Wang, Shuoshi (University of Oklahoma) | Yuan, Qingwang (University of Regina) | Kadhum, Mohannad (Cargill, Incorporated) | Chen, Changlong (University of Oklahoma) | Yuan, Na (University of Oklahoma) | Shiau, Bor-Jier (University of Oklahoma) | Harwell, Jeffrey H. (University of Oklahoma)
While injection of CO2 has great potential for increasing oil production, this potential is limited by site conditions and operational constraints such as lack of proper infrastructure, limited cheap CO2 sources, viscous fingering, gravity override at the targeted zones, and so forth. To mitigate some of these common limitations, we explore alternative methodologies which can successfully deliver CO2 through gas generation in situ, with superior IOR performance, while offering reasonable chemical cost.
While dissolved easily in reservoir brine, urea is thermally hydrolyzed to CO2 and NH3 after equilibration under reservoir conditions. Therefore, given its exceptional compatibility with reservoir fluids, its CO2 producing capacity and reasonable cost benefit, urea appears to be a promising candidate for delivering CO2 to increase oil recovery. The in-situ gas generation requires single chemical slug, which can minimize the complexity of the injection system.
One-dimensional sand pack tests and core flooding experiments were operated at pre-set conditions: different API gravity oils were used, varying from 27 to 57.3. In addition, the reaction rates of the urea hydrolysis and urea solution PVT property were tested separately under reservoir conditions.
Most importantly, results of injecting urea solution (as low as 10 % solution) showed superior tertiary recovery performance (as high as 37.97%) are realized as compared to the most recent efforts at our group (29.5%) as well as similar in situ CO2 generation EOR (2.4% to 18.8%) approaches proposed by others.
The economic feasibility and operational advantages of this newly developed method were demonstrated in this work. In brief, results of this work served further as a proof of concept for designing in situ CO2 generation formulations for tertiary oil recovery at both onshore and offshore fields under proper conditions.
The Gas and Downhole Water Sink-Assisted Gravity Drainage (GDWS-AGD) process has been developed to overcome of the limitations of Gas flooding processes in reservoir with strong aquifers. These limitations include high levels of water cut and high tendency of water coning. The GDWS-AGD process minimizes the water cut in oil production wells, improve gas injectivity, and further enhance the recovery of bypassed oil, especially in reservoirs with strong water coning tendencies.
The GDWS-AGD process conceptually states installing two 7 inch production casings bi-laterally and completing by two 2-3/8 inch horizontal tubings: oil producer above the oil-water contact (OWC) and one underneath OWC for water sink drainage. The two completions are hydraulically isolated by a packer inside the casing. The water sink completion is produced with a submersible pump that prevents the water from breaking through the oil column and getting into the horizontal oil-producing perforations.
The GDWS-AGD process was evaluated to enhance oil recovery in the heterogeneous upper sandstone pay in South Rumaila Oil field, which has an infinite active aquifer with a huge edge water drive. A compositional reservoir flow model was adopted for the CO2 flooding simulation and optimization of the GDWS-AGD process. Design of Experiments (DoE) and proxy metamodeling were integrated to determine the optimal operational decision parameters that affect the GDWS-AGD process performance: maximum injection rate and pressure in injection wells, maximum oil rate and minimum bottom hole pressure in production wells, and maximum water rates and minimum bottom hole pressure in the water sink wells. More specifically, Latin hypercube sampling and radial basis neural networks were used for the optimization of the GDWS-AGD process performance and to build the proxy model, respectively.
In the GDWS-AGD process results, the water cut and coning tendency were significantly reduced along with the reservoir pressure. That resulted to improve gas injectivity and increase oil recovery. Further improvement in oil recovery was achieved by the DoE optimization after determining the optimal set of operational decision factors that constrains the oil and water production with gas injection. The advantage of GDWS-AGD process comes from its potential feasibility to enhance oil recovery while reducing water coning, water cut, and improving gas injectivity. That gives another privilege for the GDWSAGD process to reach significant improvement in oil recovery in comparison to other gas injection processes, such as the Gas-Assisted Gravity Drainage (GAGD) process, particularly in reservoirs with strong water aquifers.
Pilot testing results and economics from a novel electrochemical desalination technology for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) produced water are presented. The pilot objectives were: (1) economically desalt produced water to improve hydrocarbon recovery and lower polymer consumption costs for chemical flood EOR; (2) inform full scale plant development with a field pilot; and (3) optimize pre-filtration, chemical consumption, and energy use to realize a greater than 20% return on investment through reduced polymer consumption.
The paper will present EOR operators with a novel option to reuse produced water as low salinity injection water and recycle polymer to reduce chemical EOR flood operating costs.
We present the first comprehensive experimental evaluation of CO2 EOR in organic rich shale. Experiments in preserved core demonstrated the potential of CO2 to extract the naturally occurring oil in organic rich shale reservoirs, whereas tests in re-saturated core plugs were used to compute accurate recovery factors, and evaluate the effect of soak time, operating pressure, and the relevance of slim-tube MMP on recovery. 18 core-flooding experiments were conducted in sidewall cores from different shale plays.
