A tertiary alkaline/surfactant/polymer (ASP) multi-well pilot flood was carried out in the San Francisco field, Colombia. The pilot had mixed results, as the positive subsurface response was counterbalanced by serious operational issues, that in the end did not allowed the pilot to realize its full potential. The complexity of the flow paths in a multi-sand reservoir with irregular well spacing lead to large quantities of chemicals being recirculated, which trigger the operational issues, becoming a complex loop where these issues led to closing wells, which led to changing the flow paths and generating more operational issues. The paper presents the design of the pilot, the extensive work that was carried out to understand and improve the flow in the pilot area, the response of the pilot, the challenges that were faced during its operation, and the analysis and lessons learned from this pilot.
This paper describes a new chemical EOR numerical model capable of simulating surfactant and polymer floods. We present the highlights of a highly efficient and robust IMPES implementation within a legacy, in-house gas-oil-water compositional simulator. The additional computational overhead, over say a waterflood calculation, is on the order of only 20% for large scale (type pattern model) simulations. We present performance results both in serial as well as parallel (multi-processor) mode.
Flow within all three Winsor Type environments is modeled, with the ability to transition between the different types. The effects of a separate microemulsion (ME) phase are accounted for. Temperature effects on surfactant phase behavior as well as on adsorption are also considered. Other important physical effects that are modeled include phase trapping and oil bypassed by surfactant, near wellbore polymer injectivity and the reduction of surfactant adsorption associated with a sacrificial agent such as alkali. Gas phase is included in the model.
The model has been extensively benchmarked against another reservoir simulator. We also present some validation results at the laboratory as well as at the field scale.
One major concern for Alkaline Surfactant Polymer (ASP) flooding is the possibility of inorganic scale formation near the wellbore and in the production facility. In this process, the precipitation reactions of multivalent hardness ions present in the carbonate reservoirs with alkalis in high pH brines might damage the formation, production facilities, and cause severe flow assurance issues. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the geochemical reactions and possibility of scale formation and its associated problems to develop mitigation plans. In this paper, we performed geochemical simulations to investigate the likelihood of inorganic scale formation during ASP flooding in a 5-spot pilot project in one of the largest carbonate reservoirs in the Middle East.
We used a coupled chemical flooding simulator and geochemical (IPhreeqc) framework for this study. First, we incorporated published laboratory data in a geomodel realization of the pilot area. Second, we used the pilot model to investigate the possibility of scale formation during ASP flooding considering a comprehensive system of reactions. Using IPhreeqc, we were able to include thermodynamic databases with various geochemical reactions and capabilities such as saturation index calculation, reversible and irreversible reactions, kinetic reaction, and impacts of temperature and pressure on reaction constants and solubility products. Thus, we were able to show how and where the scales may form.
Our results indicated that the mixing of very hard formation water or water from the subzones near the production wellbore with the injected alkaline water causes scale deposition. We observed calcite dissolutions with slight increase in pH near the injection wellbores after soft seawater preflush. As the ASP solution was injected and high pH brine propagated, carbonate scale and to a lesser extent hydroxide scale formed near the producer. Moreover, although some carbonate and magnesium hydroxide deposits in the formation, but there was negligible effect on reservoir properties. Furthermore, according to our simulation results, most of the scales deposited near the production wellbore, which increases the chance of reducing wellbore productivity and production system damage. These results can help in developing mitigation strategies i.e. preflood the reservoir with soft brine before introducing the ASP slug and optimize the soft brine injection time.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that a comprehensive chemical flood reactive transport simulator is used to assess scale formation during ASP flooding in a carbonate reservoir. Our approach can be used to identify and mitigate challenges and associated design problems for field-scale ASP scenarios.
The ASP process may still be promising for surfactant flooding of shaley formations that have high surfactant adsorption with conventional surfactant-polymer flooding. Positive sites on clays are sites where anionic surfactant adsorption occurs in conventional surfactant flooding. High pH of alkali converts positive clay sites to negative sites. In addition, sodium carbonate sequesters calcium ions due to the small solubility product of calcium carbonate. If the formation has pyrite or siderite present, the core material in the laboratory environment will likely have a coating of ferric oxide that contributes to the anionic surfactant adsorption sites. Thus the test core should be restored to reducing conditions to better represent in situ conditions.
The ASP process has two sources of surface active materials. One is injected synthetic surfactant and the other is soap generated in-situ by reaction of alkali with naphthenic acids in crude oil. However, this adds to the complexity of the process because the optimal salinity becomes a function of both the concentration of injected surfactant and in-situ generated soap. Water soluble active soap number (WSASN) is used instead of total acid number (TAN) to estimate the optimal salinity. When WSASN rather than TAN is used to estimate the soap content, the logarithm of the optimal salinity is a linear function of the soap fraction. In this presentation, we demonstrate the technology to estimate the optimal salinity of soap/surfactant mixtures and use it to develop formulations with great potential to recover oil for a weakly consolidated sandstone reservoir.
