PEH:Immiscible Gas Injection in Oil Reservoirs - PetroWiki


This chapter concerns gas injection into oil reservoirs to increase oil recovery by immiscible displacement. The use of gas, either of a designed composition or at high-enough pressure, to result in the miscible displacement of oil is not discussed here; for a discussion of that topic, see the chapter on miscible flooding in this section of the Handbook. A variety of gases can and have been used for immiscible gas displacement, with lean hydrocarbon gas used for most applications to date. Historically, immiscible gas injection was first used for reservoir pressure maintenance. The first such projects were initiated in the 1930s and used lean hydrocarbon gas (e.g., Oklahoma City field and Cunningham pool in the United States[1] and Bahrain field in Bahrain[2][3]). Over the decades, a considerable number of immiscible gas injection projects have been undertaken, some with excellent results and others with poor performance. Reasons for this range of performance are discussed in this chapter. At the end of this chapter, a variety of case studies are presented that briefly describe several of the successful immiscible gas injection projects. Gas injection projects are undertaken when and where there is a readily available supply of gas. This gas supply typically comes from produced solution gas or gas-cap gas, gas produced from a deeper gas-filled reservoir, or gas from a relatively close gas field. The primary physical mechanisms that occur as a result of gas injection are (1) partial or complete maintenance of reservoir pressure, (2) displacement of oil by gas both horizontally and vertically, (3) vaporization of the liquid hydrocarbon components from the oil column and possibly from the gas cap if retrograde condensation has occurred or if the original gas cap contains a relict oil saturation, and (4) swelling of the oil if the oil at original reservoir conditions was very undersaturated with gas. Gas injection is particularly effective in high-relief reservoirs where the process is called "gravity drainage" because the vertical/gravity aspects increase the efficiency of the process and enhance recovery of updip oil residing above the uppermost oil-zone perforations. The decision to apply immiscible gas injection is based on a combination of technical and economic factors. Deferral of gas sales is a significant economic deterrent for many potential gas injection projects if an outlet for immediate gas sales is available.

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