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Abstract Distributed Fiber Optics (DFO) technology has been the new face for unconventional well diagnostics. This technology focuses on measuring Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) and Distrusted Temperature Sensing (DTS) to give an in-depth understanding of well productivity pre and post stimulation. Many different completion design strategies, both on surface and downhole, are used to obtain the best fracture network outcome; however, with complex geological features, different fracture designs, and fracture driven interactions (FDIs) effecting nearby wells, it is difficult to grasp a full understanding on completion design performance for each well. Validating completion designs and improving on the learnings found in each data set should be the foundation in developing each field. Capturing a data set with strong evidence of what works and what doesn't, can help the operator make better engineering decisions to make more efficient wells as well as help gauge the spacing between each well. The focus of this paper will be on a few case studies in the Bakken which vividly show how infill wells greatly interfered with production output. A DFO deployed with a 0.6" OD, 23,000-foot-long carbon fiber rod to acquire DAS and DTS for post frac flow, completion, and interference evaluation. This paper will dive into the DFO measurements taken post frac to further explain what effects are seen on completion designs caused by interferences with infill wells; the learnings taken from the DFO post frac were applied to further escalate the understanding and awareness of how infill wells will preform on future pad sites. A showcase of three separate data sets from the Bakken will identify how effective DFO technology can be in evaluating and making informed decisions on future frac completions. In this paper we will also show and discuss how DFO can measure real time FDI events and what measures can be taken to lessen the impact on negative interference caused by infill wells.
Abstract Activating naturally occurring nanoparticles in the reservoir (clays) to generate Pickering emulsions results in low-cost heavy oil recovery. In this study, we test the stability of emulsions generated using different types of clays and perform a parametric analysis on salinity, pH, water to oil ratio (WOR), and particle concentration; additionally, we report on a formulation of injected water used to activate the clays found in sandstones to improve oil recovery. First, oil-in-water (O/W) emulsions generated by different clay particles (bentonite and kaolinite) were prepared for both bottle tests and zeta potential measurements, then the stability of dispersion was measured under various conditions (pH and salinity). Heavy crude oils (50 to 170,000 cP) were used for all experiments. The application conditions for these clay types on emulsion generation and stability were examined. Second, sandpacks with known amounts of clays were saturated with heavy-oil samples. Aqueous solutions with various salinity and pH were injected into the oil-saturated sandpack with a pump. The recoveries were monitored while analyzing the produced samples; a systematic comparison of emulsions formed under various conditions (e.g., salinity, pH, WOR, clay type) was presented. Third, glass bead micromodels with known amounts of clays were also prepared to visualize the in-situ behavior of clay particles under various salinity conditions. The transparent mineral oil instead of opaque heavy oil was used in these micromodel tests for better visualization results. Recommendations were made for the most suitable strategies to enhance heavy oil recovery with and without the presence of clay in the porous medium; moreover, conditions and optimal formulations for said recommendations were presented. The bottle tests showed that 3% bentonite can stabilize O/W emulsions under a high WOR (9:1) condition. The addition of 0.04% of NaOH (pH=12) further improved the emulsion stability against salinity. This improvement is because of the activation of natural surfactant in the heavy oil by the added alkali—as confirmed by the minimum interfacial tension (0.17 mN/M) between the oil and 0.04% of the NaOH solution. The sandpack flood experiments showed an improved sweep efficiency caused by the swelling of bentonite when injecting low salinity fluid (e.g., DIW). The micromodel tests showed a wettability change to be more oil-wet under high salinity conditions, and the swelling of bentonite would divert incoming water flow to other unswept areas thus improving sweep efficiency. This paper presents new ideas and recommendations for further research as well as practical applications to generate stable emulsions for improved waterflooding as a cost-effective approach. It was shown that select clays in the reservoir can be activated to act as nanoparticles, but making them generate stable (Pickering) emulsions in-situ to improve heavy-oil recovery requires further consideration.
