Okwen, Roland T. (Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) | Frailey, Scott M. (Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Historically, deep oil reservoirs with temperatures and pressures above the critical point of carbon dioxide (CO2) are generally preferred over shallower reservoirs in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and CO2 storage operations because of high recovery and storage efficiencies associated with miscible floods. As a result, shallower reservoirs containing significant volumes of recoverable resource are generally overlooked. However, basins with relatively low geothermal gradients and high fracture gradients, such as the Illinois Basin, can sustain pressures above the vapor pressure of CO2 where CO2 changes from a gas to liquid. Liquid CO2 has fluid properties similar to that of supercritical CO2 and is more readily miscible with oil.
This study evaluates the EOR potential of low-temperature reservoirs based on the performance of a miscible liquid CO2 flood pilot at the Mumford Hills oil field in Posey County, Indiana. About 7,000 tons (6,350 tonnes) of CO2 were injected into a Mississippian sandstone reservoir over a period of 1 year to demonstrate miscible CO2 EOR in low-temperature oil reservoirs. The reservoir model was calibrated with available historical primary waterflood, and CO2 flood pilot data. The calibrated reservoir model was used to simulate different full-field CO2 EOR development scenarios. The projected oil recovery factors range between 10% and 14%, which compares well to the Permian Basin supercritical CO2 flood recovery range of 8% to 16%.
The oil recovery factors from the simulated scenarios suggest that liquid CO2 floods in low-temperature oil reservoirs can achieve an incremental oil recovery similar to deeper, supercritical CO2 floods. Re-evaluating previously overlooked shallow depleted reservoirs as potential candidates for liquid CO2 EOR provides the opportunity to increase the development of these shallow oil reservoirs available for miscible CO2 flooding
Suarez, Ricardo G. Suarez (SPE University of Calgary) | Scott, Carlos E. (SPE University of Calgary) | Pereira-Almao, Pedro (SPE University of Calgary) | Hejazi, S. Hossein (SPE University of Calgary)
Nanocatalytic in-situ upgrading is a novel oil recovery method that involves chemical, thermal and miscible processes. In this work the main oil recovery mechanisms of nanocatalytic in-situ upgrading were studied, particularly the ones that promote additional oil production from low matrix permeability blocks.
Heavy oil recovery from Silurian dolomite cores was studied using a cylindrical core holder set-up. Fractures in the system were represented by a gap between the core sample and core holder wall. Oil recovery experiments were conducted in batch-mode using hydrogen and a trimetallic nano-catalyst. The cores were fully saturated with heavy-oil and the fractures were filled with hydrogen and vacuum residue with ultra-dispersed nano-catalyst at 300 °C and 1000 psig. The produced oil from the matrix was collected and the recovery factor for each experiment was calculated. Moreover, the residual oil in the core was extracted using a solvent. Both samples (i.e., produced and residual oil) were characterised by laboratory measurements and analytical techniques in order to assess oil quality distribution.
Experimental results revealed a significant increment in oil recovery with hydrogen injection. This increment suggests that during nanocatalytic in-situ upgrading oil is produced due to the presence of hydrogen in gas form. Results also demonstrated that, by use of an ultra-dispersed Ni-W-Mo nano-catalyst, the oils contained in both the fracture and matrix, were upgraded.
This research fosters the understanding of the main recovery mechanisms from carbonate matrix blocks by use of nanocatalytic in-situ upgrading. This study contributes to better understanding a recovery technique that will unlock heavy-oil resources contained in carbonate rocks.
As one of the unconventional resources, tight oil has become one of the most important contributor of oil reserves and production growth. The successful commercial production of tight oil is mainly reliant on the advancement in horizontal drilling and multistage hydraulic fracturing technique. Development of tight oil reservoirs remains in an early stage. Primary oil recovery factor in these reservoirs is very low, leaving substantial volume of oil trapped underground due to the low porosity, low permeability characteristic of tight oil reservoirs. Thus, investigation of enhanced oil recovery methods is more than imperative in tight oil reservoirs. CO2 Huff-and-Puff technology has been effectively applied in conventional reservoirs and can be tailored to adapt for the characteristics of tight oil reservoirs.
In this study, the performance of water flooding in tight oil reservoir is studied and compared with that of the CO2 Huff-and-Puff process. Sensitivity analysis demonstrates that the performance of CO2 Huff-and-Puff is more sensitive to the length of gas injection and production step in each cycle, compared to the soaking time. The CO2 Huff-and-Puff process is optimized and an adaptive CO2 Huff-and-Puff process is conducted for tight oil reservoirs after primary production. Simulation results show that the adaptive cycle length CO2 Huff-and-Puff process can improve the incremental oil recovery by 11.1% over a fixed cycle length process. Finally, the inter-well interference during CO2 Huff-and-Puff is studied, and it is found that a multi-well asynchronous CO2 Huff-and-Puff pattern can improve the incremental oil recovery by 31.6% over that of a synchronous pattern.
