(19)
(11)EP 2 577 295 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
22.07.2015 Bulletin 2015/30

(21)Application number: 11727290.6

(22)Date of filing:  30.04.2011
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
G01N 33/28(2006.01)
G01N 21/35(2014.01)
G01N 21/85(2006.01)
G01N 21/33(2006.01)
G01N 21/84(2006.01)
B01L 3/00(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/IB2011/051915
(87)International publication number:
WO 2011/151746 (08.12.2011 Gazette  2011/49)

(54)

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DETERMINING THE ASPHALTENE CONTENT OF CRUDE OIL

SYSTEM UND VERFAHREN ZUR BESTIMMUNG DES ASPHALTENGEHALTS VON ROHÖL

SYSTÈME ET PROCÉDÉ POUR LA DÉTERMINATION DE TENEUR EN ASPHALTÈNES DE PÉTROLE BRUT


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 31.05.2010 US 790927

(43)Date of publication of application:
10.04.2013 Bulletin 2013/15

(73)Proprietors:
  • Services Pétroliers Schlumberger
    75007 Paris (FR)
    Designated Contracting States:
    FR 
  • Schlumberger Holdings Limited
    Tortola (VG)
    Designated Contracting States:
    GB NL 
  • Schlumberger Technology B.V.
    2514 JG The Hague (NL)
    Designated Contracting States:
    AL BG CZ DE DK GR HU IE IT LT NO PL RO SI SK TR 
  • PRAD Research and Development Limited
    Road Town, Tortola (VG)
    Designated Contracting States:
    AT BE CH CY EE ES FI HR IS LI LU LV MC MK MT PT RS SE SM 

(72)Inventors:
  • MOSTOWFI, Farshid
    Edmonton Alberta T6R 3C5 (CA)
  • KHARRAT, Abdel, M.
    Edmonton Alberta T6R 3S9 (CA)
  • INDO, Kentaro
    Sugar Land Texas 77479 (US)

(74)Representative: Oxley, Robin John George et al
Marks & Clerk LLP Alpha Tower Suffolk Street Queensway
Birmingham B1 1TT
Birmingham B1 1TT (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2009/001096
  
  • BOWDEN S A ET AL: "Determination of the asphaltene and carboxylic acid content of a heavy oil using a microfluidic device", LAB ON A CHIP ROYAL SOCIETY OF CHEMISTRY UK, vol. 9, no. 6, 21 March 2009 (2009-03-21), pages 828-832, XP000002658276, ISSN: 1473-0197
  • ROGEL E ET AL: "Determination of asphaltenes in crude oil and petroleum products by the on column precipitation method", ENERGY AND FUELS 20090917 AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY USA, vol. 23, no. 9, 17 September 2009 (2009-09-17), pages 4515-4521, XP000002658277, DOI: DOI:10.1021/EF900358Q
  • ASKE N ET AL: "ASPHALTENE AGGREGATION FROM CRUDE OILS AND MODEL SYSTEMS STUDIED BY HIGH-PRESSURE NIR SPECTROSCOPY", ENERGY & FUELS, AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, WASHINGTON, DC, US, vol. 16, 9 August 2002 (2002-08-09), pages 1287-1295, XP001152465, ISSN: 0887-0624, DOI: 10.1021/EF020065I
  • BOUQUET M ET AL: "Determination of asphaltene content in petroleum products for concentrations below 20000 ppm down to 150 ppm", FUEL, IPC SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PRESS, GUILDFORD, GB, vol. 64, no. 11, 1 November 1985 (1985-11-01), pages 1625-1627, XP025457790, ISSN: 0016-2361, DOI: 10.1016/0016-2361(85)90383-7 [retrieved on 1985-11-01]
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

Field of the Invention



[0001] The present invention relates to a system and method for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil.

Description of Related Art



[0002] Asphaltenes are a solubility class of components of crude oil. Commonly, asphaltenes are defined as such components that are insoluble in pentane or heptane but that are soluble in toluene or dichloromethane. Asphaltenes are of particular interest to the petroleum industry because of their depositional effect in production equipment, such as in tubular members in oil wells. Additives are sometimes used to inhibit these deleterious effects. In addition, asphaltenes impart high viscosity to crude oils, negatively impacting production. The variable asphaltene concentration in crude oils within individual reservoirs can create a myriad of production problems. Accordingly, it is often desirable to determine the amount of asphaltenes in crude oil and a variety of methods exist for making such determinations.

