Mechanistic Modeling of MEOR as a Sustainable Recovery Technology: Coreflooding Validation, Sensitivity and Field Application

O. Ansah, Eric (Kyushu University)



Globally, most oil fields are on the decline and further production from these fields is addressed to be practical in cost-effectiveness and oil productivity. Most oil companies are adopting two main technologies to address this: artificial intelligence and enhanced oil recovery (EOR). But the cost of some of these EOR methodologies and their subsequent environmental impact is daunting. Herein, the environmental and economic advantage of microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) makes it the point of interest. Since, there is no need to change much-invested technology and infrastructure, amidst complex geology during MEOR application, it is entrusted that MEOR would be the go-to technology for the sustainability of mature fields.

Despite the benefits of MEOR, the absence of a practical numerical simulator for MEOR halts its economic validation and field applicability. Hence, we address this by performing both core and field- scale simulations of MEOR comparing conventional waterflooding. The field scale is a sector model(fluvial sandstone reservoir with 13,440 active grid cells) of a field in Asia - Pacific.

Here we show that pre-flush inorganic ions (Na+ and Ca2+) affect the mineralization of secondary minerals which influences microbe growth. This further influences carboxylation, which is relevant for oil biodegradation. Also, as per the sensitivity analysis: capillary number, residual oil saturation and relative permeability mainly affect MEOR. Secondary oil recovery assessment showed an incremental 6% OOIP for MEOR comparing conventional water flooding. Also, tertiary MEOR application increased the oil recovery by about 4% OOIP over conventional water flooding. It was established that during tertiary recovery, initiating MEOR after 5years of conventional waterflooding is more advantageous contrasting 10 and 15years. Lastly, per probabilistic estimation, MEOR could sustain already water-flooded wells for a set period, say, a 20% frequency of increasing oil recovery by above 20% for 2 additional years as highlighted in this study.