Adan Leon


3 Effect of Naphtha in Addition to a Cycle Steam Stimulation Process Reducing the Heavy Oil Viscosity Using a Two-Level Factorial Design

Authors: Adan Leon, Samuel Munoz, Nora A. Guerrero, María I. Sandoval, Romel Perez


The addition of solvents in cyclic steam stimulation is a technique that has shown an impact on the improved recovery of heavy oils. In this technique, it is possible to reduce the steam/oil ratio in the last stages of the process, at which time this ratio increases significantly. The mobility of improved crude oil increases due to the structural changes of its components, which at the same time reflected in the decrease in density and viscosity. In the present work, the effect of the variables such as temperature, time, and weight percentage of naphtha was evaluated, using a factorial design of experiments 23. From the results of analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Pareto diagram, it was possible to identify the effect on viscosity reduction. The experimental representation of the crude-vapor-naphtha interaction was carried out in a batch reactor on a Colombian heavy oil of 12.8° API and 3500 cP. The conditions of temperature, reaction time, and percentage of naphtha were 270-300 °C, 48-66 hours, and 3-9% by weight, respectively. The results showed a decrease in density with values in the range of 0.9542 to 0.9414 g/cm³, while the viscosity decrease was in the order of 55 to 70%. On the other hand, simulated distillation results, according to ASTM 7169, revealed significant conversions of the 315°C+ fraction. From the spectroscopic techniques of nuclear magnetic resonance NMR, infrared FTIR and UV-VIS visible ultraviolet, it was determined that the increase in the performance of the light fractions in the improved crude is due to the breakdown of alkyl chains. The methodology for cyclic steam injection with naphtha and laboratory-scale characterization can be considered as a practical tool in improved recovery processes.

Keywords: factorial design, naphtha, cyclic steam stimulation, Viscosity reduction

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2 Application of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (1H-NMR) in the Analysis of Catalytic Aquathermolysis: Colombian Heavy Oil Case

Authors: Adan Leon, Paola Leon, Hugo Garcia, Samuel Munoz


The enhanced oil recovery by steam injection was considered a process that only generated physical recovery mechanisms. However, there is evidence of the occurrence of a series of chemical reactions, which are called aquathermolysis, which generates hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, methane, and lower molecular weight hydrocarbons. These reactions can be favored by the addition of a catalyst during steam injection; in this way, it is possible to generate the original oil in situ upgrading through the production increase of molecules of lower molecular weight. This additional effect could increase the oil recovery factor and reduce costs in transport and refining stages. Therefore, this research has focused on the experimental evaluation of the catalytic aquathermolysis on a Colombian heavy oil with 12,8°API. The effects of three different catalysts, reaction time, and temperature were evaluated in a batch microreactor. The changes in the Colombian heavy oil were quantified through nuclear magnetic resonance 1H-NMR. The relaxation times interpretation and the absorption intensity allowed to identify the distribution of the functional groups in the base oil and upgraded oils. Additionally, the average number of aliphatic carbons in alkyl chains, the number of substituted rings, and the aromaticity factor were established as average structural parameters in order to simplify the samples' compositional analysis. The first experimental stage proved that each catalyst develops a different reaction mechanism. The aromaticity factor has an increasing order of the salts used: Mo > Fe > Ni. However, the upgraded oil obtained with iron naphthenate tends to form a higher content of mono-aromatic and lower content of poly-aromatic compounds. On the other hand, the results obtained from the second phase of experiments suggest that the upgraded oils have a smaller difference in the length of alkyl chains in the range of 240º to 270°C. This parameter has lower values at 300°C, which indicates that the alkylation or cleavage reactions of alkyl chains govern at higher reaction temperatures. The presence of condensation reactions is supported by the behavior of the aromaticity factor and the bridge carbons production between aromatic rings (RCH₂). Finally, it is observed that there is a greater dispersion in the aliphatic hydrogens, which indicates that the alkyl chains have a greater reactivity compared to the aromatic structures.

Keywords: steam, Catalyst, upgrading, Aquathermolysis

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1 Density Determination by Dilution for Extra Heavy Oil Residues Obtained Using Molecular Distillation and Supercritical Fluid Extraction as Upgrading and Refining Process

Authors: Oscar Corredor, Alexander Guzman, Adan Leon


Density is a bulk physical property that indicates the quality of a petroleum fraction. It is also a useful property to estimate various physicochemical properties of fraction and petroleum fluids; however, the determination of density of extra heavy residual (EHR) fractions by standard methodologies, (ASTM D70) shows limitations for samples with higher densities than 1.0879 g/cm3. For this reason, a dilution methodology was developed in order to determinate density for those particular fractions, 87 (EHR) fractions were obtained as products of the fractionation of Colombian typical Vacuum Distillation Residual Fractions using molecular distillation (MD) and extraction with Solvent N-hexane in Supercritical Conditions (SFEF) pilot plants. The proposed methodology showed reliable results that can be demonstrated with the standard deviation of repeatability and reproducibility values of 0.0031 and 0.0061 g/ml respectively. In the same way, it was possible to determine densities in fractions EHR up to 1.1647g/cm3 and °API values obtained were ten times less than the water reference value.

Keywords: Density, API, vacuum residual, molecular distillation, supercritical fluid extraction

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