[0003] Conventional methods for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil rely upon precipitating by a titrant and filtering the asphaltenes from the crude oil, then weighing the asphaltenes. Methods such as this, however, (1) are often not sufficiently repeatable and reproducible; (2) are well-suited for laboratory operations only; (3) require significant time to complete, often as long as two days or more; (4) require large volumes of samples that are inherently hazardous in nature; (5) are dependent upon controlled humidity environments for reliable results; and (6) are dependent upon operator skill for reliable results. A further method for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil is described in WO 2009/001096. This method utilizes a sample plate for a portable analysis apparatus, the sample plate comprising a sample inlet, a precipitation zone, a filter, and an analysis zone. A fluid sample is fed through the sample inlet into the precipitation zone, a precipitant Is fed into the precipitation zone, the sample and precipitant mix to form a suspension, the solid in the suspension is separated by the filter, a solvent is added to the filter to dissolve the solid and form a solution, and the solution is analyzed in the analysis zone. Because this method relies on the analysis of a solution comprising solids which are dissolved from a filter, and the dissolving process is inherently incomplete leaving some solids residue on the filter, a level of measurement inaccuracy is inherent in this method.

[0004] Bouquet M et al "Determination of asphaltene content in petroleum products for concentration below 20000ppm down to 150ppm", XP025457790, describes a method for use in determining the asphaltene content of materials by removal of the asphaltenes from a sample and determining a difference between the original sample and the sample after removal of the asphaltenes therefrom.

[0005] Although there are methods for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil that are well known in the art, considerable shortcomings remain.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0006] According to one aspect of the invention there is provided a crude oil asphaltene content determination system, characterised by an injection/metering device configured to receive the crude oil and a titrant, a mixer in fluid communication with the injection/metering device, a filtration unit in fluid communication with the mixer, an optical flow cell in fluid communication with the filtration unit, and a spectrometer operably associated with the optical flow cell, wherein the mixer is a microfluidic mixer and the filtration unit isa microfluidic membrane filtration unit.

[0007] According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a method for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil, comprising obtaining a crude oil sample, and characterized by determining an optical spectrum of the crude oil sample, removing asphaltenes from the crude oil sample by mixing the crude oil sample with a titrant in a microfluidic mixer and removing precipitated asphaltenes from the crude oil-titrant mixture using a microfluidic membrane filtration unit, determining an optical spectrum of maltenes of the crude oil sample, subtracting the optical spectrum of the maltenes of the crude oil sample from the optical spectrum of the crude oil sample to yield an optical spectrum of asphaltenes of the crude oil sample, and comparing the optical spectrum of the asphaltenes of the crude oil sample to predetermined calibration data.

[0008] The present invention provides significant advantages, including (1) providing a method for determining asphaltene content of crude oil that is repeatable and reproducible; (2) providing a system and a method for determining asphaltene content of crude oil that are suitable for use at a wellsite; (3) providing a system and a method for determining asphaltene content of crude oil that are suitable for use on offshore platforms; (4) providing a system and a method for quickly determining asphaltene content of crude oil; (5) providing a system and a method for determining asphaltene content of crude oil that utilizes small sample volumes; (6) providing a system and a method for determining asphaltene content of crude oil that are not significantly affected by humidity; and (7) providing a system and a method for determining asphaltene content of crude oil that do not rely upon highly skilled operators.

[0009] Additional objectives, features, and advantages may be apparent in the written description which follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0010] The novel features of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. However, the invention itself, as well as a preferred mode of use, and further objectives and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which the leftmost significant digit(s) in the reference numerals denote(s) the first figure in which the respective reference numerals appear, wherein:

Figure 1 is a flow chart representing an illustrative embodiment of a method for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil;

Figure 2 is a graphical representation of an exemplary optical spectrum of a crude oil;

Figure 3 is a graphical representation of one example of optical density of various samples of crude oil and their asphaltene contents;

Figure 4 is a graphical representation of an example of optical density of various samples of crude oil in which the optical spectra of the maltenes of the crude oil samples have been subtracted from the optical spectra of the crude oil samples;

Figure 5 is a stylized, graphical representation of a first illustrative embodiment of a system for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil;

Figures 6A and 6B are stylized, graphical representations of a second illustrative embodiment of a system for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil;

Figure 7 is a graphical representation of one example of optical density of various samples of crude oil using either the system of Figure 5 or the system of Figures 6A and 6B; and

Figure 8 is a graphical representation of an example of optical density of various samples of crude oil in which the optical spectra of the maltenes of the crude oil samples have been subtracted therefrom using either the system of Figure 5 or the system of Figures 6A and 6B.