The potential of incremental oil recovery by the ASP formulation is evaluated by ASP flooding tests on both quartz sand packs and formation material. The ASP formulation recovered more than 95% of the water flooded residual oil using a 0.5 PV slug of either 0.3% or 0.5% NI blend surfactant. The sodium carbonate concentration was 1.0% and the polymer concentration was 0.3%. Moreover, it is found from simulation results that the development of soap/surfactant gradient in ASP flooding ensures the process passing through the optimal condition, where minimum IFT and low residual oil saturation will be attained.
This paper summarizes BP's Alaskan viscous oil resource appraisal strategy to de-risk viscous oil resource progression with a goal to improve recovery factor by 10%. A key to recovery improvement is application of improved oil recovery/enhanced oil recovery (IOR/EOR) methods. However, even after detailed studies, moving to the next stage including field pilots is not always easy in the mature and remote Alaskan North Slope.
The paper also covers BP's Alaskan viscous oil technology strategy, extraction technologies selection, simulation and analytical studies, laboratory studies, and field trials for various shortlisted methods. A comprehensive study strategy conducted for progressing chemical EOR processes is discussed. The paper also addresses the challenges of obtaining new core and fluid samples for laboratory studies and logistical and economic considerations for field trials due to location and weather conditions in this part of the world.
Alkaline-surfactant-polymer (ASP) flooding of a viscous oil (100 cp) is studied here in a two-dimensional (2D) sand pack. An ASP formulation was developed by studying the phase behavior of the oil with several alkaline-surfactant formulations. The effectiveness of the ASP formulation was validated in a 1D sand pack by conducting a water flood followed by a stable ASP flood. Reservoir sand was then packed into a 2D square steel cell similar to a quarter five-spot pattern. Several ASP floods were then conducted in this 2D cell to study both the displacement and sweep efficiency of ASP floods. First, the polymer concentration was varied to find an optimum polymer concentration. Then the waterflood extent was varied (0–1 PV) after which the ASP flood was initiated. The oil recovery, oil cut, effluent concentration and pressure drop were monitored during the floods. The tertiary ASP flood was very effective in 1D and validated the ASP formulation. The 2D tertiary ASP flood also recovered most of the oil (~98% of OOIP) when the ASP slug viscosity exceeded the oil viscosity, but the pressure gradients were high at ~ 1ft/d injection. When the ASP slug viscosity was lowered to ~1/3 of oil viscosity, oil recovery dropped slightly to 90% OOIP. However, it also decreased the pressure gradient 5 times, which would give good flow rates in the field conditions. As the extent of waterflood preceding ASP got shorter, the oil was recovered faster (for the same pore volumes injected), but the pressure gradient was higher for the ASP flood than the water flood. The ultimate recovery was independent of the extent of waterflood.
Although geochemical reactions are the fundamental basis of the alkaline/surfactant/polymer (ASP) flooding, their importance is commonly overlooked and not fully assessed. Common assumptions made when modeling geochemical reactions in ASP floods include: 1) ideal solution (i.e., using molalities rather than ion activities) for the water and aqueous geochemical species 2) limiting the number of reactions (i.e., oil/alkali and alkali consumptions) rather than including the entire thermodynamically-equilibrated system 3) ignoring the effect of temperature and pressure on reactions 4) local equilibrium ignoring the kinetics. To the best of our knowledge, the significance of these assumptions has never been discussed in the literature. In this paper we investigate the importance of geochemical reactions during alkaline/surfactant/polymer floods using a comprehensive tool in the sense of surfactant/soap phase behavior as well as geochemistry.
We coupled the United States Geological Survey (USGS) state-of-the-art geochemical tool, with 3D flow and transport chemical flooding module of UTCHEM. This geochemical module includes several thermodynamic databases with various geochemical reactions, such as ion speciation by applying several ion-association aqueous models, mineral, solid-solution, surface-complexation, and ion-exchange reaction. It has capabilities of saturation index calculation, reversible and irreversible reactions, kinetic reaction, mixing solutions, inverse modeling and includes impacts of temperature and pressure on reaction constants and solubility products. The chemical flood simulator has a three phase (water, oil, microemulsion) phase behavior package for the mixture of surfactant/soap, oil, and water as a function of surfactant/soap, salinity, temperature, and co-solvent concentration. Hence, the coupled software package provides a comprehensive tool to assess the significance of geochemical assumptions typically imposed in modeling ASP floods. Moreover, this integrated tool enables modeling of variations in mineralogy present in reservoir rocks. We parallelized the geochemistry module of this coupled simulator for large-scale reservoir simulations.
