Asphaltene Management | SLB

Asphaltene Management

Maximize production and reduce NPT with asphaltene inhibitors and dissolvers

Production chemicals

Asphaltene inhibitors to control precipitation and deposition from crude oil

Specialist expertise and treatments mitigate the flow assurance challenges caused by asphaltene precipitation, such as plugs and deposits in the formation, tubing, separators, and other parts of the system. Inhibitors interfere with the precipitation and flocculation of the asphaltene aggregates, preventing them from depositing. They can be squeezed or continuously injected upstream of the asphaltene onset pressure.

Precipitated asphaltenes can also interfere with other parts of the process system, e.g. water separation and treatment. Designing the correct solution can alleviate the contribution of asphaltenes to separation and water quality issues.

The most effective treatment is formulated using field and fluid data. A range of laboratory tests is conducted using this data to simulate field conditions. Tests can include innovative live-fluid organic solids deposition analysis under field temperatures and pressures. Product performance is evaluated and confirmed in the field by measuring changes to process and fluid properties using instrumental and chemical methods.

Ambient conditions during treatment application are also taken into account when selecting and designing the most cost-effective solution. For example, stability under extreme conditions—such as deepwater environments—is assessed when appropriate. Our portfolio includes a full range of deepwater-stable, umbilical-safe products.

Lab equipment related to asphaltene inhibition.
A laboratory sample of n-heptane asphaltenes (left) is derived from crude oil. A field deposit of asphaltenes (right) consists largely of n-heptane asphaltenes.

Asphaltene dissolvers to remediate deposition

SLB designs asphaltene dissolver treatments to effectively remove unwanted asphaltene deposits and restore production. Treatment solutions are designed to address your specific challenges.

Based on field information, laboratory tests are designed and performed to evaluate these solutions and identify the most effective approach.

A range of mechanical and chemical options is available. Mechanical cleaning methods include pigging, wireline cutting, and coiled tubing; they complement solvent treatments to remove unwanted deposits.