Experimental and numerical modeling of sulfur plugging in carbonate reservoirs

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Sour gas, mainly in the form of hydrogen sulfide, is produced in large amounts from many oil and gas reservoirs in the United Arab Emirates. In addition to creating problems in production lines, the precipitation of elemental sulfur in vicinity of the wellbore is often reported to cause wellbore damage. While there have been several studies performed on the role of solid deposition in gas reservoirs, the role of sulfur deposition in oil reservoirs has not been investigated. This paper presents experimental results along with a comprehensive wellbore model that predicts sulfur precipitation as well as plugging. Two separate sets of experiments, one for a gas phase system and another for a crude oil system, were conducted to investigate the deposition of elemental sulfur in (linear) carbonate cores. The gas flow tests were conducted with elemental sulfur being carried with nitrogen through limestone cores. Changes in gas flow rate were monitored while the injection pressure was held constant. A series of experiments generated valuable data for plugging with elemental sulfur. X-ray diffraction tests provided evidence of sulfur deposition along the cores. The oil flow tests were carried out to observe sulfur precipitation and plugging in a carbonate core. The crude oil was de-asphalted before conducting these tests in order to isolate the effect of asphaltene plugging. Significant plugging was observed and was found to be dependent on flow rate and initial sulfur concentration. This information was used in a phenomenological model that was incorporated in the wellbore numerical model. The data for the numerical model were obtained from both test tube and oil flow experiments. By using a phenomenological model, the wellbore plugging was modeled with an excellent match (with experimental results). (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-103
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - May 2000


  • Carbonate reservoirs
  • Experimental
  • Modeling
  • Sulfur plugging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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