Asphaltenes and Asphalts 2

Asphaltenes and Asphalts 2

Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 40 (2003) 189 – 193 Book reviews Asphaltenes and Asphalts 2 Elsevier Sci...

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Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 40 (2003) 189 – 193

Book reviews

Asphaltenes and Asphalts 2 Elsevier Science; ISBN 0-444-50324-2; Editors T.F. Yen and G.V. Chilingarian, 2000, 621 pp.

The first volume of Asphaltenes and Asphalts was published in 1994, and the editors claim a significant advance in knowledge of these heavy components of crude oils in the intervening years. This second volume therefore sought to provide an update of this specialised field, although, regrettably, these advances were not always evident in the present contributions. In many ways, the ‘‘bottom of the barrel’’ has not been considered as the most fashionable area of scientific study, mainly due to the imprecise nature of the constituents and the comparatively low value of the resultant materials. However, over the years there have been a few notable contributors to the advance of the subject, and one chapter on the role of metals in fossil fuels is devoted to the work of one of these, T.F. Yen, one of the present editors. Crude oils can contain up to 20% of asphaltenic species that are not naturally soluble in the main hydrocarbon oil (or maltenes) fraction. According to the definition used by one of the contributors, they comprise an ensemble of chemically unique oligomeric molecules with aromatic/naphthenic cores, with aliphatic side chains and considerable levels of heteroatoms (N, S, O, Ni and V). It is generally accepted that asphaltenes are solubilised in the crude or residual oils by association with resins acting as compatibilising agents. Compositional and stability aspects of asphaltenes are discussed in several chapters, although the cited literature suggests that the advances made since 1994 have been somewhat modest. In fact, there have been several recent directions [e.g. electrical effects (Taylor, 1999), solubility analyses (Rogel, 1997; Yarranton and Masliyah, 1997), and aggregation and growth (Rassamdana and Sahimi,

1996)] that could have been included in some of the chapters. The so-called ‘‘micellar’’ structure of asphaltenes was proposed originally by Nellensteyn in the 1920s. Changes to the maltene composition, such as during production or refining, can lead to destabilisation of the ‘‘micelles’’ and asphaltene precipitation occurs as a result. Several chapters are devoted to effects of chemical composition on asphalt properties such as durability, ageing and oxidation. Asphaltene cracking and hydroconversions are considered in further chapters. Specific examples relating to Chinese crude oils and residues are also included. The complex and imprecise nature of the asphaltene fraction has precluded detailed structural analyses. The present book also contains accounts of the use of electron spin resonance and thin-layer chromatography as analytical methods for characterising asphaltenes. Chapters dealing with thermodynamic and computer-assisted structure elucidation (CASE) modelling methods describe these valuable methods of gaining a better appreciation of the nature and properties of the asphaltene fraction. In general, this hardback text, solely in black and white, appears well laid out, although it is something of a mixed bag in terms of content and quality. In its 620 pages, it certainly contains some useful contributions for those interested in the heavier components of crude oils, and which will also serve as a reference work for newer entrants to the field. It also includes a chapter on wax precipitation, and, although being a worthy review, one might reasonably question its relevance to the specific theme of this book. Overall, the most useful contributions are the technological chapters, and those dealing with theory and modelling. The former would find value with those working on asphalts and refinery processing, whilst the latter would be applicable to researchers into petroleum composition.


Book reviews

References Taylor, S.E., 1999. Fuel 77, 821 – 828. Rogel, E., 1997. Energy Fuels 11, 920 – 925. Yarranton, H.W., Masliyah, J.H., 1997. AIChE J. 42, 3533 – 3543. Rassamdana, H., Sahimi, M., 1996. AIChE J. 42, 3318 – 3332.

S.E. Taylor Senior Colloid Scientist, Fuels Technology Unit, B.P. Oil Research and Engineering Centre, Chertsey Road, Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex TW16 7LN, UK


Geological well logs—their use in reservoir modelling Springer Verlag; ISBN 3-540-67840-9; Stefan M. Luthi, 2001, 373 pp. ($89.95, o89.95)

The author has been deeply involved at the heart of the application of well logs to geological problems for two decades. He has gained hands-on experience and developed new methods with a leading supplier. He is presently in academia and is Professor of Production Geology in the Applied Earth Sciences Department at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, and is highly qualified to write on the subjects covered: (1) Brief history and the petrophysical approach. (2) Geological measurements including dipmeter, electrical, acoustic, density and optical borehole imaging, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear spectroscopy logging, paleomagnetic logging and core sampling. (3) Applications and case studies including structural modelling, bedding and reservoir zonation, fractured reservoirs, well correlation and geological drilling and geosteering. Recently invented borehole measurements relevant to geologists are the core of this book. Short but accurate descriptions of the tools and the techniques for extracting

useful commercial information from them are provided, as well as field examples. The book draws together many different publications from the past decade, forming a valuable collection to which Professor Luthi has added is own experience and commentary. The newest techniques for imaging the character of the borehole wall in extended-reach wells are discussed, including both electrical and density images while drilling. Readers will be familiar with the importance of the rapid development and worldwide application of high angle wells. The many structural, correlation, depositional and cross-bedding evaluations are excellent and cover the most fundamental and the advanced issues. Other highlights include, the comparisons on real core with real electrical-based images, the several ‘borehole’ wrapped presentations of log images, such as fractures, that are easier to understand than the flat usual images, and the ‘real’ photographs of a faulted dolomitic reservoir from a downhole video camera. Some modest additions would have been helpful. A larger proportion of material should have been from suppliers other than Schlumberger. Two geological multi-well cross sections were too small. The widely used clay-related fundamental electrical models should have been mentioned alongside the more academic solution. All NMR interpretations should include the effect of borehole caving, since this leads to a large apparent ‘shale’ content derived from the ‘mud’. In the elemental spectroscopy example, gypsum was not differentiated from anhydrite by using the available standard log data. These suggestions are minor in comparison with the large volume of excellent material provided. The book will be very useful for practising geoscientists and graduate students to learn about, or update themselves on, the recent geological logging tools, their interpretation techniques and reservoir applications. The book is currently being used as the resource for an AAPG short course.

Richard Woodhouse ‘Fariswood’, Sheerwater Avenue, Woodham, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 3DR, UK E-mail address: [email protected]