Method for the prediction of paraffinic deposits formation in crude oil during extraction, transport and storage


The present invention relates to a method to predict the formation of paraffin deposits in crude oil during extraction, transport and storage operations.
Often oils contain considerable amounts of heavy n-alkanes that upon cooling or release of gases due to pressure drop, during operation or transport, tend to deposit in storage tanks and pipelines in the form of waxes.
The present invention describes a method to predict the conditions for paraffin deposits to occur in crude oil from knowledge of a reduced number of characteristics of the oil: paraffin wax content and heavy paraffins composition decay obtained by a compositional analysis.
This information is used to create a fictitious fluid that in terms of phase equilibria behaves like the real fluid.
By using an equation of state to describe the fluid phases and a local composition model to describe solid phases, it is possible to predict the conditions on which crude oil will form solid deposits.
The method of the present invention also allows predicting the fraction of solids formed, its composition and the composition of fluid phases. This method has the advantage of being predictive, require a minimum amount of information and be very reliable.

Innovative aspects & main advantages

This methodology allows the prediction of the wax precipitation of paraffinic waxes from crude oils, or hydrocarbon fluids in general, when submitted to a given pressure and temperature, requiring only the knowledge of the amount and distribution of the n-alkanes in the fluid. This is the only purely predictive methodology available for this purpose.


To be used in the Petroleum industry, by flow assurance teams,  to support the design of the exploration and transport lines of crude oils or refined hydrocarbons. Also of interest for companies developing software for process simulation addressed to the petroleum upstream.
The methodology described in this patent was implemented and is currently in use in multiple in-house and commercial simulators (Multiflash from Infochem/KBC, Schlumberger…).


Coutinho, João ; Daridon, Jean-Luc

Our Inventors


Universidade de Aveiro
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