Asphaltene stability analysis facilitates deepwater treatment optimization

Asphaltenes, which are defined by IP 143/90, are the components in petroleum that are insoluble when contacted with a large excess of aliphatic solvent, such as heptane and pentane.1 The components precipitated and defined as asphaltenes are comprised of a distribution of tens of thousands of chemical species that vary from one crude oil to the next. Despite being defined by a solubility separation procedure—not chemical structure—numerous chemical similarities exist within the thousands of chemical species defined as asphaltenes. Asphaltenes are a highly aromatic species, typically containing several polynuclear aromatic rings; they also have a significant aliphatic content, particularly from alkyl side chains. Asphaltenes are some of the higher molecular weight species present in crude oil. A large percentage of the heteroatoms (N, S and O) present within crude oil, and the majority of metals (Ni and V), are associated with asphaltene structures.

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