[0011] While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the description herein of specific embodiments is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



[0012] Illustrative embodiments of the invention are described below. In the interest of clarity, not all features of an actual implementation are described in this specification. It will, of course, be appreciated that in the development of any such actual embodiment, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developer's specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which will vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it will be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time-consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking for those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure.

[0013] The present invention relates to a system and method for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil. Generally, crude oil is made up of asphaltenes, which are insoluble in pentane or heptane, and maltenes, which are soluble in pentane and heptane. The asphaltene content of a sample of crude oil is determined by determining the optical spectrum of the asphaltenes in the crude oil and comparing the optical spectrum to predetermined calibration data, which provides a correlation between asphaltene optical spectra and asphaltene content. The asphaltene optical spectrum of the crude oil sample is determined by subtracting the optical spectrum of the maltenes of the crude oil sample from the optical spectrum of the crude oil sample.

[0014] Figure 1 provides a flow chart representing an illustrative embodiment of a method for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil. In the illustrated embodiment, a crude oil sample is obtained (block 101). It should be noted that the obtained sample may be a sample that is retrieved and transported to another location, such as a laboratory, for analysis, or a sample that is retrieved and analyzed in the field, as is discussed in greater detail herein. The system and method of the present invention are also capable of being installed and used in a downhole tool. The scope of the present invention is not limited by the means by which the crude oil sample is obtained. Returning to Figure 1, the optical spectrum of the crude oil sample is measured (block 103). The crude oil is then mixed with a titrant (block 105) to precipitate the asphaltenes from the crude oil. In one embodiment, the titrant is n-heptane, mixed at a ratio of one part crude oil to 40 parts n-heptane. However, other titrants, such as n-pentane or the like, and other mixing ratios are contemplated by the present invention. The precipitated asphaltenes are then removed from the crude oil-titrant mixture (block 107). The portion of the crude oil remaining after the precipitated asphaltenes are removed comprises maltenes, which are species having lower molecular weights than asphaltenes and are soluble in the titrant. The optical spectrum of the maltenes is measured (block 109), which is then subtracted from the optical spectrum of the crude oil prior to the asphaltenes being removed (block 111). The resulting optical spectrum corresponds to the optical spectrum of the asphaltenes in the sample of crude oil.

[0015] Figure 2 depicts a graphical representation of an exemplary optical spectrum of a crude oil, represented by line 201, and of the maltenes in the crude oil, represented by line 203. The difference between these optical spectra is due to the optical spectrum of the asphaltenes in the crude oil. In one embodiment, the optical spectrum at one or more longer wavelengths of the maltenes of the crude oil sample, such as at wavelengths of about 800 nanometers, is subtracted from the optical spectrum at one or more shorter wavelengths of the maltenes of the crude oil simple, such as at wavelengths of about 600 nanometers, to reduce the error from a spectral offset introduced by light scattering and the effect of variation of refractive index in the measuring instrument. Returning to Figure 1, the optical spectrum of the asphaltenes, i.e., the result from block 111, wherein the optical spectrum of maltenes of the crude oil is subtracted from the optical spectrum of the crude oil prior to the asphaltenes being removed, is compared to calibration data (block 113), such as a calibration curve. The calibration data correlates the optical spectrum of the asphaltene molecules to the asphaltene content measured using another technique, such as a conventional gravimetry technique, in which a series of crude oil samples are collected and tested.

[0016] Figures 3 and 4 illustrate the improvement in correlation between asphaltene optical density and asphaltene content when the optical spectrum of the maltenes in the crude oil is subtracted. Figure 3 depicts a graphical representation of one example of the optical density of various samples of crude oil and their asphaltene contents. Line 301 represents a linear model generated using the optical density at a particular wavelength and the asphaltene contents of the samples. In this example, the linear model exhibits a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.83. Note that models exhibiting coefficients of determination that approach 1.00 fit the data well, while models having coefficients of determination that are less than 1.00 do not represent the data as well. Figure 4 depicts a graphical representation of an example of the optical density of various samples of crude oil in which the optical density of the maltenes of the crude oil samples have been subtracted from the optical density of the crude oil samples. Line 401 represents a linear model generated using the resulting optical density and asphaltene contents of the samples. In the example of Figure 4, the linear model exhibits a coefficient of determination of 0.95. Thus, the correlation between asphaltene content and the optical density of Figure 4, i.e., the optical density of samples in which contributions by maltenes have been removed, is significantly better than the correlation between asphaltene content and the optical density of Figure 3, i.e., the optical density of the base crude oil samples:

[0017] Figure 5 depicts a stylized, graphical representation of a first illustrative embodiment of a system 501 for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil. Specifically, in reference to Figure 1, system 501 is configured to accomplish measuring an optical spectrum of a sample of crude oil (block 103), mixing the crude oil sample with a titrant (block 105), removing precipitated asphaltenes from the crude oil-titrant mixture (block 107), and measuring an optical spectrum of the maltenes of the crude soil sample (block 109). In the illustrated embodiment, system 501 comprises a first optical flow cell 503 that is in fluid communication with a crude oil sample 505 via a crude oil injection/metering device 509 and is in fluid communication with a mixer 507. According to the invention the mixer 507 is a microfluidic mixer, such as those available from The Dolomite Centre Limited of Royston, UK. A first spectrometer 511 is operably associated with the first optical flow cell 503. A titrant injection/metering device 513 is in fluid communication with a titrant source 515 and mixer 507. In the illustrated embodiment, crude oil injection/metering device 509 and titrant injection/metering device 513 are pumps, such as syringe pumps available from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Mixer 507 is in fluid communication with a second optical flow cell 517 via a filtration unit 519. In the illustrated embodiment, optical flow cells 503 and 517 are optical flow cells such as those, available from Ocean Optics, Inc. of Dunedin, Florida, USA. Filtration unit 519, according to the invention, is a microfluidic membrane filtration unit, such as those available from The Dolomite Centre Limited. A second spectrometer 521 is operably associated with second optical flow cell 517. In the illustrated embodiment, spectrometers 511 and 521 are spectrometers such as those available from Ocean Optics, Inc. First spectrometer 511 and second spectrometer 521 are operably associated, in the illustrated embodiment, with a comparator 523, such as a computer, although certain embodiments of system 501 omit comparator 523, wherein the functions of comparator 523 are performed by human or other means.

[0018] Still referring to Figure 5, an exemplary operation of system 501 for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil is disclosed. At least a portion of crude oil sample 505 is transmitted to first optical flow cell 503 by crude oil injection/metering device 509. First spectrometer 511 analyzes the portion of crude oil sample 505 disposed in first optical flow cell 503 and determines an optical spectrum of the portion of crude oil sample 505, represented by graph 525. The crude oil from crude oil sample 505 is further urged to mixer 507 by crude oil injection/metering device 509. A titrant, such as heptane, pentane, or the like, is transmitted from titrant source 515 to mixer 507 by titrant injection/metering device 513. Crude oil and the titrant are mixed in mixer 507 at a predetermined ratio, such as at a ratio of about one part crude oil to about 40 parts titrant. Once the crude oil and titrant are mixed, the titrant causes the asphaltenes in the crude oil to be precipitated in a channel, represented by arrow 527. The crude oil-titrant mixture is then filtered by filtration unit 519, which retains precipitated asphaltenes 529 and allows the remaining fluid, i.e., the maltenes of the sample of crude oil, to pass therethrough to second optical flow cell 517. Second spectrometer 521 analyzes the maltenes in second optical flow cell 517 and determines an optical spectrum of the maltenes, represented by graph 531. The optical spectrum of the crude oil, i.e., represented by graph 525, and the optical spectrum of the maltenes of the crude oil, i.e., represented by graph 531, are fed to comparator 523, where the optical spectrum of the maltenes of the crude oil is subtracted from the optical spectrum of the crude oil, resulting in the optical spectrum of the asphaltenes in the crude oil, represented by graph 533. The optical spectrum of the asphaltenes in the crude oil is then compared to predetermined calibration data, such as a predetermined calibration curve, as discussed herein, to measure the asphaltene content of crude oil sample 505.

[0019] Figures 6A and 6B depict a stylized, graphical representation of a second illustrative embodiment of a system 601 for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil. In this embodiment, injection/metering devices 509 and 513 of system 501 are replaced with an injection/metering device 603, optical flow cells 503 and 517 of system 501 are replaced with an optical flow cell 605, and spectrometers 511 and 521 of system 501 are replaced with a spectrometer 607. In one embodiment, injection/metering device 603 corresponds to one of injection/metering devices 509 and 513 of system 501, optical flow cell 605 corresponds to one of optical flow cells 503 and 517 of system 501, and spectrometer 607 corresponds to one of spectrometers 511 and 521 of system 501. Otherwise, the elements of system 601 correspond to those of system 501. As in the embodiment of Figure 5, the embodiment of Figures 6A and 6B is configured to accomplish measuring an optical spectrum of a sample of crude oil (block 103), mixing the crude oil sample with a titrant (block 105), removing precipitated asphaltenes from the crude oil-titrant mixture (block 107), and measuring an optical spectrum of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (block 109), shown in Figure 1.

