Main Article Content
Paraffinic crude oils are desirable because of their high content of saturated hydrocarbons but may present handling challenges due to crystallization of high molecular weight paraffin at low temperatures. The prediction of wax properties and behavior of waxy crude oil is important in order to adopt appropriate mitigative measures to forestall flow assurance problems associated with wax crystallization and deposition. Accurate predictive models are limited mainly by the sheer complexity of crude oil composition. Result of analysis of saturates, aromatics, resins and asphaltene content of crude oils (SARA) has been used as a simple tool to predict and interpret crude oil properties and behavior but has been found inadequate in predicting wax instability. In this paper, we report on the use of SARA analysis and paraffin distribution data to interpret the wax properties and flow behavior of Niger-Delta crude oils. The crude oil properties determined include wax content, asphaltene and resin content by gravimetry, pour point, wax appearance temperature by cross-polarized microscopy and paraffin carbon number distribution of whole oil and wax precipitate by GC-FID. Asphaltene and resin content were found to influence the oil pour point, while saturates content, paraffin carbon number of crystallizing waxes and wax content control its low-temperature flow properties.
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