Our simulation results show that the assumption of ideal solution overestimates ASP oil recovery. Assuming only a subset of reactions for a coupled system is not recommended, particularly when a large number of geochemical species is involved, as is the case in realistic applications of ASP. Reservoir pressure has a negligible effect but temperature has a significant impact on geochemical calculations. Although mineral reaction kinetics is largely a function of the temperature and in-situ water composition, some general conclusions can be drawn as follows: to a good approximation, minerals with slow rate kinetic reaction (e.g., quartz) can be excluded when modeling ASP laboratory floods. However, minerals with fast rate kinetic reactions (e.g., calcite) must be included when modeling lab results. On the other hand, in modeling field-scale applications, local equilibrium assumption (LEA) can be applied for fast rate kinetic minerals, whereas kinetics should be used for slow rate kinetic minerals.
Fortenberry, R. (Ultimate EOR Services) | Delshad, M. (Ultimate EOR Services) | Suniga, P. (Ultimate EOR Services) | Koyassan Veedu, F. (DeGolyer & MacNaughton) | Wang, P. (DeGolyer & MacNaughton) | Al-Kaaoud, H. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Singh, B. B. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Tiwari, S. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Baroon, B. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Pope, G. A. (University of Texas at Austin)
Our team has developed a new simulation model for an upcoming 5-spot Alkaline-Surfactant-Polymer (ASP) pilot in the Sabriyah Mauddud reservoir in Kuwait. We present new pilot simulation results based on new data from pilot wells and an updated geocelluar reservoir model. New cores and well logs were used to update the geocellular model, including initial fluid distributions, permeability and layer flow allocation.
From the updated geocellular model a smaller dynamic sector model was extracted to history match field performance of a waterflood pattern. From the dynamic model a yet smaller pilot model was extracted and refined to simulate the 5-spot ASP pilot.
We used this pilot model to evaluate injection composition, zonal completions, observation well locations, interwell tracer test design and predicted performance of ASP flooding. A sensitivity analysis for some important design variables and pilot performance benchmarks is also included. We used multiple interwell tracer test simulations to estimate reservoir sweep efficiency for both water and ASP fluids, and to help us understand how well operations will affect this unconfined ASP pilot. This work details some crucial aspects of pre-ASP pilot design and implementation.
During an Alkaline-Surfactant-Polymer (
In this study, steady-state (
For brine/oil systems some dependence of apparent viscosity on rock permeability was observed; for systems with surfactants no such trend was noticable. The addition of surfactants substantially reduced the apparent viscosities; the viscosity reducing impact of surfactants could be balanced by the addition of polymer. Fractional flow analysis showed that the addition of surfactants reduces the impact of capillary forces resulting in straightened relative permeability curves and higher aqueous phase relative permeability end points.
It is anticipated that this study leads to a fast and fit for purpose characterization method of
The Mangala field in the state of Rajasthan of western India was the first major oil discovery in the Barmer basin and is the largest discovered oil field in the basin. It contains paraffinic oil with average viscosity of ~15 cp and wax appearance temperature only about 5°C lower than reservoir temperature of 65°C. The initial development plan was a hot waterflood to prevent any in situ wax deposition; recently, though chemical EOR methods have started to play an important role in the development of the field.
A polymer flood pilot was successfully conducted in the field. It was followed by an ASP pilot trial which used the same set of wells. Unlike the polymer pilot, ASP injection was confined to a single continuous sand to reduce interference with nearby wells and to reduce the uncertainty in interpretation of pilot results. A combination of a high molecular weight branched alcohol PO-EO sulfate and a high carbon number sulfonate was selected for the ASP formulation. The selected surfactants functioned well in the desired salinity range and were stable in an aqueous solution up to half a percent higher alkali concentration than the optimal concentration.
The pilot facilities needed to meet a number of challenges arising from using neat surfactants-mainly handling of viscous/gelling material, maintaining accurate dosing rates, maintaining the right ratio of two surfactants, and maintaining stability of the sulfate itself. These challenges were surmounted in the pilot by using a blended surfactant solution, diluted with water, with activity of 24%.
ASP injection led to mobilization of significant volume of oil in the confined 5-spot pattern. The oil-cut of the central producer increased from 10% to 80%. The oil production rate showed almost an eight fold increase from 50 bopd to nearly 400 bopd. The estimated incremental recovery over polymer flooding is nearly 20% of the pilot STOIIP. Later in the pilot project the expected increase in water-cut was accompanied with the production of the injected chemicals along with rise in the pH of the produced water, indicating that favourable mobility was maintained during ASP injection. Some production challenges were encountered—most notably the failure of the producer's electrical submersible pump (ESP); this required the producer to be put on jet pump intermittently when the ESP was not functioning. The saturation observation wells located within the pattern area showed significant desaturation of oil. Sponge cores acquired after the pilot showed very low remaining oil saturation in the flooded sections. The paper will discuss the pilot operations, monitoring and quality control, the pilot results, and lessons learnt.