Paraffin is a family of saturated high molecular weight hydrocarbons. They can become problematic when the produced oil is subjected to various physical changes of pressure, temperature and turbulence during production. The principal concern with paraffin deposits is the restriction of fluid production rates. This may be due to paraffin deposition in the near-wellbore, restricting flow of hydrocarbon into the well, or more often deposition in production pipe work leading to restriction of diameter and therefore flow rate. Also, the paraffinic crystallites, if precipitated in the bulk hydrocarbon, can increase the viscosity of the fluids, reducing pipeline throughput.
The ideal approach to paraffin precipitation is to inhibit the deposition before the problem arises. Preventative treatment involves the continuous injection of dispersants, inhibitors, pour-point depressants, or combinations thereof.