Zhu, Youyi (State Key Laboratory of Enhanced Oil Recovery, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC) | Fan, Jian (State Key Laboratory of Enhanced Oil Recovery, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC) | Liu, Xiaoxia (State Key Laboratory of Enhanced Oil Recovery, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC) | Li, Jianguo (State Key Laboratory of Enhanced Oil Recovery, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC)
Chemical flooding technology is one of the effective enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods for high water cut sandstone reservoirs with either medium and/or high permeability. Because of the small pore throat radius in the pore medium of low permeability reservoir, high molecular weight polymers cannot be injected in the low permeability reservoir. Therefore, many traditional chemical floodings (such as polymer flooding, alkali-surfactant-polymer (ASP) flooding and surfactant-polymer (SP) flooding) cannot be effectively applied in this case. Small-molecule viscoelastic surfactant (VES) has special rheological properties in porous medium. It showed both viscosified function and reduction of oil/water interfacial tension (IFT) performances under certain conditions, thereby providing the possibility of IOR/EOR potential application in low permeability reservoirs.
Most of reservoirs in Jilin Oilfield belong to low permeability reservoirs with permeability of around 50 mD in average. The recovery percent of reserves in Fuyu was only 23% by water flooding with water cut as high as 93%. A candidate EOR technique with chemical flooding has been proposed. Studies on VES flooding EOR methods targeting this reservoir condition were conducted. The rheological property, IFT property, viscosifying ability of VES and core flooding experiments of VES system were studied.
From VES screening experiment, a type of zwitterionic betaine surfactant with long carbon chain was selected. It showed viscosifying behavior, shear thinning property and low IFT performances at reservoir conditions. VES of EAB solutions showed a good viscosifying action at low surfactant concentration. Moreover, based on its shear thinning property under the wide shear rate conditions, VES exhibited a good injectivity performance. IFT between crude oil and formation water with EAB was 10-3-10-2 mN/m order of magnitudes. The results could be obtained at the concentration ranges of surfactants from 0.1wt% to 0.4wt%. Ultralow IFT (10-3 mN/m order of magnitudes) could be obtained in the presence of co-surfactants or alkalis (such as sodium carbonate). Core flooding experiments of VES flooding showed that the incremental oil recovery factors could reach up to 13%-17% over conventional water flooding at Fuyu reservoir conditions. Test results indicated that VES flooding might become a promise alternative EOR method for low permeability reservoir after water flooding.
In contrast to the complexity of ASP/SP combination system, VES flooding could avoid chromatographic effects in the reservoir based on their simple formula (single surfactant compound). This new chemical flooding technique might have a great potential for EOR application in the low permeability reservoirs.
Production from tight formation resources leads the growth in U.S. crude oil production. Compared with chemical flooding and water flooding, gas injection is a promising EOR approach in shale reservoirs. A limited number of experimental studies concerning gas flooding in the literature focus on unconventional plays. This study is a laboratory investigation of gas flooding to recover light crude oil from nano-permeable shale reservoirs.
In this work, the N2 flooding process was applied to Eagle Ford core plugs saturated with dead oil. To investigate the effects of flooding time and injection pressure on the recovery factor, two groups of core-flood tests were performed. In group one, flooding time ranged from 1 to 5 days in increments of 1 day; in the other group, the injection pressure ranged from 1,000 psi to 5,000 psi in increments of 1,000 psi. The experimental setup was monitored using X-ray CT that helped to visualize phase flow and estimate the recovery efficiency during the test.
The potential of N2 flooding for improving oil recovery from shale core plugs was examined, and the recovery factor (RF) of each case was presented. The results from group one showed that more oil was produced with a longer flooding time. However, the incremental RF decreased with the increase of flooding time. The oil recovery was significant at the initial period of the recovery process, and a longer flooding time had less effect on extracting more oil. With flooding time constant in 1-day, the results from the second group indicated that RF increased with injection pressure, especially rising pressure, from 1,000 psi to 2,000 psi. The gas breakthrough time became shorter with the increase of injection pressure. The analysis of the CT number showed that the oil recovery process mainly occurred before the gas breakthrough. Once a fluid flow path was established, the injected gas flowed through the limited communication channels; thus, no extra oil could be extracted without increasing the injection pressure. This experimental study illustrates that gas flooding has liquid oil production potential in shale reservoirs.