[0020] In the embodiment illustrated in Figures 6A and 6B, mixer 507 is in fluid communication with crude oil sample 505 and titrant source 515 via injection/metering device 603. Mixer 507 is in fluid communication with optical flow cell 605 via filtration unit 519. Spectrometer 607 is operably associated with optical flow cell 605. In the illustrated embodiment, spectrometer 607 is operably associated with comparator 523, although certain embodiments of system 601 omit comparator 523, wherein the functions of comparator 523 are performed by human or other means.

[0021] Still referring to Figures 6A and 6B, an exemplary operation of system 601 for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil is disclosed. In Figure 6A, a first portion of crude oil sample 505 is transmitted through mixer 507 and filtration unit 519 to optical flow cell 605 by injection/metering device 603. Spectrometer 607 analyzes the crude oil disposed in optical flow cell 605 and determines an optical spectrum of the crude oil, represented by graph 525. In the illustrated embodiment, the optical spectrum of the crude oil, i.e., represented by graph 525, is fed to comparator 523 for use in determining the asphaltene content of crude oil sample 505. The flow path of crude oil in system 601 is then cleaned.

[0022] Referring to Figure 6B, a second portion of crude oil sample 505 and a titrant, such as heptane, pentane, or the like, is transmitted to mixer 507 by injection/metering device 603. The second portion of crude oil sample 505 and the titrant are mixed in mixer 507 at a predetermined ratio, such as at a ratio of about one part crude oil to about 40 parts titrant. Once the second portion of crude oil sample 505 and the titrant are mixed, the titrant causes the asphaltenes in the crude oil to precipitate in the channel represented by arrow 527. The crude oil-titrant mixture is then filtered by filtration unit 519, which retains precipitated asphaltenes 529 and allows the remaining fluid, i.e., the maltenes of the sample of crude oil, to pass therethrough to optical flow cell 605. Spectrometer 607 analyzes the maltenes in optical flow cell 605 and determines an optical spectrum of the maltenes, represented by graph 531. In the illustrated embodiment, the optical spectrum of the maltenes of the crude oil, i.e., represented by graph 531, is fed to comparator 523, where the optical spectrum of the maltenes of the crude oil is subtracted from the optical spectrum of the crude oil, resulting in the optical spectrum of the asphaltenes in the crude oil, represented by graph 533. The optical spectrum of the asphaltenes in the crude oil is then compared to predetermined calibration data, such as a predetermined calibration curve, as discussed herein, to measure the asphaltene content of the crude oil. As discussed herein concerning the embodiment of Figure 5, certain embodiments of system 601 omit comparator 523, wherein the functions of comparator 523 are performed by human or other means.

[0023] It should be noted that, in certain embodiments, the modifications made to system 501 (shown in Figure 5) resulting in system 601 may be incorporated singly or in any combination. For example, system 601 may be modified such that injection/metering devices 509 and 513 of system 501 are replaced with injection/metering device 603, but optical flow cells 503 and 517 and spectrometers 511 and 521 are not replaced. In another example, system 601 may be modified such that optical flow cells 503 and 517 of system 501 are replaced with optical flow cell 605 but injection/metering devices 509 and 513 and spectrometers 511 and 521 are not replaced. In yet another example, system 601 may be modified such that spectrometers 511 and 521 of system 501 are replaced with spectrometer 607 but injection/metering devices 509 and 513 and optical flow cells 503 and 517 are not replaced. The present invention further contemplates various combinations of these embodiments.

[0024] Figure 7 depicts a graphical representation of one example of the optical density of various samples of crude oil, such as crude oil sample 505, as determined by first spectrometer 511 and their asphaltene contents. Line 701 represents a linear model generated using the optical density at a particular wavelength and asphaltene contents of the samples. In this example, the linear model exhibits a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.84, which is comparable to that shown In Figure 3. Figure 8 depicts a graphical representation of an example of optical density at a particular wavelength of asphaltenes of various samples of crude oil in which the optical spectra of the maltenes of the crude oil samples have been subtracted from the optical spectra of the crude oil samples. Line 801 represents a linear model generated using the resulting optical density and asphaltene contents of the samples. In the example of Figure 8, the linear model exhibits a coefficient of determination of 0.96, which is comparable to that shown in Figure 4. Thus the correlation between asphaltene content and the optical density of Figure 8, i.e., the optical density of samples in which contributions by maltenes have been removed, is significantly better than the correlation between asphaltene content and the optical density of Figure 7, i.e., the optical density of the base crude oil samples.


