In situ upgrading of heavy oil

Citation
Hh. Xu et al., In situ upgrading of heavy oil, J CAN PET T, 40(8), 2001, pp. 45-53
Citations number
33
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Geological Petroleum & Minig Engineering
Journal title
JOURNAL OF CANADIAN PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY
ISSN journal
0021-9487 → ACNP
Volume
40
Issue
8
Year of publication
2001
Pages
45 - 53
Database
ISI
SICI code
0021-9487(200108)40:8<45:ISUOHO>2.0.ZU;2-N
Abstract
Low temperature oxidation (LTO) of hydrocarbon liquids generally results in a more viscous end product; this has clearly been shown in the literature of the past 30 years. However. under the right conditions, LTO can be used to achieve viscosity reduction in heavy oils. The In Situ Combustion Group at the University of Calgary conceived of a two-stage LTO process whereby o il is contacted with air, first at low, then at elevated, temperatures. The first, low temperature, step incorporates oxygen into some of the hydrocar bons, yielding labile bonds that should break at lower-than-usual temperatu res. Once these free radicals are formed, the second step promotes bond cle avage at higher temperatures, resulting in shorter chain hydrocarbons. In a field situation, this process would be analogous to first injecting air in to a formation at low temperature, then starting a steam soak or steam floo d. Experimental runs carried out on Athabasca bitumen examined the effects of oxygen partial pressure, temperature, reaction time, and the presence of ro ck and brine. On completion of each experiment, the gas composition was det ermined using gas chromatography, water acidity (pH) was measured, and the hydrocarbon products were analysed for coke and asphaltenes contents, visco sity, and density. Some instances of viscosity reduction have been observed ; these are linked to lower oxygen partial pressures, higher second stage t emperatures and longer run times. This paper discusses the experimental wor k, and estimates the optimum conditions for successful viscosity reduction of a given heavy oil.