Two commercial Alkali Surfactant Polymer (ASP) floods became operational in the Taber area of Alberta, Canada in 2006 and 2008. Both of these floods used NaOH as the Alkali. Throughout the course of both projects extreme scale deposition was observed in downhole production equipment, gathering systems, and in the production facility. Early in the life of the floods the scale composition was predominantly calcium carbonate, however over time the scale changed to consist of greater amounts of amorphous silicate.
Scale inhibition and remediation strategies have been developed which include a comprehensive monitoring program, chemical scale inhibition, and mechanical scale prevention techniques. As a result of the large amount of data gathered, models were created to predict scale severity, content, and develop specific mitigation plans. Although clear field wide scaling trends can be identified over the life of these projects, scale mitigation strategies still need to be customized for each well.
Although scale remains an operational challenge in these fields, with proper mitigation procedures it can be managed. This report documents the success in reducing the impact of the scale problem and slowing the depositional rate. When designing ASP floods it is important to plan for scale deposition and be proactive on scale mitigation.
Chemical EOR projects were very active during 1980?s, however, during 90?s the interest in chemical EOR has fallen due to the low oil prices and also technical challenges that the methods poses. While surfactant flooding has difficult design considerations of chemicals, large capital requirements and is very sensitive to local reservoir heterogeneities, alkali can react strongly with minerals in the connate water and reservoir rocks may adversely impact the process. This complex process is yet to be understood. If the field is offshore, chemical EOR becomes even more challenging due to sophisticated logistics, incremental costs, highly deviated wells, larger well spacing and limited well slots on the platform. However, recently there has been a renewed interest in chemical flooding mainly due to valuable insights gained through chemical floods done in the past and better technical understanding of the processes and favorable economic conditions
For robust production forecasts, various uncertainties due to complex chemical processes should be quantified thoroughly. Some of the important uncertainties for full field production forecasts are chemical adsorption on rock surface, interfacial tension (IFT) and residual oil saturation reduction by chemical. Proper coreflood experiments are critical to reduce these uncertainties. Careful matching of coreflood experiments in numerical simulations is also important which provides key inputs for full field forecast. Another important element in the successful commercial application for chemical EOR process is a well-designed pilot. After the completion of pilot, the results should be carefully matched in the simulation model. Once satisfactory match is obtained, the key step would be to upscale the results to the full field level.
Discussed in this paper are the impact of some of these uncertainties and the method used to reduce them. In this paper the workflow and key tasks in dealing with the simulation of chemical EOR process elements like residual oil saturation, IFT reduction and adsorption parameters are discussed. The results show that the incremental oil is very sensitive to the various simulation inputs.
Humphry, Katherine Jane (Shell Global Solutions International) | van der Lee, Merit (Shell Global Solutions International) | Southwick, Jeff G. (Sarawak Shell) | Ineke, Erik M. (Shell Global Solutions International) | van Batenburg, Diederik W (Shell Global Solutions International)
Workflows to assess the technical and economic suitability of an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique for a particular field generally involve laboratory testing, such as core flooding experiments, and field-scale reservoir modelling. When building field scale models and interpreting laboratory experiments it is important to understand the flow properties of all phases present.
Alkali-surfactant-polymer flooding (ASP) is an EOR technique under consideration for a number of Malaysian oil fields. In ASP flooding, surface-active molecules decrease the interfacial tension between water and crude oil, increasing the capillary number, and recovering oil trapped in the reservoir pores. The ultra-low interfacial tensions needed for ASP flooding occur when the surface active molecules are equally soluble in the brine and oil phases. Under these conditions, in addition to the brine and oil phases, a third thermodynamically stable phase is formed. This third phase is known as a microemulsion. While the flow properties of crude oil and polymer-enriched brine are well understood, little has been done to characterize the microemulsion phase, particularly with respect to rheology in porous media.
Here, preliminary measurements of microemulsion rheology are presented. Large volumes of microemulsion, with and without polymer, are generated using model alkali-surfactant (AS) and alkali-surfactant-polymer (ASP) systems. These microemulsions are studied using conventional shear rheology. The viscosities measured using a conventional shear rheometer indicate microemulsion viscosities higher than either the AS(P) solution or decane from which they are comprised. Additionally, an in situ, or apparent, viscosity is recovered from core flooding experiments in Berea sandstone, where pressure drop across the core is recorded as a function of the flow rate of the microemulsion through the core. In situ viscosity measurements in Berea sandstone indicate apparent viscosities 1.5 to 6 times larger than those measured in a conventional shear rheometer. The implication of these results for ASP flooding is discussed.