The cores re-saturated with crude oil, were first cleaned by Dean-Stark extraction, and submitted to porosity and compressibility determination. The re-saturation, confirmed by CT-scanning, was attained by aging the core plugs at high pressure for two to four months. In all experiments, glass beads surrounding core samples were used to simulate the proppant and physically recreate in the laboratory a hydraulic fracture connected to the shale matrix. The slim-tube MMP was measured with CO2, and core-flooding experiments were performed below, close to, and above the MMP. The displacement equipment was coupled to a medical CT-scanner that enabled us to track the changes in composition and saturation taking place within the shale cores during the experiments. Continuous CO2 injection and huff-and-puff were evaluated using soak time from zero to 22 hours. Fixed reservoir temperature was used in all the experiments.
Recovery factors ranged from 1.7 to 40%. The wide variation was the result of different experimental conditions for pressure and soak time. Both operational parameters were found to significantly affect the recovery. Increasing soak time at constant pressure consistently resulted in significant increase in recovery. The increase varied from 78 to 464% for different pressures and oil composition. Similarly, increasing operating pressure at constant soak time resulted in significant increase in recovery factor from 44 to 338% depending on soak time and oil composition. Unlike the typical response during CO2 EOR in conventional rocks, in organic rich shale, further pressure increases beyond the slim-tube MMP continued to increase the recovery factor significantly. In all runs, almost all oil recovery occurred within three days from the start of the experiment, and in all huff-and-puff tests the highest rate of recovery was observed in the first cycle, implying oil recovery with CO2 is a fast process, in comparison to oil re-saturation of the samples which occurs at a significantly slower rate.
This investigation demonstrates CO2 EOR is a technically feasible method to extract significant amounts of crude oil from organic rich shale reservoirs and it provides operational understanding of how to manage pressure and soak time to maximize recovery. The recovery factors obtained in this investigation, in the context of the vast reserves of crude oil contained in organic rich shale, can sustain a second shale revolution and further capitalize oilfield infrastructure.
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.
In-situ upgrading (IU) is a promising method of improved viscous and heavy oil recovery. The IU process implies a reservoir heating up and exposition to temperature higher than 300°C for long enough time to promote a series of chemical reactions. The pyrolysis reactions produce lighter oleic and gaseous components while a solid residue remains underground. In this work, we developed a numerical model of IU based on lab experiences (kinetics measurements and core experiments) and validated results applying our model to an IU test published it the literature. Finally, we studied different operational conditions searching for energy-efficient configurations.
In this work, two types of IU experimental data are used from two vertical-tube experiments with Canadian bitumen cores (0.15 m and 0.69 m). A general IU numerical model for the different experimental setups has been developed and compared to experimental data, using a commercial reservoir simulator framework. This model is capable to represent the phase distribution of pseudo-components, the thermal decomposition reactions of bitumen fractions and the generation of gases and residue (solid) under the cracking conditions.
Simulation results for the cores submitted to 370°C and production pressure of 15 bar, have shown that oil production (per pseudo-component) and oil sample quality were well-predicted by the model. Some differences in gas production and total solid residue were observed with respect to laboratory measurements. Computer-assisted history matching was performed using an uncertainty analysis tool on the base of the most important model parameters. In order to better understand IU field-scale test results, the Shell’s Viking pilot (Peace River) was modeled and analyzed with proposed IU model. The appropriated grid-block size was determined and calculation time was reduced using the adaptive mesh refinement technique. The quality of products, the recovery efficiency and the energy expenses obtained with our model were in good agreement with the field test results. Also the conversion results (upgraded oil, gas and solid residue) from the experiments were compared to those obtained in the field test. Additional analysis was performed to identify energy efficient configurations and to understand the role of some key variables, e.g. heating period and rate, the production pressure, in the global IU upgrading performance. We discuss these results which illustrate and quantify the interplay between energy efficiency and productivity indicators.