Liu, Y. M. (China University of Petroleum) | Zhang, L. (China University of Petroleum) | Ren, S. R. (China University of Petroleum) | Ren, B. (University of Texas at Austin) | Wang, S. T. (Sinopec Shengli Oilfield Co.) | Xu, G. R. (COSL Production Optimization Division)
Foam injection is a proven technique for improved oil recovery in both light and heavy oil reservoirs, especially for those with high heterogeneity, in which foam can improve the displacement and sweeping efficiency effectively. In this study, the feasibility of nitrogen foam injection for IOR from viscous oil reservoirs are investigated via laboratory experiments and field pilot analysis. The targeted oilfield is located offshore Bohai Bay (China), featured with high oil viscosity (up to 924 mPa.s) and severe heterogeneity of pay-zones. Water flooding has been applied in the oilfield, but the recovery factor is less than 20% and high water cut (over 85%) has been observed. Nitrogen foam injection was proposed in order to solve the problems and improve oil recovery. In this study, laboratory evaluation of nitrogen foam was conducted via foam testing and sandpack flooding. The results indicate that polymer enhanced foaming agents can greatly increase foam's performance. High blocking capability and displacement efficiency were observed in enhanced foam flooding experiments, indicating that nitrogen foam injection can mitigate the problems of heterogeneity and increase oil recovery in low permeability zones. A field pilot with 2 injectors and 13 producers involved has been conducted to verify the feasibility of the foam technique. The wellhead injection pressure was effectively increased after foam injection, and nearly all producers exhibited good response with incremental oil recovery and the average water cut dropped by 6.3% over 8 months of the field operation. The field pilot demonstrates the effectiveness of the nitrogen foam injection technique as an effective IOR method for the targeted oilfield and other similar oil reservoirs.
This paper presents the basic reservoir characteristics and the key improved oil recovery/enhanced oil recovery (IOR/EOR) methods for sandstone reservoir fields that have achieved recovery factors toward 70%. The study is based on a global analog knowledge base and associated analytical tools. The knowledge base contains both static (STOIIP, primary and ultimate recovery factors, reservoir/fluid properties, well spacing, drive mechanism, and IOR/EOR methods etc.) and dynamic data (oil rate, water-cut, and GOR, etc.) for more than 730 sandstone oil reservoirs. These reservoirs were subdivided into two groups: heavy and conventional oil reservoirs. This study focuses on the reservoirs with recovery factors great than 50% for heavy oil, and recovery factors from 60% to 79% for conventional oil with a view to understand the key factors for such a high recovery efficiency. These key factors include reservoir and fluid properties, wettability, development strategies and the IOR/EOR methods.
The high ultimate recovery factors for heavy oil reservoirs are attributed to excellent reservoir properties, horizontal well application, high efficiency of cyclic steam stimulating (CSS) and steam flood, and very tight well spacing (P50 value of 4 acres, as close as 0.25 acres) development strategy. The 51 high recovery conventional clastic reservoirs are characterized by favorable reservoir and fluid properties, water-wet or mixed-wet wettability, high net to gross ratio, and strong natural aquifer drive mechanism. Infill drilling and water flood led to an incremental recovery of 20% to 50%. EOR technologies, such as CO2 miscible and polymer flood, led to an incremental recovery of 8% to 15%. Homogeneous sandstone reservoirs with a good lateral correlation can reach 79% final recovery through water flood and adoption of close well spacing.
The lessons learned and best practices from the global analog reservoir knowledge base can be used to identify opportunities for reserve growth of mature fields. With favorable reservoir conditions, it is feasible to move final recovery factor toward 70% through integrating good reservoir management practices with the appropriate IOR/EOR technology.
Recovery from oil reservoirs could be improved by lowering the injection water salinity or by modifying the water injection chemistry. This has been proposed as a way to increase rock water-wetness. However, we have observed that the presence of sulfate anions in the aqueous phase can change the crude oil-water interfacial rheology drastically, and as a result, the oil recovery factor could be increased solely by alteration of fluid-fluid interactions. The purpose of this research is to show the effect of sulfate anion concentration in seawater injection on oil production through coreflooding results at low temperature.
Interfacial rheological experiments were run with several crude oils and modified seawater to see the effect of different ions on visco-elasticity of the crude oil-brine interface using an AR-G2 rheometer with a dual-wall ring fixture. Based on previous experimental results, carefully selected coreflooding experiments were run to evaluate differential pressure and oil recovery for each selected brine. Coreflooding experiments used Indiana Limestone at 25°C without aging to minimize changes in rock wettability.