Farajzadeh, Rouhollah (Shell Intl. E&P BV) | Ameri, Amin (Delft University of Technology) | Faber, Marinus J. (Shell Intl. E&P BV) | Van Batenburg, Diederik W (Shell Exploration & Production) | Boersma, Diederik Michiel (Shell Intl. E&P BV) | Bruining, J. Hans (Delft University of Technology)
Alkali Surfactant Polymer (ASP) flooding has traditionally been considered in tertiary mode, i.e., after a reservoir has been sufficiently water flooded. In screening studies experiments are usually conducted under two-phase flow conditions, i.e., in the absence of a gas phase in the rock.
In practice, oil reservoirs might contain some gas. In areas in the world, where gas flaring is not allowed and an infrastructure for gas transportation is not present, re-injection of produced gas is a common practice. Moreover, when the reservoir is depressurized below bubble point a gas phase will be created.
To the best of our knowledge, there are no data in the literature concerning the influence of in-situ gas phase (continuous or trapped) on the performance of ASP floods. The main objective of this paper is to evaluate how the presence of a free (non-dissolved) gas phase affects ASP flood performance. To this end, several experiments were carried out to evaluate different conditions, where free gas was present, either flowing or trapped.
We found that the ultimate residual oil saturation in most experiments is similar to the case without gas. When free gas is present in the porous medium, the oil-bank production occurs earlier, because a large fraction of the gas remains trapped and therefore the "effective?? pore volume for liquid flow is reduced. When the gas and the ASP solution are co-injected, the oil is mostly produced in emulsion form as gas enhances mixing of the in-situ fluids. Trapped gas could lead to an efficient oil recovery, depending on the amount of trapped gas: the lower the trapped gas saturation the better the oil recovery.
Chemical injection in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects is a complex process because it involves multiple chemicals with complex fluids. Costs for even a small-scale pilot test could be up in the millions of US dollars (USD) and large-scale field-wide expansion would be in the 100s of millions USD for onshore projects. Costs for offshore projects would increase by multiple folds compared to onshore projects with comparable sizes.
This paper discusses (1) conventional designs for small- or large-scale injection facilities, (2) recent improvements in conventional designs, and (3) new concepts in chemical injection facility designs that can improve the quality, lower the cost, and reduce the lead time in the implementation of chemical EOR (CEOR) projects.
Current global demand for fossil fuel such as oil is still high. This encourages oil and gas industries to improve their effort of finding new discoveries, developing technique and maximizing recovery of their current resources including in low-permeability reservoir. Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is a technique to enhanced ultimate recovery. Since technology has been continuously developed such as nanotechnology/nano-size material, EOR methods have improved. One of them is Nano-EOR that triggered great attention in last decade. Nanoparticles may alter the reservoir fluid composition and rock-fluid properties to assist in mobilizing trapped oil. Most of observation from lab-scale reported that it seems potentially interesting for EOR.
Since reservoir management is very essential for the success of all improved/enhanced oil recovery (IOR/EOR) methods, optimizing nanofluids concentration is a proposed reservoir management to maximize oil recovery using Nano-EOR in this paper. Low-permeability water-wet Berea sandstones core-plugs with porosity ranged 13-15% and permeability ranged 5-20 mD were tested. A hydrophilic silica nanoparticles with primary particle size 7 nm was employed without surface treatment. Nanofluids with various concentration ranged 0.01 - 0.1 wt.% were synthesized with synthetic saline water for optimizing study. The wettability alteration due to nanofluids was observed; coreflood experiment was conducted and compared its displacement efficiency.
The results observed a range of nanofluids concentration that could maximize oil recovery in low-permeability water-wet Berea sandstone. Although contact angle of aqueous phase decreases as nanofluids concentration increase which means easier of oil to be released but we observed that higher concentration (e.g. 0.1 wt.%) has a tendency to block pore network and will decrease or even without additional oil recovery.
This study provides if concentration of nanofluids has an important parameter in Nano-EOR and could be optimized to maximize oil recovery of low-permeability water-wet Berea sandstone.
