model for the Gibbs energy contains a contribution based on Flory's theory of multicomponent polymer solutions and a contribution from a metastable subcooled state which oil mixtures may attain. The latter is formulated in terms of the surface tension of the wax phase. Experimental wax appearance points (temperatures), WAP's, are reported for 17 different stabilized North Sea crude oils. The values predicted by the new model are in very good agreement with the experimental WAP's.