Zeng, Y. (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University) | Bahrim, R. Z. Kamarul (Petronas) | Bonnieu, S. Vincent (Shell Global Solutions International) | Groenenboom, J. (Shell Malaysia) | Shafian, S. R. Mohd (Petronas) | Manap, A. A. Abdul (Petronas) | Tewari, R. D. (Petronas) | Biswal, S. L. (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University)
This paper investigates the effect of rock permeability on foam transport in porous media both at the core-level and at the field level for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) applications. Foam offers promise to simultaneously address the issues that limit the overall oil recovery efficiency of water-alternating-gas (WAG) process such as viscous fingering, gravity override, and reservoir heterogeneity. However, in the literature, limited foam data were reported using actual reservoir cores at harsh conditions. In this paper, a series of methane (CH4) foam flooding experiments were conducted in 3 different actual cores from a proprietary reservoir at elevated temperature. It is found that foam strength is significantly correlated with rock permeability. We calculated the apparent viscosity based on the measured pressure drop along the core samples at steady state. The calculated apparent viscosity was found to be selectively higher in cores of high permeabilities compared to that in cores of low permeabilities. We parameterized our foam system using a texture-implicit-local-equilibrium model to understand the dependence of foam parameters on rock permeability. In addition, we established a 2-layered heterogeneous model reservoir in the Shell in-house simulator called MoReS (Modular Reservoir Simulator) to systematically study and compare the driving forces for fluid diversion during foam flooding at the field level including the gravitational force, the viscous force, and the capillary force. During the WAG process, gravitational force kept the gas from sweeping the lower part of the reservoir. The gravity can be overcome by viscosifying the gas with surfactant solution. In addition, capillary pressure which hinders the gas from entering the low permeability region can actually redistribute the two phases during foam EOR and improves the sweep efficiency. It is concluded that foam can effectively improve the conformance of the WAG EOR in the presence of reservoir heterogeneity.