Asphaltene is a component of crude oil that has been reported to cause severe problems during production and transportation of the oil from the reservoir. It is a solid component of the oil that has different structures and molecular makeup which makes it one of the most complex components of the oil. This research provides a detailed review of asphaltene properties, characteristics, and previous studies to construct a guideline to asphaltene and its impact on oil recovery. The research begins with an explanation of the main components of crude oil and their relation to asphaltene. The method by which asphaltene is quantified in the crude oil is then explained. Due to its different structures, asphaltene has been modeled using different models all of which are then discussed. All chemical analysis methods that have been used to characterize and study asphaltene are then mentioned and the most commonly used method is shown. Asphaltene will pass through several phases in the reservoir beginning from its stability phase up to its deposition in the pores, wellbore, and facilities. All these phases are explained, and the reason they may occur is mentioned. Following this, the methods by which asphaltene can damage oil recovery are presented. Asphaltene rheology and flow mechanism in the reservoir are then explained in detail including asphaltene onset pressure determination and significance and the use of micro- and nanofluidics to model asphaltene. Finally, the mathematical models, previous laboratory, and oilfield studies conducted to evaluate asphaltene are discussed. This research will help increase the understanding of asphaltene and provide a guideline to properly study and model asphaltene in future studies.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for Research in Energy and Environment (CREE)

Keywords and Phrases

Asphaltene; Critical review; Flow behavior; Oil recovery; Pore plugging; Wettability change

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2190-0558; 2190-0566

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2019 The Authors, All rights reserved.

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2020