Maintain Long-Term Production Rates by Unique Environment Friendly Asphaltene Solvent


Mohammed Omer; John E. Busteed; Francisco E. Fragachan


SPE - Society of Petroleum Engineers

Publication Date

September 26, 2022


SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Texas, USA, October 2022

Paper ID



Heavy oil production often results in the deposition of organic solids, like waxes or asphaltene. These asphaltene deposits pose a serious problem to the operator, negatively affecting the productivity of the reservoir, by reducing the permeability and altering wettability. Its deposition in production and tubing facilities can cause operational and economic issues. Various chemical and mechanical methods used for treating deposition are partially effective. Traditionally xylene has been used to remove these organic deposits, however, because of its low flash point (~80 °F) it poses a great risk of ignition. In addition, xylene does not change the wettability of the rock surface, resulting in short-lived effectiveness.

This paper outlines the development of an optimized environmentally friendly Asphaltene Solvent. Suitable for surface and bottom hole conditions. The paper discusses the production results and flow assurance observed from long-term production results from field trials performed in the Middle East. The optimized asphaltene solvent was designed and evaluated by dissolution, wettability and stability tests, and its results were benchmarked against actual xylene treatments, demonstrating and excellent flow assurance beyond standard xylene systems.

The laboratory testing demonstrated that the system was capable of dissolving Asphaltenes and Paraffins up to 99% -after 4 hours in a water bath at 194 °F (90 °C)- and leaving the rock water-wet.

A unique environment friendly asphaltene remover system has been developed capable of maintaining long-term production rates and by leaving the rock in a water-wet condition. Flash point of this system is higher (> 145° F or 62.7° C) than the traditional solvent systems, allowing to perform pumping operations in a safer and environmentally friendlier way.