Modelling of Crude Oil Distillation

University essay from KTH/Skolan för kemivetenskap (CHE)


In the reservoir conditions, a petroleum fluid is defined by its thermodynamic and volumetric properties and by its physicochemical properties. Their behaviors are modeled from experimental data in order to properly simulate the processing of these fluids during the production.


With the advent of new regulations and rigidity that exist at the custom regulations today, research centers have great difficulty in obtaining large amounts of samples. For these reason, although there are several methods to characterize the different components of crude oil, the laboratories are turning increasingly to techniques that requires lower amounts of samples: micro-distillation, gas chromatography (GC).


The micro-distillation is a fast and completely computerized technique made to substitute the standard distillation for analysis of liquid petroleum products. Advantages of the method compared to the standard distillation are the reduction of working time by at least a factor of 4, the small sample volumes required for distillation (few micro liters). [24]


This report is aimed to create a simple model that can predict yield curves of physical distillation, without using the micro-distillation technique. The results obtained through gas chromatography (GC) analysis by laboratory technicians enable the modeling of the fluid behavior. Having identified and treated practically all aspects of micro-distillation through simulations with PRO/II, I found out that, regardless of the setting and the thermodynamic method used, there are always significant differences between simulation results and those of the micro-distillation.


The result shows that it’s still difficult to create a model which can replace micro-distillation and gas chromatography (GC) because of the huge gap between the simulation results and micro-distillation. Furthermore, the dynamics revealed that the micro distillation is not accurate. I had hoped to get additional results by studies the correlations with more samples, but that did not turn out to be the case. Regardless of that, I think that it would be interesting to study more samples and use another simulator to properly represent micro distillation. This could be an interesting topic for further studies.

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