Claims

1. A crude oil asphaltene content determination system (601), characterised by:

an injection/metering device (603) configured to receive the crude oil (505) and a titrant (515);

a mixer (507) in fluid communication with the injection/metering device (603);

a filtration unit (519) in fluid communication with the mixer (507);

an optical flow cell (605) in fluid communication with the filtration unit (519); and

a spectrometer (607) operably associated with the optical flow cell (605);

wherein the mixer (507) is a microfluidic mixer and the filtration unit (519) is a microfluidic membrane filtration unit.


 
2. The system (601) of claim 1, wherein the injection/metering device (603) is a syringe pump.
 
3. The system (601) of claim 1, further comprising a comparator (523) operably associated with the spectrometer (607), the comparator (523) basing operable to yield an optical spectrum of asphaltenes in the crude oil (505).
 
4. The system (601) of claim 1, wherein the system (601) is installed in a downhole tool.
 
5. A method for determining the asphaltene content of crude oil (505), comprising:

obtaining a crude oil sample (505), and characterized by:

determining an optical spectrum (525) of the crude oil sample (505);

removing asphaltenes (529) from the crude oil sample (505) by mixing the crude oil sample (505) with a titrant (515) in a microfluidic mixer (507) and removing precipitated asphaltenes (529) from the crude oil-titrant mixture using a microfluidic membrane filtration unit (519);

determining an optical spectrum (531) of maltenes of the crude oil sample (505);

subtracting the optical spectrum (531) of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (505) from the optical spectrum (525) of the crude oil sample (505) to yield an optical spectrum (533) of asphaltenes (529) of the crude oil sample (505); and

comparing the optical spectrum (533) of the asphaltenes (529) of the crude oil sample (505) to predetermined calibration data.


 
6. The method of claim 5, wherein determining the optical spectrum (525) of the crude oil sample (505) is accomplished by analyzing at least a portion of the crude oil sample (505) with a spectrometer (511).
 
7. The method of claim 6, wherein analyzing the at least a portion of the crude oil sample (505) with the spectrometer (511) is accomplished by disposing the at least a portion of the crude oil sample (505) in an optical flow cell (503) and analyzing the at least a portion of the crude oil sample (505) disposed in the optical flow cell (503) with the spectrometer (511).
 
8. The method of claim 5, wherein subtracting the optical spectrum (531) of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (505) from the optical spectrum (525) of the crude oil sample (505) to yield the optical spectrum (533) of the asphaltenes (529) of the crude oil sample (505) is accomplished using a comparator (523).
 
9. The method of claim 5, wherein determining the optical spectrum (531) of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (505) is accomplished by analyzing at least a portion of the de-asphaltenated crude oil sample with a spectrometer (521).
 
10. The method of claim 9, wherein analyzing the at least a portion of the de-asphaltenated crude oil sample with the spectrometer (521) is accomplished by disposing the at least a portion of the de-asphaltenated crude oil sample in an optical flow cell (517) and analyzing the at least a portion of the de-asphaltenated crude oil sample disposed in the optical flow cell (517) with the spectrometer (521).
 
11. The method of claim 5, further comprising subtracting the optical spectrum (531) at one or more longer wavelengths of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (505) from the optical spectrum (531) at one or more shorter wavelengths of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (505) prior to subtracting the optical spectrum (531) of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (505) from the optical spectrum (526) of the crude oil sample (505) to yield the optical spectrum (533) of the asphaltenes (529) of the crude oil sample (505).
 
12. The method of claim 11, wherein subtracting the optical spectrum (531) at one or more longer wavelengths of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (505) from the optical spectrum (531) at one or more shorter wavelengths of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (505) is accomplished by subtracting the optical spectrum (531) at a wavelength of about 800 nanometers of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (505) from the optical spectrum (531) at a wavelength of about 600 nanometers of the maltenes of the crude oil sample (505).
 


Ansprüche

1. System zur Bestimmung des Asphaltengehalts (601) von Rohöl, gekennzeichnet durch:

eine Injektions/Dosiereinrichtung (603), konfiguriert zum Empfangen des Rohöls (505) und eines Titranten (515);

einen Mischer (507) in Fluidkommunikation mit der Injektions/Dosiereinrichtung (603);

eine Filtrationseinheit (519) in Fluidkommunikation mit dem Mischer (507);

eine optische Durchflusszelle (605) in Fluidkommunikation mit der Filtrationseinheit (519); und

ein Spektrometer (607), betriebsfähig mit der optischen Durchflusszelle (605) assoziiert;

worin der Mischer (507) ein mikrofluidischer Mischer ist und die Filtrationseinheit (519) eine mikrofluidische Membranfiltrationseinheit ist.


