We study Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) through Low Salinity (LS) waterflooding in a brown oil field. LS waterflooding is an emerging EOR technique in which water with reduced salinity is injected into a reservoir to improve oil recovery, as compared with conventional waterflooding, in which High Salinity (HS) brine or seawater are commonly used. The efficiency of this technique can be quantified at the well-scale by a Single Well Chemical Tracer Test (SWCTT), which is an in-situ method for measuring the Remaining Oil Saturation (ROS) after flooding the near-wellbore region with a displacing agent. Two SWCTTs were executed on a sandstone North African field. The tests were realized in sequence with seawater and LS water to evaluate the EOR potential at the well-scale.
Here, we propose the interpretation of these two SWCTTs. They were modeled through numerical simulations because of the presence of several non-idealities in the complex scenario considered. A recently-developed tracer simulator was employed to solve the reactive transport problem. This was used as a fast post-processing tool coupled with a conventional reservoir simulator. Model parameters were estimated within an inverse modeling framework, on the basis of an assisted history matching procedure that exploits the Metropolis Hastings Algorithm (MHA). Results were scaled up on a sector model of the field, and forecast scenarios that consider a field-scale implementation of this technique were defined.
The well-scale displacement efficiency gain associated with LS water, as compared with seawater, was evaluated. It was quantified as a ROS reduction of 8 saturation unit (s.u.), with a P10–P90 range of 3–15 s.u. Reservoir-scale simulations suggest that the associated ultimate oil recovery of the EOR pilot may be increased by 2% with LS water, with a P10–P90 range of 0.7–4.3%.
Overall, the LS EOR potential for a selected field was quantified through a robust and original workflow, based on SWCTT interpretation. This state-of-the-art procedure is now available for further applications. The simulated oil recovery improvement with LS water is promising, and leads the way to the implementation of an inter-well field trial.
Fluorinated benzoic acids (FBA) have been widely used in the oil industry as conservative tracers. However, some of these tracers have been shown to rapidly degrade when tested at temperatures above 121°C within three weeks. Naphthalene sulfonates (NSAs) have been shown to be excellent tracers in geothermal applications. However, a broader study was required to determine tracer conservation in reservoir fluids and formations typically encountered in the oil field.
In this study we compare the oil field industry standard FBA tracers to NSA tracers under dynamic test conditions in the presence of reservoir oil, sandstone, carbonates and clays. We also compare the two sets of tracers under static conditions in the presence of four crude oils and different clay mineralogy to establish tracer conservation. Seven different sodium salts of naphthalene sulfonic acids were tested to determine if the tracers were adsorbed onto natural porous media (reservoir rock) at reservoir conditions. A broad range of conditions were selected to target typical reservoirs encountered. In addition, reservoir rock and a pseudo formation containing 10 Wt.% clay in silica sand were used in sand packs saturated with surrogate brine to ensure the tracer recovery under dynamic conditions.
High pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC-FLD) separation was used for simultaneous detection of seven NSAs while FBAs were analyzed using HPLC-UV. GC analysis of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) was used as a standard against which the others were measured.
Dynamic tracer tests demonstrated that the sodium salts of naphthalene sulfonates behaved similarly to the control, IPA, with none of the tracers adsorbing on to the rock surface or partitioning into the oil phase. The naphthalene sulfonates can be successfully used as conservative tracers most specifically for high temperature applications. NSA tracers are an attractive replacement for conservative FBA tracers in the oil field due to their superior thermal stability, solubility in oil field brine, lower detection limits and cost.
A systematic approach to characterize the mixed wet configurations of various reservoir rocks (sandstone and carbonates) by evaluating their surface energy distributions has been presented in this paper. This approach was tested against the macroscopic spatial distribution of oil-wet and water-wet sites and at different temperatures for validation.
The new approach used to characterize the mixed wettability of a reservoir rock pertains to establishing a relation between the volume fraction of the mixed-wet reservoir rocks and surface energy of the mixture. This approach is based on an accurate description of the various physico-chemical interfacial forces present at the reservoir rock surface using Inverse Gas Chromatography (IGC). Mixed-wet configurations of various reservoir rocks are created by combining water-wet and oil-wet samples of the rock in different volume fractions and shaken together to establish uniform distribution. These samples are then subjected to the IGC analysis at different temperatures to deduce their surface energy distribution. The relation developed herein is tested against spatial heterogeneity by combining the oil-wet and water-wet rock samples in a layered fashion to validate the approach. The complete method to deduce the surface energy distribution of a rock surface using IGC has also been explained in detail.
