Crude Oil Quality Association

Asphaltene Precipitation

Asphaltene Precipitation Subcommitee Notes
Astor Crowne Plaza, New Orleans, October 21, 2015, 2pm-3pm

The meeting was roughly divided in to three sections.

1.        Examples of impacts:  BP quickly summarized what they have experienced regarding precipitated asphaltenes in domestic sweet (see presentation from June COQA meeting in Minneapolis for details).  A Marathon rep reported they had a coker furnace fouling event that may have been due to precipitated asphaltenes in domestic sweet; asphaltene issues were found in the crude feed but other issues may have contributed to the coker problem.  Valero, P66, Shell, Coffeyville Resources voiced that they have not heard of impacts at their refineries, any other refining companies present did not comment.

2.       Test Methods:  The conversation gradually shifted to test methods, possible causes of precipitated asphaltenes, and what they scope of the COQA should be.  Potential causes such as fine solids, upstream additives, and examples of precipitation in the Upstream were raised.  There were also suggestions that the COQA should work to recommend test methods and procedures to allow midstream blenders to blend crudes without compatibility problems.  Creating a compatibility for public use was deemed outside of the scope of this project.  No new test method options were offered or discussed in this meeting. 

3.       Next steps:  Hearing that no new, public test methods were being identified, but judging that there was interest to investigate the issue further, it was decided that a sampling and testing plan would be developed for sub-committee review.  Soluble Solutions was recommended as the testing company as they have a recognized test method and consulting service.  The suggestion is that once a fit for purpose test method at Soluble Solutions is identified and priced out, a small sampling plan will be developed by member companies who will then send in samples and pay for the analysis.  Results will be compiled by the COQA Director to provide an appropriately blinded final report for COQA use.  Conference calls will be used to finalize the plan and discuss the results prior to the next COQA meeting in March, 2016.