 
2. System (601) nach Anspruch 1, worin die Injektions/Dosiereinrichtung (603) eine Spritzenpumpe ist.
 
3. System (601) nach Anspruch 1, außerdem einen Komparator (523) umfassend, der mit dem Spektrometer (607) betriebsfähig assoziiert ist, wobei der Komparator (523) betriebsfähig ist, ein optisches Spektrum von Asphaltenen im Rohöl (505) zu ergeben.
 
4. System (601) nach Anspruch 1, worin das System (601) in einem im Bohrloch einsatzbaren Werkzeug installiert ist.
 
5. Verfahren zum Bestimmen des Asphaltengehalts von Rohöl (505), Folgendes umfassend:

Beschaffen eines Rohöl-Samples (505); und gekennzeichnet durch:

Bestimmen eines optischen Spektrums (525) des Rohöl-Samples (505);

Entfernen von Asphaltenen (529) aus dem Rohöl-Sample (505) durch Mischen des Rohöl-Samples (505) mit einem Titranten (515) in einem mikrofluidischen Mischer (507) und Entfernen von präzipitierten Asphaltenen (529) aus der Rohöl-Titrant-Mischung unter Verwendung einer mikrofluidischen Membranfiltrationseinheit (519);

Bestimmen eines optischen Spektrums (531) von Maltenen des Rohöl-Samples (505);

Subtrahieren des optischen Spektrums (531) der Maltene des Rohöl-Samples (505) von dem optischen Spektrum (525) des Rohöl-Samples (505), um ein optisches Spektrum (533) von Asphaltenen (529) des Rohöl-Samples (505) zu ergeben; und

Vergleichen des optischen Spektrums (533) der Asphaltene (529) des Rohöl-Samples (505) mit vorgegebenen Kalibrierdaten.


 
6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, worin das Bestimmen des optischen Spektrums (525) des Rohöl-Samples (505) durch Analysieren von mindestens einem Teil des Rohöl-Samples (505) mit einem Spektrometer (511) erzielt wird.
 
7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, worin das Analysieren des mindestens einen Teils des Rohöl-Samples (505) mit dem Spektrometer (511) durch Abführen des mindestens einen Teils des Rohöl-Samples (505) in eine optische Durchflusszelle (503) und das Analysieren des mindestens einen Teils des in die optischen Durchflusszelle (503) abgeführten Rohöl-Samples (505) mit dem Spektrometer (511) erzielt wird.
 
8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, worin das Subtrahieren des optischen Spektrums (531) der Maltene des Rohöl-Samples (505) vom optischen Spektrum (525) des Rohöl-Samples (505), um das optische Spektrum (533) der Asphaltene (529) des Rohöl-Samples (505) zu ergeben, unter Verwendung eines Komparators (523) erzielt wird.
 
9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, worin das Bestimmen des optischen Spektrums (531) der Maltene des Rohöl-Samples (505) durch Analysieren von mindestens einem Teil des asphaltenfreien Rohöl-Samples mit einem Spektrometer (521) erzielt wird.
 
10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 9, worin das Analysieren des mindestens einen Teils des asphaltenfreien Rohöl-Samples mit dem Spektrometer (521) durch Abführen des mindestens einen Teils des asphaltenfreien Rohöl-Samples in eine optischen Durchflusszelle (517) und das Analysieren des mindestens einen Teils des in die optische Durchflusszelle (517) abgeführten asphaltenfreien Rohöl-Samples mit dem Spektrometer (521) erzielt wird.
 
11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, außerdem das Subtrahieren des optischen Spektrums (531) mit einer oder mehreren längeren Wellenlängen der Maltene des Rohöl-Samples (505) vom optischen Spektrum (531) mit einer oder mehreren kürzeren Wellenlängen der Maltene des Rohöl-Samples (505) umfassend, bevor das optische Spektrum (531) der Maltene des Rohöl-Samples (505) vom optischen Spektrum (525) des Rohöl-Samples (505) subtrahiert wird, um das optische Spektrum (533) der Asphaltene (529) des Rohöl-Samples (505) zu ergeben.
 
12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, worin das Subtrahieren des optischen Spektrums (531) mit einer oder mehreren längeren Wellenlängen der Maltene des Rohöl-Samples (505) vom optischen Spektrum (531) mit einer oder mehreren kürzeren Wellenlängen der Maltene des Rohöl-Samples (505) durch Subtrahieren des optischen Spektrums (531) mit einer Wellenlänge von ungefähr 800 Nanometer der Maltene des Rohöl-Samples (505) vom optischen Spektrum (531) mit einer Wellenlänge von ungefähr 600 Nanometer der Maltene des Rohöl-Samples (505) erzielt wird.
 