A definite and conclusive relationship between the surface energy and mixed wettability of silica glass beads, calcite, and dolomite samples was established in this study. The mixed-wet configurations of the rock samples ranged from 0% oil-wet (meaning water-wet samples) to 100% oil-wet samples. The findings indicated that the Lifshitz-van der Waals component of the rock mixture did not undergo any change with change in the wetting state of the system under study. However the acid base components showed a marked decrease with increasing oil wetness before plateauing. Temperature was found to have a profound impact on the surface energy of a rock surface. Spatial heterogeneity by way of layered and segregated distribution of oil-wet and water-wet sites did not affect the eventual surface energy distribution thereby validating the new approach.
Accurate assessment of remaining oil saturation and sweep efficiency greatly depends on the implemented monitoring program, which requires the integration of all available geoscience and engineering data, by effective analysis using statistical and reservoir simulation methods. This will allow improvedunderstanding of sweep, validation of recovery factor and identifying new development opportunities.
Comprehensive reservoir surveillance is also a critical factor for effective reservoir management in achieving optimal hydrocarbon recovery. Monitoring programs encompass the deployment of up-to-date reservoir saturation tools and techniques capable of delivering high-quality data. There are many complications to be considered such as mixed salinity environments, reservoir heterogeneities, tools with limited depth of investigation and mud invasion effects. These challenges must be considered for a successful reservoir saturation monitoring program. Therefore, the value established by an integrated program involves the use of the most efficient approach in analyzing the acquired saturation data and overcoming the field challenges.
This paper presents a comprehensive approach that was implemented on in situ data acquired from a carbonate reservoir that has operated continuously for several decades with pressure support from peripheral water injection. The technique capitalizes on the wealth of data acquired both from saturation and production logs. The prime objectives of this technique are to evaluate remaining oil saturation, remaining unswept oil column and displacement, and vertical/areal sweep efficiency. The strength of this methodology is the capability of efficiently quantifying and mapping remaining oil saturation. This helps in identifying "sweet spots" behind the flood front and thereby guiding future development activities for maximizing hydrocarbon recovery.
Wang, Haitao (Petroleum Exploration & Production Research Institute, Sinopec) | Lun, Zengmin (Petroleum Exploration & Production Research Institute, Sinopec) | Lv, Chengyuan (Petroleum Exploration & Production Research Institute, Sinopec) | Lang, Dongjiang (Petroleum Exploration & Production Research Institute, Sinopec) | Pan, Weiyi (Petroleum Exploration & Production Research Institute, Sinopec) | Luo, Ming (Petroleum Exploration & Production Research Institute, Sinopec) | Wang, Rui (Petroleum Exploration & Production Research Institute, Sinopec) | Chen, Shaohua (Petroleum Exploration & Production Research Institute, Sinopec)
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) was used to investigate the exposure between CO2 and matrix with permeability of 0.218 mD at 40 °C and 12 MPa. Before NMR experiment, the core was saturated with oil. To investigate the effects of exposure time on EOR, the saturated core was exposed to CO2 and T2 test was continuously performed with NMR system until the obtained T2 spectrum was unchanged. After the first exposure, CO2 and matrix reached equilibrium state. The second exposure started when CO2 injection was under a constant pressure of 12 MPa and at a constant rate to keep fresh CO2 in system. The procedure of T2 test was unchanged. The third and fourth exposures were conducted in sequence. The results showed that (1) Oil in all pores can mobilize as exposure time increases. (2) The recovery is 46.6% for oil in pores with the diameter of pore larger than 1 µm, this result is higher than the recovery (12.8%) for oil in pores with the diameter of pore smaller than 1 µm. (3) Recovery can be divided into two stages according to the exposure time: a fast-growing stage and a slow-growing stage. (4) Initially, the oil exists in pores with maximum radius of 21 µm in the originally saturated core. After CO2 injection, oil flows to pores with radius greater than 21 µm, suggesting that oil in tight matrix "diffuses" to the surface of core with exposure between CO2 and matrix. (5) The final recoveries of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th exposure experiments are 23.7%, 7.2%, 2.6% and 1.5%, respectively.
