• Characterization of Alaska North Slope oils for wax deposition

      Anyanwu, Okechukwu Ndubuisi; Zhu, Tao; Chukwu, Godwin A.; Dandekar, Abhijit; Zhou, Wendy (2007-08)
      Wax deposition during crude oil production is a major problem that has plagued the oil industry for decades especially in cold environments such as Alaska North Slope (ANS) fields, with adverse consequences in huge mitigation cost and lost production. It is therefore imperative to adequately and accurately identify the conditions for wax precipitation and deposition in order to optimize operation of the production systems of ANS. In order to assess ANS crude's potential for wax precipitation, Viscometry and Cross Polarization Microscopy (CPM) are used to determine the temperature at which paraffins begin to precipitate from ANS dead oils. Wax dissolution temperatures (WDT) are also determined by CPM. Results show that wax precipitation is possible at temperatures as high as 41°C (106°F) while it takes up to 50°C (122°F) to get all waxes back into solution. The CPM technique was more sensitive while Viscometry results did not provide a high level of certainty in some samples and therefore appear over-estimated relative to CPM results. Previous thermal history was observed to influence test results. Pour point, viscosity, density and specific gravity have also been measured. Pour point results indicate that oil could form gel in the temperature range 12°C (53.6°C) to less than -31°C ( -23.8°F).