Suppressing Frontal Instabilities and Stabilizing Miscible Displacements with Time-Dependent Rates for Improved Oil Recovery

Yuan, Qingwang (University of Regina) | Wang, Shuoshi (University of Oklahoma) | Wang, Jinjie (China University of Geosciences) | Zeng, Fanhua (University of Regina) | Knorr, Kelvin D. (Saskatchewan Research Council) | Imran, Muhammad (Saskatchewan Research Council)



The frontal instabilities are a key control factor which can significantly affect the sweep efficiency and oil recovery in miscible flooding processes. Under unfavorable viscosity ratio between injection solvent and oil, the frontal instabilities are nearly unavoidable. However, how to suppress the instabilities, especially with low additional costs, should be carefully investigated. The present study examines the time-dependent displacement rates on flow instabilities in miscible flooding. Within the capacity of injection pumps, the injection rates are varied with time in a fast alternating manner. It is found that this kind of variable rates can stabilizing frontal instabilities by enhancing initial uniform mixing of solvent and oil. It therefore suppresses the later development of instabilities. Eventually, a much less unstable front is obtained when compared with the constant injection rate. Other parameters such as the amplitude of rates are also examined. The variations of propagation of front with time are analyzed for the change of rate strength. It is can therefore be concluded that this kind of time-dependent rate can improve oil recovery at very low additional rate within the capacity of pumps for the field EOR processes.