Foaming of nitrogen stabilized by C14-16 alpha olefin sulfonate in natural sandstone porous media, previously subject to water flooding, was studied experimentally. Foam was generated in-situ by co-injecting gas and surfactant solution at fixed foam quality. Effect of surfactant concentration on the foam strength and foam propagation was examined. X-ray CT scans were obtained to visualize the foam displacement process and to determine fluid saturations at different times. The experiments revealed that stable foam could be obtained in the presence of water-flood residual oil. CT scan images, fluid saturation profiles and mobility reduction factors demonstrated that foam exhibited a good mobility control in the presence of water-flood residual oil. This was further confirmed by a delay in the gas breakthrough. The experiments also proved that immiscible foam displaced additional oil from water-flooded sandstone cores, supporting the idea that foam is potentially an effective EOR method. Foam flooding provided an incremental oil recovery ranging from 13±0.5% of the oil initially in place for 0.1 wt% foam to 29±2% for 1.0 wt% foam. Incremental oil due to foam flow was obtained first by a formation of an oil bank and then by a long tail production due to transport of dispersed oil within the flowing foam. The oil bank size increased with surfactant concentration, but the dispersed oil regime was less sensitive to the surfactant concentration.
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.
Haynes, Andrew Kenneth (Chevron Australia Pty Ltd) | Clough, Martyn David (Chevron Australia Pty Ltd) | Fletcher, Alistair J. P. (Chevron Australia Pty Ltd) | Weston, Stuart (Chevron Australia Pty Ltd)
Barrow Island's Windalia reservoir is Australia's largest onshore waterflooding operation and has been under active waterflood since 1967. The highly heterogeneous reservoir consists of fine-grained, bioturbated argillaceous sandstone that is high in glauconite clay. The high clay content results in a low average permeability (5 md) despite high porosities (25-30%) and hence fracture stimulation is required to achieve economic production rates.
The Windalia reservoir and fluid properties preclude the use of traditional EOR technology, with thermal, miscible and mobility control processes all deemed unfeasible through screening studies. Consequently, the in-depth flow diversion mechanism was developed and applied, which utilizes a low molecular weight polymer to drive the growth of induced hydraulic fractures in the treated injection wells. A 3-injector pilot was executed involving polymer injection for two years, with no detrimental injectivity losses observed for polymer concentrations up to 750 ppm. Considerable fracture growth, oil production rate uplift and reduction in water cut were observed throughout the pilot pattern, in line with predictions:
• Fracture half-lengths increased from 6 ft to 400 ft in one injector and from 141 ft to 322 ft in another
• An initial oil rate uplift of 38% relative to the production baseline was observed; a more conservative estimate suggested that at least half of this was attributable to the tertiary recovery process
• The water-oil ratio was observed to fall from 15 to 11, similarly timed with the oil production increase.
These improvements were observed consistently throughout the pilot area and were distinct from the waterflood behavior elsewhere in the field. This paper briefly summarizes the technology screening and pilot execution stages, after which the results from the pilot are presented and discussed. This technology may be of use in other low-permeability waterfloods with induced injector fractures, for which traditional EOR practices are believed to be unfeasible.
The development of chemical enhanced oil recovery projects throughout the world is on a fast pace, led by a will to increase the final recovery of mature and newly developed hydrocarbon reservoirs The validation of the process is usually achieved by implementing an injection pilot; the goal is to understand, secure, and optimize the technology and to assess its efficiency on increasing final oil recovery for carefully determined capital and operational expenditures.
One of the key factors for a successful polymer flood is the polymer solution viscosity that must remain on target during the transport from its initial preparation, to the well head and down to the reservoir. Thus, a reliable method is required to measure and monitor the polymer solution viscosity on different points along the dissolution, dilution, mixing, and injection lines. This method must take into account the polymer solution characteristics among which the non-Newtonian behavior and sensitivity to mechanical and chemical degradations.
This paper presents recent developments of a specific in-line viscometer, which can measure the viscosity at low shear-rate, as per real reservoir conditions, with pressures ranging up to 250 barg. The equipment consists in a low flow, non-shearing pump, which circulates the solution through a given tube (length and diameter) where the pressure drop is measured and allows low-shear viscosity to be extrapolated. Calibration methods and first results are presented in this paper to illustrate the accuracy of the technology and potential installation benefits for chemical enhanced oil recovery operations. The viscometer is made of highly resistant material and can be implemented in all hazardous areas in remote mode without manual operations, no waste and very little maintenance.
This new device has been designed to solve the common issues encountered with the vast majority of commercial equipment that is not compatible with currently injected polyacrylamide solutions. It will also allow operators to gather reliable data compared to manual sampling methods that, in addition to requiring manpower, are not easy to conduct without degrading the polymer solutions.