Asphaltenes are defined as the fraction of crude oil that is insoluble in light aliphatic solvents like pentane and heptane and soluble in aromatic solvents like toluene. Asphaltenes can block production installation upstream and downstream: they can block reservoir pores and can deposit in the production tubing and downstream facilities.
There are two strategies that can be adopted to avoid the deposition of asphaltenes:
- an asphaltene inhibitor that prevents the aggregation of asphaltene molecules,
- an asphaltene dispersant that keeps asphaltene particles in suspension.
The efficiency of both asphaltene inhibitors and dispersants depends on the nature of the crude oil. CECA offers lab facilities to select the most appropriate chemical to fight against a particular asphaltene problem.