Revendications

1. Système de détermination de teneur en asphaltène dans le pétrole brut (601), caractérisé par :

un dispositif d'injection/dosage (603) configuré pour recevoir le pétrole brut (505) et un titrant (515) ;

un mélangeur (507) en communication fluidique avec le dispositif d'injection/dosage (603) ;

une unité de filtration (519) en communication fluidique avec le mélangeur (507) ;

une cellule de flux optique (605) en communication fluidique avec l'unité de filtration (519) ; et

un spectromètre (607) fonctionnellement associé à la cellule de flux optique (605) ;

dans lequel le mélangeur (507) est un mélangeur microfluidique et l'unité de filtration (519) est une unité de filtration sur membrane microfluidique.


 
2. Système (601) de la revendication 1, dans lequel le dispositif d'injection/dosage (603) est une pompe à seringue.
 
3. Système (601) de la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un comparateur (523) fonctionnellement associé au spectromètre (607), le comparateur (523) étant opérationnel pour obtenir un spectre optique d'asphaltènes dans le pétrole brut (505).
 
4. Système (601) de la revendication 1, le système (601) étant installé dans un outil de fond.
 
5. Procédé de détermination de la teneur en asphaltène de pétrole brut (505), comprenant :

l'obtention d'un échantillon de pétrole brut (505), et caractérisé par :

la détermination d'un spectre optique (525) de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) ;

l'élimination d'asphaltènes (529) de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) par mélange de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) avec un titrant (515) dans un mélangeur microfluidique (507) et l'élimination des asphaltènes précipités (529) du mélange pétrole brut-titrant au moyen d'une unité de filtration sur membrane microfluidique (519) ;

la détermination d'un spectre optique (531) de maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) ;

la soustraction du spectre optique (531) des maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) au spectre optique (525) de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) pour obtenir un spectre optique (533) d'asphaltènes (529) de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) ; et

la comparaison du spectre optique (533) des asphaltènes (529) de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) à des données d'étalonnage prédéterminées.


 
6. Procédé de la revendication 5, dans lequel la détermination du spectre optique (525) de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) est effectuée par analyse d'au moins une partie de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) avec un spectromètre (511).
 
7. Procédé de la revendication 6, dans lequel l'analyse de l'au moins une partie de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) avec le spectromètre (511) est effectuée par disposition de l'au moins une partie de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) dans une cellule de flux optique (503) et analyse de l'au moins une partie de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) disposée dans la cellule de flux optique (503) avec le spectromètre (511).
 
8. Procédé de la revendication 5, dans lequel la soustraction du spectre optique (531) des maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) au spectre optique (525) de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) pour obtenir le spectre optique (533) des asphaltènes (529) de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) est effectuée en utilisant un comparateur (523).
 
9. Procédé de la revendication 5, dans lequel la détermination du spectre optique (531) des maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) est effectuée par analyse d'au moins une partie de l'échantillon de pétrole brut désasphalténé avec un spectromètre (521).
 
10. Procédé de la revendication 9, dans lequel l'analyse de l'au moins une partie de l'échantillon de pétrole brut désasphalténé avec le spectromètre (521) est effectuée par disposition de l'au moins une partie de l'échantillon de pétrole brut désasphalténé dans une cellule de flux optique (517) et analyse de l'au moins une partie de l'échantillon de pétrole brut désasphalténé disposée dans la cellule de flux optique (517) avec le spectromètre (521).
 
11. Procédé de la revendication 5, comprenant en outre la soustraction du spectre optique (531) à une ou plusieurs longueurs d'onde plus longues des maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) au spectre optique (531) à une ou plusieurs longueurs d'onde plus courtes des maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) avant soustraction du spectre optique (531) des maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) au spectre optique (525) de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) pour obtenir le spectre optique (533) des asphaltènes (529) de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505).
 
12. Procédé de la revendication 11, dans lequel la soustraction du spectre optique (531) à une ou plusieurs longueurs d'onde plus longue des maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) au spectre optique (531) à une ou plusieurs longueurs d'onde plus courtes des maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) est effectuée par soustraction du spectre optique (531) à une longueur d'onde d'environ 800 nanomètres des maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505) au spectre optique (531) à une longueur d'onde d'environ 600 nanomètres des maltènes de l'échantillon de pétrole brut (505).
 




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Cited references

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