This study proposes a new technique for cleaning deposited asphaltenes using laser energy. Two series of experiments were carried out to achieve this objective. In the first one, one-inch column of bitumen mixed with limestone was placed above powdered limestone column in a flow cell. In the second series of experiments, actual consolidated limestone cores were subjected to flow of asphaltenic crude oil to simulate the damage process (i.e. permeability reduction). Both unconsolidated and consolidated limestone samples were subjected to a laser energy using laboratory diode modules at various laser intensity and treatment time intervals. Experimental results indicated that exposure of the above-mentioned permeability damaged limestone samples to laser energy caused asphaltene disruption and resulted in recovery of damaged permeability. The increase of laser intensity increased the recovered permeability and the optimum time duration is measured to be 1 h at laser intensity of 19 mW/h. Simultaneous pumping is required during the laser treatment to avoid the re-precipitation of the disrupted asphaltene.
- Asphaltene precipitation
- Permeability damage
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Fuel Technology
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology