Sanyal, Tirtharenu (Kuwait Oil Company) | Al-Hamad, Khairyah (KOC) | Jain, Anil Kumar (KOC) | Al-Haddad, Ali Abbas (KISR) | Kholosy, Sohib (KISR) | Ali, Mohammad A.J. (Kuwait Inst. Scientific Rsch.) | Abu Sennah, Heba Farag (Kuwait Oil Company)
Improved oil recovery for heavy oil reservoirs is becoming a new research study for Kuwaiti reservoirs. There are two mechanisms for improved oil recovery by thermal methods. The first method is to heat the oil to higher temperatures, and thereby, decrease its viscosity for improved mobility. The second mechanism is similar to water flooding, in which oil is displaced to the production wells. While more steam is needed for this method than for the cyclic method, it is typically more effective at recovering a larger portion of the oil.
Steam injection heats up the oil and reduce its viscosity for better mobility and higher sweep efficiency. During this process, the velocity of the moving oil increases with lower viscosity oil; and thus, the heated zone around the injection well will have high velocity. The increase of velocity in an unconsolidated formation is usually accompanied with sand movement in the reservoir creating a potential problem.
The objective of this study was to understand the effect of flowrate and viscosity on sand production in heavy oil reservoir that is subjected for thermal recovery process. The results would be useful for designing completion under steam injection where the viscosity of the oil is expected to change due to thermal operations.
A total of 21 representative core samples were selected from different wells in Kuwait. A reservoir condition core flooding system was used to flow oil into the core plugs and to examine sand production. Initially, the baseline liquid permeability was measured with low viscosity oil and low flowrate. Then, the flowrate was increased gradually and monitored to establish the value for sand movement for each plug sample. At the end of the test, the produced oil containing sand was filtered for sand content.
The result showed that sand production increased with higher viscosity oil and high flowrate. However, sand compaction at the injection face of the cores was more significant than sand production. In addition, high confining pressure contributes to additional sand production. The average critical velocity was estimated ranged from 18 to 257 ft/day for the 0.74 cp oil, 2 to 121 ft/day for the 16 cp oil, and 1 to 26 ft/day for the 684 cp oil.
A live oil sample was subjected to a solid detection system (SDS) to measure asphaltene onset point (AOP) at 3850 psi, and asphaltene content of 1.3%. A high-resolution digital camera was used to measure asphaltene particle size distribution. The result showed that asphaltene particles were not uniform in size, but has a normal distribution of 100-120 µm. Asphaltene reversibility to dissolved back into the oil with increasing pressure was only 35% of the original deposition. Two core samples were examined for formation damage due to asphaltene deposition. A Low permeability core showed significant permeability reduction exceeding 50% of its baseline permeability, and the higher permeability core showed less permeability decline, even with the same asphaltene precipitation.
Viscosity and Density are important physical parameter of crude oil, closely related with the whole processes of production and transportation, and are very essential properties to the process design and petroleum industries simulation. As viscosity increases, a conventional measurement becomes progressively less accurate and more difficult to obtain. According to the literature survey, most published correlations that are used to predict density and viscosity of heavy crude oil are limited to certain temperatures, API values, and viscosity ranges. The objective of present work is to propose accurate models that can successfully predict two important fluid properties, viscosity and density covering a wide range of temperatures, API, and viscosities. Viscosity and density of more than 30 heavy oil samples of different API gravities collected from different oilfield were measured at temperature range 15oC to 160oC (60oF to 320oF), and the results were used to ensure the capability of proposed and published correlations to predict the experimental viscosity and density data. The proposed correlation can be summarized in two stages. The first step was to predict the heavy oil density from API and temperature for different crudes. The predicted values of the densities were used in the second step to develop the viscosity correlation model. A comparison of the predicted and actual viscosities data, concluded that the proposed model has successfully predict all data with average relative errors of less than 12% and with the correlation coefficient R2 of 0.97, and 0.92 at normal and high temperatures respectively. Meanwhile, the results of most of the available models has an average relative error above 40%, with R2 values between 0.19 to 0.95. These comparisons were made as a quality control to confirm the reliability of the proposed model to predict density and viscosity values of heavy crudes when compared with other models.
Some coreflood literature points to the initial wettability state undergoing change during waterflooding, usually towards water-wetness. The current study aimed to directly probe the adsorbed/deposited oil components on model silicate substrates prior to and after flooding. Bare glass and kaolinite-coated glass in the initial brine were drained with crude oil and aged, after which the oil was displaced with the flooding brine. For a matrix of initial and flood brines (comprising sodium and calcium) of varying salinity and/or pH, the oil remaining on the substrates was analyzed by high-resolution scanning electron microscopy, contact angle and spectroscopy. On glass, the oil layer contacting it in the initial (aged) state retracts and detaches during flooding, to typically leave individual oil nanodroplets separated by clean substrate. Brines less able to overcome the oil-glass adhesion displayed a higher coverage of more irregularly shaped, semiretracted drop-lets and a higher frequency of larger microscopic residues. On kaolinite-coated glass, the added porosity and roughness increased the presence of these adhering, stranded residues. On bare glass, the residual deposit after high salinity floodingis generally least at intermediate flood pH 6, while residues decrease with decreasing pH of low salinity floods. However, on kaolinite-coated substrates, residual deposit is greatest after flooding at intermediate pH 6, and also increases on reduction of flood salinity
Clarkson, Christopher R. (University of Calgary) | Wood, James (Encana Corporation) | Burgis, Sinclair (Encana Corporation) | Aquino, Samuel (University of Calgary) | Freeman, Melissa (University of Calgary)
The pore structure of unconventional gas reservoirs, despite having a significant impact on hydrocarbon storage and transport, has historically been difficult to characterize because of a wide poresize distribution (PSD), with a significant pore volume (PV) in the nanopore range. A variety of methods is typically required to characterize the full pore spectrum, with each individual technique limited to a certain pore size range. In this work, we investigate the use of nondestructive, low-pressure adsorption methods, in particular low-pressure N2 adsorption analysis, to infer pore shape and to determine PSDs of a tight gas siltstone reservoir in western Canada. Unlike previous studies, core-plug samples, not crushed samples, are used for isotherm analysis, allowing an undisturbed pore structure (i.e., uncrushed) to be analyzed. Furthermore, the core plugs used for isotherm analysis are subsamples (end pieces) of cores for which mercury-injection capillary pressure (MICP) and permeability measurements were previously performed, allowing a more direct comparison with these techniques. PSDs, determined from two isotherm interpretation methods [Barrett-Joyner-Halenda (BJH) theory and density functional theory (DFT)], are in reasonable agreement with MICP data for the portion of the PSD sampled by both. The pore geometry is interpreted as slot-shaped, as inferred from isotherm hysteresis loop shape, the agreement between adsorption- and MICP-derived dominant pore sizes, scanning-electron-microscope (SEM) imaging, and the character of measured permeability stress dependence. Although correlations between inorganic composition and total organic carbon (TOC) and between dominant pore-throat size and permeability are weak, the sample with the lowest illite clay and TOC content has the largest dominant pore-throat size and highest permeability, as estimated from MICP. The presence of stress relief-induced microfractures, however, appears to affect laboratory-derived (pressure-decay and pulse-decay) estimates of permeability for some samples, even after application of confining pressure. On the basis of the premise of slot-shaped pore geometry, fractured rock models (matchstick and cube) were used to predict absolute permeability, by use of dominant pore-throat size from MICP/adsorption analysis and porosity measured under confining pressure. The predictions are reasonable, although permeability is mostly overpredicted for samples that are unaffected by stressrelease fractures. The conceptual model used to justify the application of these models is slot pores at grain boundaries or between organic matter and framework grains.
Recent work has shown the potential usefulness of both magnetic susceptibility and magnetic hysteresis techniques in assessing the effect of fine-grained hematite on permeability, where the hematite was dispersed in the matrix of relatively tight gas red sandstone samples. The present study demonstrates that grain lining hematite cement is also a major controlling factor on permeability in a relatively tight gas sandstone reservoir in the North Sea. Magnetic susceptibility measurements on core plugs in this reservoir showed a strong correlation with probe permeability. Moreover, samples with a higher content of hematite exhibited lower permeability values. Thin-section analysis revealed the presence of a thin (approximately 10 to 15 lm) rim of hematite cement surrounding quartz grains, which block pore connections and reduce permeability. Magnetic hysteresis measurements on representative samples indicated a similar paramagnetic clay content in both the low and high permeability samples, suggesting that the clay (mainly illite) is not the dominant controlling factor that produces the variations in permeability that we observed. Because samples with higher hematite content exhibit lower permeability, it appears that hematite is a major control on the permeability variations seen in this reservoir. Although the paramagnetic clays undoubtedly have an influence on the absolute permeability values (increasing paramagnetic clay content has previously been shown to correlate with decreasing permeability), small amounts of grain lining hematite cement can reduce the permeability significantly further. Analysis of the magnetic hysteresis parameters on a Day plot indicated that the permeability was essentially independent of the hematite particle size for the fine particle sizes observed in this study.
