Asphaltenes precipitated from pressure-preserve bottomhole oil samples have been obtained for three oils at different pressures, using a bulk high-pressure filtration apparatus. The precipitates captured on the filter were recovered, the asphaltenes defined by the n-heptane insolubility were extracted and analyzed. These pressure-driven asphaltenes found on the filter were found to make up in the range between 50 and 100 ppm of the whole crude oil. Opening of the cell did not reveal asphaltenes retained due to wall adhesion. Size exclusion chromatography tests performed on both the live-oil-derived asphaltenes and the standard asphaltenes as precipitated by atmospheric titration on the same crude oil, revealed that the live-oil asphaltenes had apparent smaller hydrodynamic volume and narrower distributions than the standard asphaltenes for two oils. Further FTIR tests also showed large differences between standard asphaltenes and the asphaltenes obtained at high pressure filter. The latter appeared to contain more functional groups and be less saturated. Implication of these structural differences on precipitation modeling is discussed.
Petroleum Science and Technology, 2003, Vol 21, Issue 5, p. 1017-1041