Omar, Shaziera (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) | Jaafar, Mohd Zaidi (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) | Ismail, Abdul Razak (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) | Wan Sulaiman, Wan Rosli (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia)
The natural pressure in hydrocarbon reservoirs is only sufficient in producing small amount of hydrocarbon at the end of the depletion stage. Therefore, in order to enhance or increase the hydrocarbon recovery, water or other fluids are injected into the formation to extract the hydrocarbon from the pore space. This common practice is known as Improved or Enhanced Oil Recovery (IOR or EOR). Foam is purposely used in some of the EOR displacement processes in order to control the mobility ratio, hence improving the volumetric sweep efficiency.
The efficiency of a foam displacement process in EOR depends largely on the stability of the foam films. In laboratory, foam stability is usually measured through physical observation of the foam bubble in a glass tube. Unfortunately, this direct observation is not possible in the reservoir. Therefore, indirect measurement such as the measurement of electrokinetic signal would be a better alternative. This study aims to determine the correlation between the foam stability and the associated streaming potential signals which resulted from the flowing fluid in foam assisted water alternate gas (FAWAG) process.
The experimental work will be conducted at the Reservoir and Drilling Engineering Laboratories at the Faculty of Petroleum and Renewable Energy Engineering (FPREE), UTM. The investigation includes sample preparation, sample analysis, displacing fluid formation, rheological properties test and electrokinetic signal measurement by using NI Data Acquisition System (NIDAS). It is expected that the burst of the foam bubble will change the pattern of the electrokinetic signals.
The research findings could lead to a new approach in monitoring a FAWAG process. Application in the real field could benefit the oil and gas industry in term of making the EOR process more efficient and more economic.
Mohd Anuar, Siti Mardhiah (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) | Jaafar, Mohd Zaidi (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) | Wan Sulaiman, Wan Rosli (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) | Ismail, Abdul Razak (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia)
Spontaneous potential (SP) is commonly measured during reservoir characterization. SP signals are also generated during hydrocarbon production due to the streaming potential occurrence. Measurement of SP could be used to detect and monitor water encroaching on a well. SP signals could also be monitored during production, with pressure support provided by water alternate gas (WAG) process. The objectives of this study are to quantify the magnitude of the SP signal during production by WAG injection and to investigate the possibility of using SP measurements to monitor the sweep efficiency.
Measurement of streaming potential has been previously proposed to detect the water encroachment towards a production well. The peak of the signal corresponds to the waterfront where there is a change of saturation from ionic water to non-polar hydrocarbon. Similar trend is predicted in the case of WAG where we have several interfaces between the injected water and the injected gas.
The results indicate that the magnitude of the SP generated in hydrocarbon reservoir during WAG process can be large and peaks at the location of the moving water front. Gas, which can be assumed to be non-polar, exhibit no electrokinetic effect. These observations suggest that WAG displacement process can be monitored indirectly from the signal acquired. Water or gas override can be detected and controlled if wells were equipped with inflow-control valves. As a conclusion, the SP measurement is a promising method to monitor the effectiveness of a WAG process.
This study is significant because monitoring the progress of water and gas in a WAG process is key in the effectiveness of this enhanced oil recovery method. Measurement of the streaming potential provides another method besides using tracers to monitor the WAG profile. Better monitoring will lead to more efficient displacement and great benefits in term of economy and environment.
Downhole monitoring of streaming potential, using electrodes mounted on the outside of insulated casing, is a promising new technology for monitoring water encroachment towards an intelligent well. However, there are still significant uncertainties associated with the interpretation of the measurements, particularly concerning the streaming potential coupling coefficient. This is a key petrophysical property which dictates the magnitude of the streaming potential for a given fluid potential. The coupling coefficient can be measured experimentally, but previous studies have obtained data for sandstone cores saturated with relatively low salinity brine (less than seawater). Formation and injected brine in hydrocarbon reservoirs is typically more saline than this. Extrapolating data obtained at low salinity into the high salinity domain suggests that the coupling coefficient falls to zero at approximately seawater salinity. If this is the case, then streaming potential signals will be very small in most hydrocarbon reservoirs.
We present the first measured values of streaming potential coupling coefficient in sandstone cores saturated with brine at higher than seawater salinity. We find that the coupling coefficient is small, but still measurable, even when the brine salinity approaches the saturated concentration limit. Consistent results are obtained from two independent experimental set-ups, using specially designed electrodes and paired pumping experiments to eliminate spurious electrical potentials. We apply the new experimental data in a numerical model to predict the streaming potential signal which would be measured at a well during production. The results suggest that measured signals should be resolvable above background noise in most hydrocarbon reservoirs, and that water encroaching on a well could be monitored while it is several tens to hundreds of metres away.