Method to Predict, Monitor and Control Asphaltene Precipitation based on Aggregation Thermodynamics

Technology #d-1187

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Researchers
Chau-Chyun Chen
Department of Chemical Engineering, Whitacre College of Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
External Link (www.depts.ttu.edu)
Md Islam
Department of Chemical Engineering, Whitacre College of Engineering,  Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
Yifan Hao
Department of Chemical Engineering, Whitacre College of Engineering,  Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
Meng Wang
Department of Chemical Engineering, Whitacre College of Engineering,  Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
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David McClure
Director Licensing 806-834-5899
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed

PCT Patent Application Filed

Asphaltenes are found in crude oil and used in the production of road surfaces and roofing materials. Because of its complex molecular structure, asphaltenes negatively impact the production of crude oil by plugging pipelines which decreases production efficiency and increases operational cost.  Inside the reservoir, asphaltene precipitate can remain in suspension and diminish flow within the oil phase or created deposits that may plug the formation.  Asphaltene precipitation is caused by a number of factors such as changes in pressure, temperature, and composition.  

The subject invention is a thermodynamic model that utilizes a non random two-liquid segment activity coefficient or (NRTL-SAC) and UNIQUAC Functional-group Activity Coefficients (UNIFAC) models to determine the solubility of organic solvents. This model allows for quick prediction of the precipitation of asphaltene qualitatively or semi-quantitatively.  Such determination of an asphaltene precipitation point is essential in the petroleum industry to avoid plugging issues during production. 

Reference Number: D-1187 

Market Applications:

Global market for Asphaltene and Paraffin Inhibitors is projected to reach US$1.0 billion by the year 2020, driven by increasing oil exploration and production activities and growing emphasis on paraffin and Asphaltene control systems against a backdrop of increased heavy grade crude oil production. 

  • Heavy offshore and deep-water drilling in countries such as Algeria, Angola and Nigeria is expected to drive growth in Africa in the coming years.
  • Efforts to increase production in mature crude oil fields in North America is also expected to benefit sales.   

Features, Benefits, & Advantages:

  • Flow assurance for crude oil pipeline network
  • Petroleum crude blending 

Intellectual Property: 

  • A U.S. Provisional patent, serial number 62/153,280 was filed on 4/27/15 and a PCT application was filed on 4/27/16.

Development Stage:  

  • The invention has been reduced to practice.   

Researchers:  

  • Dr. Chau-Chyun Chen, Ph.D. Department of Chemical Engineering, Whitacre College of Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
  • Md Islam, Graduate Student, Department of Chemical Engineering, Whitacre College of Engineering,  Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
  • Yifan Hao, Graduate Student, Department of Chemical Engineering, Whitacre College of Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
  • Meng Wang, Graduate Student, Department of Chemical Engineering, Whitacre College of Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX  

Keywords:Asphaltene precipitation modeling, Asphaltene precipitation modeling via NRTL-SAC