Understanding the properties of formation fluid is a critical step in reservoir characterization. The use of Logging While Drilling (LWD) based fluid sampling becomes increasingly important in high risk scenarios. The LWD environment is significantly different from that of Wireline (WL) for sampling operations as the dynamic filtrate invasion is still in effect. LWD sampling is a relatively new technology and its sampling efficiency compared to WL sampling is not well known. This study aims to understand the effects of dynamic invasion processes on LWD fluid sampling and compare its performance with WL based fluid sampling. The results of the simulation study performed revealed that when the wait time after the drilling is optimized, LWD can provide cleaner samples in shorter cleanup time than WL sampling. It also revealed that the reservoir fluid breakthrough time would be shorter in LWD sampling compared to that of WL. This study indicates that with proper modeling, an optimized sampling program can be executed to meet the objectives of the LWD sampling operations in the most economic manner.
Hydrocarbon gas injection has proven to be one of the most efficient Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) methods, especially for tight and heterogeneous reservoirs with light to medium API oil, where water flooding is expected to be inefficient. Asphaltene precipitation and deposition, however, might occur due to pressure and fluids compositional changes with the gas injection. This complex phenomenon requires experimental and numerical investigation to understand the conditions at which flow impairment due to asphaltene formation damage may occur, resulting in lowering well flow capacity and in turn lower ultimate oil recovery.In this experimental study, low permeability carbonate rock core samples were flooded with hydrocarbon gas under reservoir conditions. The floods were conducted on core samples of two different lengths representing two different rock types based on average rock permeability and Pore Throat Size Distribution (PTSD). Additionally, these core samples were flooded at two different operating conditions to mimic the average reservoir and the wellbore flowing pressure conditions. As a prelude to these experiments, Asphaltene Onset Pressure (AOP) and Asphaltene Onset Concentration (AOC) of the oil under study with the injection gas were established through NIR, SARA and Titration analysis.Flow impairment due to formation damage by asphaltene precipitation and deposition was analyzed through permeability measurements before and after gas flooding. In all cases permeability reduction was observed. Permeability reduction was found to be function of rock types, reservoir pressure, and length of composite core samples. We assume that pore throat bridging by the larger size asphaltene particles caused higher permeability reduction in the samples of poorer rock types. Experiments conducted at lower pressures showed more damage. This is consistent with the lower AOC at lower pressure. Longer core samples give more time for asphaltene flocculation resulting in more asphaltene formation damage and more permeability reduction. Scanning Electron Microscopic (SEM) images of core plugs before and after the gas flooding process were found to be not conclusive with respect to direct detection of asphaltene deposition in the core samples and further work is planned to positively identify asphaltene deposition in the rock samples.
Asphaltene are the polar, polyaromatic and heaviest hydrocarbon fraction of crude oil that are soluble in light aromatic hydrocarbons and solvents such as benzene and toluene but insoluble in low molecular weight
parafins1-4. As a result of reservoir fluid depressurization, asphaltene particles may deposit on the formation rock surface and/ or to plug the rock pore throats. Another practical reason reported in the literature is the injection of different solvents for oil displacement during Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) processes, which often leads towards the reservoir fluid composition alteration and hence results in the Asphaltene flocculation and deposition.
Edwards, John Ernest (Schlumberger) | Herrera, Adrian (Schlumberger) | Judd, Tobias Conrad (Schlumberger) | Kristensen, Morten Rode (Schlumberger Middle East SA.) | Al-Rashdi, Yaqoob Salem (Petroleum Development Oman) | Hindriks, Cornelius
A new method of stress testing with a wireline tool uses a drilled hole sealed with a compression pad to apply hydraulic pressure to the reservoir. Geomechanics modeling shows why this reduces the fracture initiation pressure and avoids intersecting the borehole with the induced fracture. The superposition of two induced stresses, mechanical and hydraulic, causes the tensile failure to initiate towards the end of the drilled hole as the hydraulic pressure is increased. The 9-mm-diameter hole is drilled from the center of the sealing compression pad to a depth of up to 15 cm. A fracture initiating some distance from the wellbore will be located part way through the near-wellbore perturbed stress field and will propagate away from the wellbore to the far field in the direction of reduced minimum stress. Reservoir simulation shows that the leakage rate of injected fluid around the compression pad is insignificant.
The first jobs using this technique are described, including procedures for passive tool orientation so that the drilled hole is aligned with the maximum horizontal stress. Information revealed about breakdown pressures in tight dolomite explained why drilling-induced fractures were affecting resistivity logs and well test interpretation. The current procedure for stress testing is the pumping of drilling mud between inflated packers. The new technique described here solves two problems associated with the inflated packer method. The pumped fluid volumes are much smaller, so clean fracture fluid from a sample chamber can be used instead of mud. And the system compressibility is reduced, so the pressure transients are more responsive to the formation.
The ability to induce a fracture in the formation with a pad tool using dedicated fluid with a low dead volume creates a new way of connecting to the reservoir, an alternative to connecting via the borehole wall surface. This large, undamaged contact area due to the induced fracture beyond the drilling-damaged zone will facilitate sampling low-permeability formations or high-viscosity oils.