Jones, S. A. (Delft University of Technology) | Laskaris, G. (Delft University of Technology) | Vincent-Bonnieu, S. (Delft University of Technology and Shell Global Solutions International) | Farajzadeh, R. (Delft University of Technology and Shell Global Solutions International) | Rossen, W. R. (Delft University of Technology)
Aqueous foams play an important role in many industrial processes, from ore separation by froth flotation to enhanced oil recovery (EOR), where the foam is used as a means of increasing sweep efficiency through oil-bearing rock. The complex, structure-dependent, flow behavior of the foam gives improved penetration of lower-permeability regions. Foam is stabilized by surfactant molecules, and the foam strength is influenced by the surfactant concentration in the water phase. It is therefore of great importance to understand the effect of surfactant concentration on foam processes.
Implicit Texture (IT) foam models eg STARS account for the surfactant effect with functions that depend on surfactant concentration in the water and a few other parameters. However, there is no evidence that these functions are able to capture adequately the effect of surfactant concentration effect. We present a comparative study of foam core-flood experiments with various surfactant concentrations. Core-flood tests were conducted in rock cores with a diameter of 1 cm and length of 17cm, significantly smaller than typical cores. Plots of apparent viscosity vs. injected gas fraction were obtained for surfactant concentrations at the critical micellar concentration (CMC) and above. Bulk foam stability and surface tension were measured for all concentrations, in order to define the CMC and to compare with coreflood results. The experimental results have been matched with the STARS IT foam model and the dependency of model parameters on the surfactant concentration is discussed.
This work found that the IT model is not able to predict the decrease of the foam strength with decreasing surfactant concentration. Instead, the study shows that the effect of surfactant concentration can be correlated with the dry-out function of the IT model, and specifically to the limiting capillary pressure
Al Ayesh, A. H. (Department of Geoscience and Engineering, Delft University of Technology) | Salazar, R. (Department of Geoscience and Engineering, Delft University of Technology) | Farajzadeh, R. | Vincent-Bonnieu, S. | Rossen, W. R.
Foam can divert flow from higherto lower-permeability layers and thereby improve vertical conformance in gas-injection enhanced oil recovery. Recently,
The effectiveness of diversion varies greatly with injection method. In a SAG (surfactant-alternating-gas) process, diversion of the first slug of gas depends on foam behavior at very high foam quality. Mobility in the foam bank during gas injection depends on the nature of a shock front that bypasses most foam qualities usually studied in the laboratory. The foam with the lowest mobility at fixed foam quality does not necessarily give the lowest mobility in a SAG process. In particular, diversion in SAG depends on how and whether foam collapses at low water saturation; this property varies greatly among the foams reported by Kapetas et al. Moreover, diversion depends on the size of the surfactant slug received by each layer before gas injection. This of course favors diversion away from high-permeability layers that receive a large surfactant slug, but there is an optimum surfactant slug size: too little surfactant and diversion from high-permeability layers is not effective; too much and mobility is reduced in low-permeability layers, too. For a SAG process, it is very important to determine if foam collapses completely at irreducible water saturation.
In addition, we show the diversion expected in a foam-injection process as a function of foam quality. The faster propagation of surfactant and foam in the higher-permeability layers aids in diversion, as expected. This depends on foam quality and non-Newtonian foam mobility and varies with time of injection. Injectivity is extremely poor with foam injection, but is not necessarily worse than waterflood in some effective SAG foam processes