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What are Asphaltenes?

asked Apr 23, 2015 in Flow Assurance by janspt (370 points)

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answered Oct 20, 2016 by dauod (1,080 points)
Asphaltenes are high molecular weight aromatic, cyclic-chained  molecules naturally occuring in all crudes. A few crudes contain excessive amounts of asphaltenes that can precipitate out as the produced crude cools while passing through the production flowlines, piping and equipment. Asphaltenes are typically more dense than other crude components, such as parafins and form gums or sticky solids. Asphaltene accumulations are removed with solvents. Parafin accumulations can be removed with heat, however, excessive heat will cause asphaltenes to consolidate further. Some producers insulate long flowlines to retard the precipitation of asphaltenes by slowing down the cooling rate.