Forecasting production performance in reservoir-network coupled systems with asphaltene modeling Conference Paper uri icon


  • © Copyright 2015, Society of Petroleum Engineers. This manuscript presents the development and implementation of a new integrated reservoir-network compositional simulator for analysis of asphaltene precipitation within tubing and production pipelines. The need for integrated models for flow assurance analysis in assets with high potential of asphaltene precipitation is demonstrated for the following scenarios: i) natural depletion, ii) downhole asphaltene inhibitor injection, and iii) artificial gas-lift system. Fully-implicit compositional formulation forms the basis for reservoir and network simulators. Implementation of a tightly-coupled solution allows assessing mutual interaction between subsurface and surface components. Compositional delumping from reservoir to network fluid characterizations enables accurate modeling of complex thermodynamic phase behavior for asphaltene precipitation. The Peng-Robinson equation of state with volume translation models phase equilibria in coupled solution and asphaltene precipitation in network pipelines. Asphaltene accretion to internal pipe walls is estimated with a mechanistic transport model to forecast reduction of flow area and its impact on production performance. Solid precipitation and deposition in the production system have a negative impact on production rates, pressure management, and field operations. Results show increased thickness of asphaltene deposits in time, reaching up to 50% diameter reduction after a few months of production for the cases evaluated. Pipeline diameter increase at wellhead promoted asphaltene formation, caused by fluid velocity reduction. Bottomhole injection of asphaltene inhibitor reduced formation of solid deposits by 90%. Artificial gas-lift systems influence deposition profiles due to fluid compositional changes and velocity in the wellbore column.

author list (cited authors)

  • Valbuena, E., Barrufet, M., & Killough, J.

publication date

  • January 2015