The application of surfactants to improve oil recovery in conventional reservoirs via wettability alteration and enhancement of spontaneous imbibition has been extensively studied in the literature. However, little work has been performed yet to investigate the interaction of these surfactants with ultra-tight oil-rich shale reservoirs such as Wolfcamp shale. The use of horizontal drilling and massive multistage hydraulic fracturing has made primary oil recovery from these ultra-tight oil-rich shale reservoirs possible. With declining production from existing shale wells, it is essential to explore potential "beyond primary" strategies in shale oil development. This paper analyzes the potential of surfactants in altering wettability and improving the process of spontaneous imbibition in oil rich shales demonstrating nanodarcy range permeability, relevant to stimulation and "beyond primary" chemical EOR applications in shales.
Novel proprietary surfactant blends along with traditional nonionic surfactants were investigated in this study using Wolfcamp shale core samples exhibiting nanodarcy permeability. X-ray diffraction analysis was performed which indicated that Wolfcamp shale has mixed mineralogy, with quartz, calcite, and dolomite acting as the major minerals in varying proportions depending on the interval depth. Contact angle and interfacial tension measurements were performed at reservoir temperature to identify the state of native wettability and the impact of surfactants in altering wettability. Thereafter, spontaneous imbibition experiments were performed using 3D computed tomography methods to understand the improvement in the magnitude of imbibition penetration due to surfactant addition. Contact angle and spontaneous imbibition experiments showed that Wolfcamp shale is intermediate-wet and surfactants have the potential to alter the native wettability to a preferentially water-wet state and improve oil recovery due to enhanced spontaneous imbibition.
Surfactants which altered the wettability significantly, but lowered the interfacial tension only slightly showed the highest oil recoveries due to the creation of strong capillary driven forces directly responsible for effective spontaneous imbibition. The potential of surfactants in altering wettability and improving oil recovery via enhanced spontaneous imbibition in ultra-tight oil-rich shales was verified in this study. The effectiveness of traditional nonionic surfactants in altering wettability and improving oil recovery was found to be comparable to that of novel, more expensive proprietary surfactant blends, and hence, the traditional nonionic surfactants provide a cost effective option for stimulation and EOR applications in Wolfcamp shale. Overall, this paper presents the theory behind surfactant interaction with ultra-tight shales and provides experimental results to validate the viability of surfactant induced improved oil recovery in shales.
Dalmazzone, C. (IFP Energies Nouvelles) | Mouret, A. (IFP Energies Nouvelles) | Behot, J. (IFP Energies Nouvelles) | Norrant, F. (IFP Energies Nouvelles) | Gautier, S. (IFP Energies Nouvelles) | Argillier, J.-F. (IFP Energies Nouvelles) | Chabert, M. (SOLVAY)
A majority of the worldwide oil reserves is contained in carbonate reservoirs. Most of these reservoirs are naturally fractured and produce less than 10% of the oil in place during the primary recovery operations. It is noteworthy that this particularly low recovery ratio is essentially due to a low permeability associated to an intermediate or preferentially oil wettability. Consequently, the recovery of residual oil from these specific reservoirs is a great challenge. Changing the wettability from oil wet to preferentially water wet by using chemicals is one of the EOR technique that may be advantageously used to enhance the production rate. This chemical treatment consists in injecting an aqueous solution of surfactants or chemical additives to increase the water wettability and favour spontaneous imbibition into the porous matrix. We present a new test allowing a fast screening of aqueous solutions of chemicals that may be used to improve oil recovery from carbonate reservoirs. The test consists in depositing a drop of aqueous solution on a porous carbonate slice that has been treated to be preferentially oil wet before being put into dodecane. The evolution of the drop profile is then monitored as a function of time by means of a camera, which permits a simultaneous measurement of the interfacial tension between oil and water, contact angle between the water drop and the porous matrix and spontaneous imbibition. Various types of non-ionic and anionic surfactants belonging to different families have been tested and ranked to identify the best candidates among these chemicals. Finally, a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technique was used to follow spontaneous imbibitions of selected candidates in miniplugs representative of the carbonate slices used in the screening test. NMR's results confirmed the classification issued from the fast screening test.
In 2014, TOTAL performed two Single Well Tracer Tests (SWTT) to evaluate the remaining oil saturation in an offshore high temperature, high salinity carbonate reservoir. The SWTT method has proved to be a reliable way, when carefully programmed, to measure a representative remaining oil saturation without being impacted by near wellbore effects. The objective of these measurements was to evaluate the efficiency of a single well chemical EOR (CEOR) pilot by measuring oil desaturation.
