Solubility of crude oil in methane as a function of pressure and temperature

Organic Geochemistry
By: , and 


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The solubility of a 44?? API (0.806 sp. gr.) whole crude oil has been measured in methane with water present at temperatures of 50 to 250??C and pressures of 740 to 14,852 psi, as have the solubilities of two high molecular weight petroleum distillation fractions at temperatures of 50 to 250??C and pressures of 4482 to 25,266 psi. Both increases in pressure and temperature increase the solubility of crude oil and petroleum distillation fractions in methane, the effect of pressure being greater than that of temperature. Unexpectedly high solubility levels (0.5-1.5 grams of oil per liter of methane-at laboratory temperature and pressure) were measured at moderate conditions (50-200??C and 5076-14504 psi). Similar results were found for the petroleum distillation fractions, one of which was the highest molecular weight material of petroleum (material boiling above 266??C at 6 microns pressure). Unexpectedly mild conditions (100??C and 15,200 psi; 200??C and 7513 psi) resulted in cosolubility of crude oil and methane. Under these conditions, samples of the gas-rich phase gave solubility values of 4 to 5 g/l, or greater. Qualitative analyses of the crude-oil solute samples showed that at low pressure and temperature equilibration conditions, the solute condensate would be enriched in C5-C15 range hydrocarbons and in saturated hydrocarbons in the C15+ fraction. With increases in temperature and especially pressure, these tendencies were reversed, and the solute condensate became identical to the starting crude oil. The data of this study, compared to that of previous studies, shows that methane, with water present, has a much greater carrying capacity for crude oil than in dry systems. The presence of water also drastically lowers the temperature and pressure conditions required for cosolubility. The data of this and/or previous studies demonstrate that the addition of carbon dioxide, ethane, propane, or butane to methane also has a strong positive effect on crude oil solubility, as does the presence of fine grained rocks. The n-paraffin distributions (as well as the overall composition) of the solute condensates are controlled by the temperature and pressure of solution and exsolution, as well as by the composition of the original starting material. It appears quite possible that primary migration by gaseous solution could 'strip' a source rock of crude-oil like components leaving behind a bitumen totally unlike the migrated crude oil. The data of this study demonstrate previous criticisms of primary petroleum migration by gas solution are invalid; that primary migration by gaseous solution cannot occur because methane cannot dissolve sufficient volumes of crude oil or cannot dissolve the highest molecular weight components of petroleum (tars and asphaltenes). ?? 1983.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Solubility of crude oil in methane as a function of pressure and temperature
Series title Organic Geochemistry
Volume 4
Issue 3-4
Year Published 1983
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Organic Geochemistry
First page 201
Last page 221
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