This study investigates how compositional effects interact with the flow behavior during near miscible (and immiscible) CO2-oil displacements in heterogeneous systems. A series of numerical simulations modeling 1D slim-tube and 2D areal systems were performed using a fully compositional simulator. With negligible numerical dispersion, the fine-scale (Δx=0.005m) slim-tube simulations were performed to provide the "truth case" in terms of the compositional effects and oil/component recovery. A number of grid resolutions were tested to examine cell-size effects on the simulation accuracy. It was found that coarse cell size not only leads to spreading of the displacing front, but also lowers the displacement efficiency by reducing the component stripping effects, as noted by
To summarize, compositional effects can have a very significant impact on the prediction of near-miscible CO2 EOR projects. Issues such as front stability, local displacement efficiency and formation of fingering/channeling during CO2 near-miscible displacement can lead to behavior that is significantly different from immiscible flooding in these systems. The process of mass transfer between CO2 and oil can be hampered to a certain degree by unstable flow depending on the level of heterogeneity. This leads to a further reduction in component recovery, particularly of the heavier components. Lastly, the appropriate upscaling methods considering mass transfer still require further investigation for CO2 near-miscible displacement in field-scale applications. The complete dataset and results of this study are available online as a model case example for testing out potential upscaling techniques for compositional flows in heterogeneous systems (
Fredriksen, S. B. (University of Bergen) | Alcorn, Z. P. (University of Bergen) | Frøland, A. (University of Bergen) | Viken, A. (University of Bergen) | Rognmo, A. U. (University of Bergen) | Seland, J. G. (University of Bergen) | Ersland, G. (University of Bergen) | Fernø, M. A. (University of Bergen) | Graue, A. (University of Bergen)
An integrated enhanced oil recovery (IEOR) approach is presented for fractured oil-wet carbonate reservoirs using surfactant pre-floods to alter wettability, establish conditions for capillary continuity and improve tertiary CO2 foam injections. Surfactant pre-floods, prior to CO2 foam injection, alter the wettability of fracture surface towards weakly water-wet conditions to reduce the capillary threshold pressure for foam generation in matrix and create capillary contact between matrix blocks. The capillary connectivity transmits differential pressure across fractures and increases both mobility control and viscous displacement during CO2 foam injection. Outcrop core plugs were aged to reflect conditions of an ongoing CO2 foam field pilot in West Texas. A range of surfactants were screened for their ability to change wetting state from oil-wet to water-wet. A cationic surfactant was the most effective in shifting the moderately oil-wet cores towards weakly water-wet conditions (from an Amott-Harvey index of - 0.56 ± 0.01 to 0.09 ± 0.02), and was used for pre-floods during IEOR. When applying a surfactant pre-flood in a fractured core system, 32 ± 4% points OOIP was additionally recovered by CO2 foam injection after secondary waterflooding. We argue the enhanced oil recovery is attributed to the surfactant successfully reducing the capillary entry pressure of the oil-wet matrix providing capillary continuity and enhancing volumetric sweep during tertiary CO2 foam injection.
CO2 enhanced oil recovery is usually affected by poor sweep efficiency due to unfavorable mobility contrast between the injected CO2 and oil. To alleviate this problem, CO2 is added to the injected brine and transported in the reservoir by flood water. Therefore, Carbonated Water Injection (CWI), takes advantage of both CO2 and water flooding processes. Furthermore, geochemical reactions between the injected carbonated brine and rock can alter petrophysical properties of the reservoir and affect final oil recovery. While there are several CWI coreflood experiments reported in the literature, simulation studies for this process are scarce.
Accurate modeling of CWI performance requires a simulator with the ability to capture true physics of the CWI process. In this study, a compositional reservoir simulator developed at The University of Texas at Austin, UTCOMP, coupled with a state-of-the-art geochemical package developed by United States Geological Survey, IPhreeqc, is used to model CWI process. We considered the impact of CO2 mass transfer between brine and hydrocarbon phases based on thermodynamic constrains at the reservoir condition. In order to validate our simulation approach, the results of our CWI simulations were compared with a recently published coreflood experiment. Moreover, we investigated the fluid-rock interactions in CWI.
The results of the simulations, indicated that prior to water breakthrough the main drive mechanism is displacement. But as more carbonated water is injected, CO2 diffuses more into the trapped oil left behind, which results in oil swelling and subsequent oil viscosity reduction. Moreover, reaction of carbonate minerals such as calcite with carbonated brine results in dissolution of the main rock matrix which consequently creates wormholes similar to carbonates acidizing.
In this study we propose a novel approach for accurate modeling of carbonated waterflooding process. The results of this study highlight the importance of geochemical reactions in modeling CWI process. Our approach has been validated based on history matching at the backdrop of a recently published coreflood experiment.
Wei, Bing (Southwest Petroleum University) | Qinzhi, Li (Southwest Petroleum University) | Wang, Yanyuan (Southwest Petroleum University) | Gao, Ke (Southwest Petroleum University) | Pu, Wanfen (Southwest Petroleum University) | Sun, Lin (Southwest Petroleum University)
In this work, a novel nano-suspension (NS), which was mainly composed of a surface functionalized nano-cellulose, was successfully developed for "green" chemical EOR use. The rheological analysis indicated that this NS was a pseudo-plastic (shear-thinning) fluid and presented noticeable viscoelasticity. The oil displacement behaviors of this NS were thoroughly examined using core flooding methods. The EOR efficiency dependence of the NS on permeability, oil viscosity and injected volume was included. The experimental results showed that the NS flooding (NSF) further improved the oil recovery by 3-17% on the basis of water flooding. Furthermore, micro flow tests were conducted in a visual micro-model to study its flow behaviors in porous media and EOR mechanisms. Through the micro-model, the displacement behaviors and mechanisms including emulsification, dragging/squeezing and wettability alteration, were visually observed. These properties promise this NS as a green displacement agent for chemical EOR.