Koparal, Gulcan Bahar (The University of Texas at Austin, Turkish Petroleum) | Sharma, Himanshu (The University of Texas at Austin, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur) | Liyanage, Pathma J. (The University of Texas at Austin,Ultimate EOR Services) | Panthi, Krishna K. (The University of Texas at Austin) | Mohanty, Kishore (The University of Texas at Austin)
Abstract High surfactant adsorption remains a bottleneck for a field-wide implementation of surfactant floods. Although alkali addition lowers surfactant adsorption, alkali also introduces many complexities. In our systematic study, we investigated a simple and cost effective method to lower surfactant adsorption in sandstones without adding unnecessary complexities. Static and dynamic surfactant adsorption studies were conducted to understand the role of sacrificial agent sodium polyacrylate (NaPA) on adsorption of anionic surfactants n outcrop and resevoir sandstone corefloods. The dynamic retention studies were conducted with and without the presence of crude oil. Surfactant phase behavior studies were first conducted to identify surfactant blends that showed ultralow interfacial tension (IFT) with two crude oils at reservoir temperature (40°C). Base case dynamic retention data, in the absence of crude oil, was obtained for these surfactant formulations at their respective optimum salinities. NaPA was then added to these surfactant formulations and similar adsorption tests were conducted. Finally, oil recovery SP corefloods were conducted for each surfactant formulations, with and without adding NaPA, and oil recovery data including the surfactant retention was compared. Static adsorption of these surfactant formulations at their respective optimum salinities on crushed sandstone varied from 0.42-0.74 mg/g-rock. Their respective adsorptions lowered to 0.37-0.49 mg/g-rock on adding a small amount of NaPA. Surfactant retention in single-phase dynamic SP corefloods in the absence of crude oil in outcrop Berea cores was between 0.17 to 0.23 mg/g-rock. On adding a small amount of NaPA, the surfactant adsorption values lowered to 0.1 mg/g-rock. Oil recovery SP corefloods showed high oil recovery (~91% ROIP) and low surfactant retention (~0.1 mg/g-rock) on adding NaPA to the surfactant formulations.
Abstract Shale wells are often shut-in after hydraulic fracturing is finished. Shut-in often lasts for an extended period in the perceived hope to improve the ultimate oil recovery. However, current literature does not show a strong consensus on whether shut-in will improve the ultimate oil recovery. Because of the delayed production, evaluating the benefits of shut-in in improving the ultimate oil recovery is crucial. Otherwise, shut-in would merely delay the production and harm the economic performance. This paper uses a numerical flow-geomechanical modeling approach to investigate the effect of imbibition on shut-in potentials to improve the ultimate oil recovery. This paper proposes that imbibition is one of the strongly confounding variables that cause the mixed conclusions in the related literature. The investigation methodology involves probabilistic forecasting of three reservoir realization models validated based on the same field production data. Each of the models represents different primary recovery driving mechanism, such as imbibition-dominant and compaction-dominant recovery. A parametric study is conducted to explore and identify the specific reservoir conditions in which shut-in tends to improve the shale oil recovery. Ten reservoir parameters which affect the imbibition strength are studied under different shut-in durations. Comparison among the three models quantitatively demonstrates that shut-in tends to improve the ultimate oil recovery only if the shale reservoir demonstrates imbibition-dominant recovery. A first-pass economic analysis also suggests that when the shale oil reservoirs demonstrate such an imbibition-dominant recovery, shut-in tends to not only improve the ultimate oil recovery, but also the NPV. A correlation among ultimate oil recovery, flowback efficiency, and NPV also shows that there is no strong relationship between flowback efficiency and ultimate oil recovery. This study is one of the first to emphasize the importance of quantifying the imbibition strength and its contribution in helping recover the shale oil for optimum flowback framework and shale well shut-in design after hydraulic fracturing.
Abstract Low salinity waterflooding has been an area of great interest for researchers for almost over three decades for its perceived "simplicity," cost-effectiveness, and the potential benefits it offers over the other enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. There have been numerous laboratory studies to study the effect of injection water salinity on oil recovery, but there are only a few cases reported worldwide where low salinity water flooding (LSW) has been implemented on a field scale. In this paper, we have summarized the results of our analyses for some of those successful field cases for both sandstone and carbonate reservoirs. Most field cases of LSW worldwide are in sandstone reservoirs. Although there have been a lot of experimental studies on the effect of water salinity on recovery in carbonate reservoirs, only a few cases of field-scale implementation have been reported for the LSW in carbonate reservoirs. The incremental improvement expected from the LSW depends on various factors like the brine composition (injection and formation water), oil composition, pressure, temperature, and rock mineralogy. Therefore, all these factors should be considered, together with some specially designed fit-for-purpose experimental studies need to be performed before implementing the LSW on a field scale. The evidence of the positive effect of LSW at the field scale has mostly been observed from near well-bore well tests and inter-well tests. However, there are a few cases such Powder River Basin in the USA and Bastrykskoye field in Russia, where the operators had unintentionally injected less saline water in the past and were pleasantly surprised when the analyses of the historical data seemed to attribute the enhanced oil recovery due to the lower salinity of the injected water. We have critically analyzed all the major field cases of LSW. Our paper highlights some of the key factors that worked well in the field, which showed a positive impact of LSW and a comparative assessment of the incremental recovery realized from the reservoir visa-a-vis the expectations generated from the laboratory-based experimental studies. It is envisaged that such a comparison could be more meaningful and reliable. Also, it identifies the likely uncertainties (and their sources) associated during the field implementation of LSW.