Extensive in-house laboratory work was carried out by TOTAL to lay the foundation for the pre and post CEOR pilot SWTTs. A specific tracer injection skid was internally developed to ease the operations. Specific numerical work was performed to achieve robust designs and interpretations. These simulations, carried out in-house, took into account all major uncertainties highlighted by experimental work. Detailed results from the SWTT preparation phase will be described in the paper.
Results from the baseline SWTT interpretation evidenced excellent quality tracer profiles from the first test and high remaining oil saturation, improving our knowledge on the flooding pattern of this reservoir. Results from the post EOR SWTT showed again a clear response of a remarkable decrease in remaining oil saturation, proving the efficiency of the chemical formulation provided by TOTAL and the envisaged recovery mechanism. Interpretation of these Single Well Tracer Tests also allowed us to evidence a much lower than anticipated reservoir dispersion. These findings highlight the potential of EOR implementations in these carbonate formations.
Lessons learned from these two offshore SWTTs are discussed in this paper, such as the need for specific preparation to tackle the complexity of a high temperature high salinity carbonate reservoir in presence of H2S. TOTAL has shown that such operations can be performed in a strict timeframe while adhering to company safety rules. Careful interpretation of such results is mandatory to validate the success of the single well chemical EOR pilot.
Hou, Binchi (Research Institute of Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum (Group) CO., LTD.) | Liu, Hongliang (China Petroleum Logging TuHa Business Division) | Bian, Huiyuan (Xi'an University of Science and Technology) | Wang, Chengrong (China Petroleum Logging TuHa Business Division) | Xie, Ronghua (Daqing Oilfield CO.LTD., PetroChina) | Li, Kewen (China University of Geosciences(Beijing)/Stanford University)
Capillary pressure and resistivity in porous rocks are both functions of wetting phase saturation. Theoretically, there should be a relationship between the two parameters. However, few studies have been made regarding this issue. Capillary pressure may be neglected in high permeability reservoirs but not in low permeability reservoirs. It is more difficult to measure capillary pressure than resistivity. It would be useful to infer capillary pressure from resistivity well logging data if a reliable relationship between capillary pressure and resistivity can be found. To confirm the previous study of a power law correlation between capillary pressure and resistivity index and develop a mathematical model with a better accuracy, a series of experiments for simultaneously measuring gas-water capillary pressure and resistivity data at a room temperature in 16 core samples from 2 wells in an oil reservoir were conducted. The permeability of the core samples ranged from 9 to 974 md. The gas-water capillary pressure data were measured with confining pressures using a semi-porous plate technique. We developed the specific experimental apparatus to measure gas-water capillary pressure and resistivity simultaneously. The results demonstrated that the previous power law model correlating capillary pressure and resistivity works well in many cases studied. A more general relationship between the exponent of the power law model and the rock permeability was developed and verified using the experimental data.
When compared with steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations in the McMurray Formation, Athabasca Oil Sands, SAGD projects in the Clearwater Formation at Cold Lake did not perform as expected, likely because of reservoir properties. This paper will use the Orion SAGD case study to: (1) investigate the impacts of reservoir properties on the SAGD thermal efficiency by field evidences; (2) identify key geological parameters influencing each well pad; and (3) summarize major geological challenges for Orion SAGD expansion.
Wireline log data were interpreted to characterize reservoir properties, which were used to build 3D models. 3D visualizations and 2D cross sections of the reservoir revealed spatial distribution and heterogeneity of each property. SAGD production performance was analyzed using: (1) temperature profiles that monitored the growth of the steam chamber; (2) cumulative steam-oil ratios (CSORs); and (3) oil production rates (OPRates), which are direct indicators of thermal efficiency.
Results show that impermeable barriers and low-permeability zones were detrimental to steam injectivity and steam chamber growth, as observation wells in Pilot Pads 1 and 3 did not detect any steam saturation. High-permeability zones favored high steam injectivity and mobility, especially in Pad 105. Steam chambers were irregularly shaped by high shale-content zones, as two sharp spikes displayed on the temperature profile in Pad 103. Low oil-saturation zones and thin net-pays increased the CSORs, as seen in Pads 106 and 104. Impermeable barriers are almost horizontal, making no difference on well pad orientation by their dip angles. Lack of porosity variation made it difficult to identify the impact of porosity on each well pad.
The relatively extensive distribution of impermeable barriers between and above well pairs, as well as the relatively large area of low oil saturation and thin net-pay, were identified as major geological challenges.