Influences of asphaltene precipitation on capillary pressure and pore size distribution of carbonate reservoirs

S. Elgaghah

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    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Asphaltene deposition has profound effects on oil flow through porous medium. The investigation,of the influences of asphaltene precipitation on carbonate reservoir rocks has minor interests in comparison to studies investigated sandstones ones. Therefore, this study is undertaken to provide accurate insights, especially for carbonate reservoirs of low permeability. In this study, two groups of experiments are undertaken. The first experimental group investigates effects of asphaltene precipitation on (a) petrophysical properties of carbonate rocks, including absolute permeability, effective porosity, and hydraulic radius, and (b) on oil-water relative permeability and water flooding performance. The second group searches for the effects of asphaltene precipitation on capillary pressure and pore size distribution of low permeability carbonate reservoirs. Conducted experiments are achieved using actual reservoir liquids of crude oil and brine, flowing through actual carbonate cores under similar reservoir conditions of temperature and pressure. The results indicated that asphaltene precipitation damages absolute permeability and hydraulic radius drastically, reduces effective porosity, and improves relative permeability of water for different asphaltene contents of crude oil flowing through carbonate reservoirs. In addition, oil reservoirs of high asphaltene content have shown higher values of irreducible water saturation than that ones of low asphaltene content in their crude oils. Precipitation of asphaltene in carbonate rock causes changes in the position of capillary pressure at high mobile oil saturation and reduces values resulted for pore size distribution curves, especially for small pore radii carrying crude's of high asphaltene content. Neglecting the proven influences of asphaltene precipitation may lead to erroneous description of carbonate reservoirs. Therefore, analysis of petrophysical properties and pore size distribution of carbonate reservoirs has to be updated during the extended life of oil reservoir and based upon accurate values of asphaltene content of the flowing crude oils. Applications of the attained results of this study are expected to provide real improvement in reservoir description, more reliable estimation of oil reserves, accurate predicted values of reservoir rock damage, and also better descriptive functions for future reservoir simulation studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)503-519
    JournalPetroleum Science and Technology
    Issue number5 & 6
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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