Abstract A large percentage of petroleum reserves are located in carbonate reservoirs, which can be divided into limestone, chalk and dolomite. Roughly the oil recovery from carbonates is below the 30% due to the strong oil wetness, low permeability, abundance of natural fractures, and inhomogeneous rock properties Austad (2013). Injection of adjusted brine chemistry into carbonate reservoirs has been reported to increase oil recovery by 5-30% of the original oil in place in field tests and core flooding experiments. Previous studies have shown that adjusted waterflooding recovery in carbonate reservoirs is dependent on the composition and ionic strength of the injection brine (Morrow et al. 1998; Zhang 2005). Many research works have focused on the role of the brine composition in altering the initial wettability state of carbonate rock, which is usually intermediate- to oil-wet. Crude oils contain carboxyl group, -COOH, that can be found in the resin and asphaltenes fractions. The negatively charged carboxyl group, -COOH bond very strongly with the positively charged, sites on the carbonate surface. The carbonate surface, which is positively charged is believed to adsorb the that is negatively charged. On the other side cations Ca and Mg bind to the negatively charged carboxylic group and release it from the surface. In this study we use a closed system geochemical model to study the effect of the surface-charge dominant species; Ca, Mg and on the carbonate surfaces at 80 °C. The proposed geochemical interactions can possibly lead to a change in the surface charge, altering wettability of the rock by exchanging ions/cations. Brines with various concentrations of Mg and were prepared in the lab and contact angle between carbonate substrate and crude oil was measured using a rising/captive bubble tensiometer at 80 °C. The composition of the carbonate system was collected from previous literature review and the composition of adjusted brines was used to build a surface sorption database to develop a geochemical model. This model is focused on identifying the reaction paths and the surface behavior that may represent the real system. Changes in carbonate surface wettability were further evaluated using a series of contact angle experiments. Experimental observations and modeling results are concordant and imply that ions may alter the wettability of carbonate surface at high temperature.
Abstract Chemical flooding has been widely used to enhance oil recovery after conventional waterflooding. However, it is always a challenge to model chemical flooding accurately since many of the model parameters of the chemical flooding cannot be measured accurately in the lab and even some parameters cannot be obtained from the lab. Recently, the ensemble-based assisted history matching techniques have been proven to be efficient and effective in simultaneously estimating multiple model parameters. Therefore, this study validates the effectiveness of the ensemble-based method in estimating model parameters for chemical flooding simulation, and the half-iteration EnKF (HIEnKF) method has been employed to conduct the assisted history matching. In this work, five surfactantpolymer (SP) coreflooding experiments have been first conducted, and the corresponding core scale simulation models have been built to simulate the coreflooding experiments. Then the HIEnKF method has been applied to calibrate the core scale simulation models by assimilating the observed data including cumulative oil production and pressure drop from the corresponding coreflooding experiments. The HIEnKF method has been successively applied to simultaneously estimate multiple model parameters, including porosity and permeability fields, relative permeabilities, polymer viscosity curve, polymer adsorption curve, surfactant interfacial tension (IFT) curve and miscibility function curve, for the SP flooding simulation model. There exists a good agreement between the updated simulation results and observation data, indicating that the updated model parameters are appropriate to characterize the properties of the corresponding porous media and the fluid flow properties in it. At the same time, the effectiveness of the ensemble-based assisted history matching method in chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) simulation has been validated. Based on the validated simulation model, numerical simulation tests have been conducted to investigate the influence of injection schemes and operating parameters of SP flooding on the ultimate oil recovery performance. It has been found that the polymer concentration, surfactant concentration and slug size of SP flooding have a significant impact on oil recovery, and these parameters need to be optimized to achieve the maximum economic benefit.
