Save money and the environment with cutting edge Oil and Gas production optimization
Try it free for 90 days
Micellization, a phenomenon originally observed in the self association process of the surface active materials in aqueous solutions, is the underlying culprit for some of the most common production problems associated with paraffinic oils, heavy oils, asphaltenes and mineral scale deposition from carbonate-rich, high water-cut wells. The critical issue is the physical and chemical changes that occur to the oil because of the drop in temperature and pressure as the oil enters the wellbore at the onset of production. These changes destabilize the micelle structure of the oil as it exists in the reservoir, leading to paraffin deposition from paraffinic oils, wax deposition from asphaltene-rich oils, increased viscosity in heavy oils and mineral scale deposition from wells with carbonate-rich high water cuts.
Because micellization is fundamentally initiated by electrokinetic effects (an excess of positively charged particles) such as occurs with fluid flow in conjunction with pressure and temperature flux, it is possible to arrest or reverse micellization and its associated detrimental effects on oil production by exposure to passive energy (a net negative charge). The Enercat technology is a downhole production tool that vibrates at the far end of the infrared spectrum and imparts a passive energy at the reservoir/well bore interface, stabilizing the micelle structure of the oil as it enters the wellbore.
Applying passive energy at the reservoir/wellbore interface cancels out the excess of positively charged particles and arrests or impedes destabilization of the micelle structure of the oils.
In paraffinic oils, the passive energy stabilizes the water-in-oil emulsion structure and prevents paraffin from being released from the micelle structure and forming solid states (known as “wax deposition” or “paraffin deposition”).
In heavy oil, the heavy constituents, asphaltenes and preasphaltenes are contained within the monophasic crude oil mixture and the viscosity characteristics of the oil as it exists in the reservoir condition is maintained.
As with wax deposition, when it comes to mitigating mineral scale deposition, the application of a passive energy oil well treatment modifies the molecular structure of the water into long thin molecules as compared to their normally more spherical molecular structure. The modified shape increases the van der Waals dispersion forces and dipole-dipole attractions within the water molecules, effectively increasing the CaCO3 solubility at atmospheric CO2 partial pressures. Molecular shape is well known to affect van der Waals dispersion forces and long thin molecules develop greater dipole-dipole attractions than do spherical ones. Moreover, long thin molecules can lie closer together, further intensifying dispersion forces.