The interfacial rheological results show that the visco-elasticity of the crude oil-brine interface is higher for a low-salinity brine compared to a higher-salinity one when individual salts are used, e.g. NaCl or Na2SO4. The difference is more pronounced if ultralow salinities are compared. For the cases with salinity values similar to that of seawater, the effect of sulfate concentration in water on interfacial visco-elasticity is more noticeable. Coreflooding results show that brines with a higher visco-elasticity, corresponding to a higher sulfate concentration in the water injected, yield higher oil recovery factor that those with lower visco-elasticity, including the experiments with salinity lower than 50% of that of seawater. Brine-rock reactions were geochemically simulated to prevent injection conditions that could cause formation damage. Additionally, pH, electrical conductivity and total dissolved solid (TDS) were analyzed in the effluents. Results show that for the model rock used, brine composition does not change significantly from contact with rock surfaces. Since wettability alteration was minimized by use of low-temperature and short ageing time, recovery correlates better with changes in interfacial rheology. For results showing an apparent lack of correspondence with the interfacial rheological response, arguments based on ganglia dynamics might shed light on the observed recovery outcome.
Our findings reveal that the injection of water with sulfate can modify the fluid-fluid interactions and consequently the final oil recovery, so in some cases, low-salinity brine injection is not necessarily conducive to an increment in oil production. Findings also indicate that more characterization of the brine-crude oil interface should be carefully conducted as part of the screening of adjusted brine chemistry waterflooding.
The EOR activity has been very restricted in naturally fractured reservoirs (NFR) because the fluid behavior on these reservoirs are strongly dependent of specific properties of the fractures such as direction, length, thickness, morphology and angle, and good tools were not available to get this information accurately from the reservoirs in the past. Today it is possible to get a lot of information on the fractures by using direct data sources like core samples, drill cuttings and downhole cameras; or even by indirect data sources like well log, well drilling, production history and seismic.
These advancements in the data acquisition have facilitated EOR applications and the EOR activity has increased in the past few years in NFR. GAGD is a promising technique that uses the gravitational flow to improve the sweep efficiency in the reservoir and increase oil recovery. Its benefits have been proven in some academic works and in field applications, such as the Cantarell Oil field that achieved outstanding results.
In this work, we have developed an experimental model that simulates the flow behavior of NFR from a Brazilian offshore oilfield. The model uses rectangular Berea Sandstones blocks that simulate the matrix rock in the experiments and these blocks are separated by small gaps using metal spacers. These gaps act as the fractures in the experimental model. The experimental conditions are close to the reservoir and the used configuration simulates the interaction between matrix and fracture, as well as the flow in the fractures.
In the experiments the blocks are packed in a high-pressure physical model in the desired configuration. The gas is injected from the top and the oil is produced from the bottom. This work investigated the influence of the gas injection rate on oil production. The experiments were history matched using the commercial numerical simulator GEM from CMG.
The experimental results showed good oil recovery performance with recovery factor as high as 40 per cent of OOIP, and it was observed that this value increases when higher gas rates are used. The numerical simulator has some limitations but provided a good history match with the results of the experiments.
This paper proves the efficiency of the CO2 injection in NFR and also presents a new procedure for experimental modeling of fractured systems.
We present a technique that enables the determination of the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP) of a CO2 – oil system using a short 20 ft slim tube in less than two weeks, about a third of what it normally takes using the conventional 80 ft slim tube. MMP is a crucial parameter in designing a CO2 enhanced oil recovery project and its value needs to be known with a degree of accuracy that cannot be provided by the use of equations of state or correlations, and therefore, needs to be determined experimentally. The slim tube technique is recognized to be the most accurate experimental method for determining the MMP, however its use has not been favored because it is time consuming.
We determined the MMP for five CO2 – crude oil systems from the North Burbank Unit and the Oklahoma/Texas Panhandle. The reduction in the length of the slim tube from 80 ft to 20 ft resulted in a decrease in the total time of the experiment. The validity of our technique was proven with performing recovery factor measurements using a conventional 80 ft long slim tube. The MMP values obtained are valid when the length of the slim tube is sufficient to host the mixing zone and the velocity of the displacement is slow enough to enable the transverse dispersion to eliminate viscous fingering. In the case of light oil, the use of the 20 ft slim tube is justified as the length of the mixing zone is shorter. We support our results with the use of numerical simulation.
The reduction in the time required for slim tube experiments results in a fast, economic and accurate technique for the determination of MMP in CO2 – light crude oil systems. Taking into account that CO2 flooding is the most applied EOR technique in the US and that it is mainly applied to light oil reservoirs, this work can be of great impact by providing a rapid and reliable method to determine the MMP for designing a CO2 enhanced oil recovery project.