Abstract This study designs a novel complex fluid (foam/emulsion) using as main components gas, low-toxicity solvents (green solvents) which may promote oil mobilization, and synergistic foam stabilizers (i.e. nanoparticles and surfactants) to improve sweep efficiency. This nanoparticle-enabled green solvent foam (NGS-foam) avoids major greenhouse gas emissions from the thermal recovery process and improves the performance of conventional green solvent-based methods (non-thermal) by increasing the sweep efficiency, utilizing less solvent while producing more oil. Surfactants and nanoparticles were screened in static tests to generate foam in the presence of a water-soluble/oil-soluble solvent and heavy crude oil from a Canadian oil field (1600 cp). The liquid phase of NGS-foam contains surfactant, nanoparticle, and green solvent (GS) all dispersed in the water phase. Nitrogen was used as the gas phase. Fluid flow experiments in porous media with heterogeneous permeability structure mimicking natural environments were performed to demonstrate the dynamic stability of the NGS-foam for heavy oil recovery. The propagation of the pre-generated foam was monitored at 10 cm intervals over the length of porous media (40 cm). Apparent viscosity, pressure gradient, inline measurement of effluent density, and oil recovery were recorded/calculated to evaluate the NGS-foam performance. The outcomes of static experiments revealed that surfactant alone cannot stabilize the green solvent foam and the presence of carefully chosen nanoparticles is crucial to have stable foam in the presence of heavy oil. The results of NGS-foam flow in heterogeneous porous media demonstrated a step-change improvement in oil production such that more than 60% of residual heavy oil was recovered after initial waterflood. This value of residual oil recovery was significantly higher than other scenarios tested in this study (i.e. GS- water and gas co-injection, conventional foam without GS, GS-foam stabilized with surfactant only and GS-waterflood). The increased production occurred because NGS-foam remained stable in the flowing condition, improves the sweep efficiency and increases the contact area of the solvent with oil. The latter factor is significant: comparing to GS-waterflood, NGS-foam produces a unit volume of oil faster with less solvent and up to 80% less water. Consequently, the cost of solvent per barrel of incremental oil will be lower than for previously described solvent applications. In addition, due to its water solubility, the solvent can be readily recovered from the reservoir by post flush of water and thus re-used. The NGS-foam has several potential applications: recovery from post-CHOPS reservoirs (controlling mobility in wormholes and improving the sweep efficiency while reducing oil viscosity), fracturing fluid (high apparent viscosity to carry proppant and solvent to promote hydrocarbon recovery from matrix while minimizing water invasion), and thermal oil recovery (hot NGS-foam for efficient oil viscosity reduction and sweep efficiency improvement).
Abstract Alaska North Slope (ANS) contains vast viscous oil resources that have not been developed effectively due to the lack of efficient Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques. This study investigates the EOR performance of three new hybrid EOR techniques: HSW-LSW-LSP flooding, solvent-alternating-LSW flooding, and solvent-alternating-LSP flooding. Additionally, pressure-volume-temperature (PVT) tests have been conducted to investigate the oil swelling and viscosity reduction effects of the proposed solvent. It has been found that the oil recovery of HSW flooding was 43.42%, while the tested HSW-LSW-LSP flooding, solvent-alternating-LSW flooding, and solvent-alternating-LSP flooding could improve the oil recovery to 74.17%, 79.73%, and 85.87%, respectively. All three proposed hybrid EOR techniques can significantly enhance the viscous oil recovery since they were all designed to both improve the microscopic and macroscopic sweep efficiencies. In particular, the PVT test results confirmed that the proposed solvent in this study could effectively swell the viscous oil over 30% and significantly reduce the viscous oil viscosity by about 97%. However, the initially designed solvent-alternating-LSP flooding displacement experiment had to be terminated after the first slug of polymer injection due to the extremely high differential pressure, which was over the measurement range of the pressure gauge. Thus, the actually tested displacement process in this study was solvent-LSP flooding. The extremely high differential pressure was found to result from the polymer deposit and blockage at the outlet. Although the proposed solvent-alternating-LSP flooding may produce the highest oil recovery, it cannot be applied in the field until the issue of polymer precipitation is understood and solved. The study has practical guidance to the selection of proper EOR techniques to enhance viscous oil recovery on ANS.
Fakher, Sherif (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Elgahawy, Youssef (University of Calgary) | Abdelaal, Hesham (University of Lisbon) | Imqam, Abdulmohsin (Missouri University of Science and Technology)
Abstract Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in shale reservoirs has been recently shown to increase oil recovery significantly from this unconventional oil and gas source. One of the most studied EOR methods in shale reservoirs is gas injection, with a focus on carbon Dioxide (CO2) mainly due to the ability to both enhance oil recovery and store the CO2 in the formation. Even though several shale plays have reported an increase in oil recovery using CO2 injection, in some cases this method failed severely. This research attempts to investigate the ability of the CO2 to mobilize crude oil from the three most prominent features in the shale reservoirs, including shale matrix, natural fractures, and hydraulically induced fracture. Shale cores with dimensions of 1 inch in diameter and approximately 1.5 inch in length were used in all experiments. The impact of CO2 soaking time and soaking pressure on the oil recovery were studied. The cores were analyzed to understand how and where the CO2 flowed inside the cores and which prominent feature resulted in the increase in oil recovery. Also, a pre-fractured core was used to run an experiment in order to understand the oil recovery potential from fractured reservoirs. Results showed that oil recovery occurred from the shale matrix, stimulation of natural fractures by the CO2, and from the hydraulic fractures with a large volume coming from the stimulated natural fractures. By understanding where the CO2 will most likely be most productive, proper design of the CO2 EOR in shale can be done in order to maximize recovery and avoid complications during injection and production which may lead to severe operational problems.