Reichenbach-Klinke, Roland (BASF Construction Polymers GmbH) | Stavland, Arne (International Research Institute of Stavanger) | Langlotz, Bjorn (BASF Construction Chemicals GmbH) | Wenzke, Benjamin (BASF SE) | Brodt, Gregor (BASF SE)
New thickeners based on associative properties and their application in enhanced oil recovery are discussed. The new thickeners are anionic, water-soluble, hydrophobically modified copolymers.
The rheological properties as well as the flow properties in porous media have been evaluated. In bulk the polymer viscosity is shear thinning and the viscosity vs. shear rate profile is comparable with other synthetic EOR polymers. For most of the other tested parameters, the new thickeners differ from what is assumed as the standard properties for EOR polymers. The relative viscosity increases by increasing the temperature, especially at low shear rates. The core flood experiments revealed a significant mobility reduction in sandstone cores, both at ambient and elevated temperature. The mobility reduction demonstrated strongly shear thinning behavior. For standard EOR polymers the main contribution to the mobility reduction and improved mobility ratio is the polymer viscosity, while for the new thickeners the mobility reduction seems to be dominated by reversible polymer retention that is lowering the permeability. Post water injection resulted in low permeability reduction. However, the time to regain the permeability was significant.
Flood experiments with the associative polymer in Bentheim sandstone cores showed significantly increased oil production. The incremental oil recovery was interpreted by the capillary number which due to the high mobility reduction exceeded the critical capillary number. Because of the high mobility reduction a further increase in oil production would have been possible by only slight reduction of the oil-water interfacial tension by addition of small amounts of a surfactant. Moreover the new associative polymer seems to be more shear stable than other synthetic EOR polymers.
Screening for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) processes is a critical step in evaluating future development strategies for depleted reservoirs under primary and secondary recovery. However, selecting the optimum EOR process for a given reservoir is challenging because it requires evaluating and comparing performance for various EOR processes, which is complex and time consuming.
This paper presents a new EOR screening model that can predict the performance of various gas- and water-based EOR processes based on simple reservoir properties. The model estimates the oil recovery from miscible and immiscible gas/solvent injection (CO2, N2, and hydrocarbons), low salinity water flood, polymer, surfactant-polymer, alkaline-polymer and alkaline-surfactant-polymer floods. The screening model is based on a set of correlations that were developed using the response surface methodology, which correlates the oil recovery at dimensionless times to the important reservoir and fluid properties and EOR process variables identified for each process. The results of the model have been validated against a number of field test and numerical simulation results.
The screening model provides the capability to screen a large set of reservoirs for a wide spectrum of EOR processes, to identify the good EOR targets and the optimum EOR process for the target reservoirs. In addition, this model easily performs sensitivity analysis without the need for numerical simulations, allowing teams to account for uncertainty in reservoir properties and optimization of flood design. Finally, the methodology can be applied for developing screening models for other oil recovery mechanisms such as thermal (steam injection, SAGD), microbial EOR and other methods.
The application of the Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) to an offshore oilfield in Vietnam has been investigated through an international joint study between Japan and Vietnam since 2007. In order to reduce and mitigate uncertainties and risks for future field scale application, a CO2-EOR pilot test was conducted in the Rang Dong field, offshore Vietnam in 2011.
The pilot test was conducted as a single-well "Huff-n-Puff?? operation which was designed to minimize the test duration, required CO2 volume to observe the meaningful CO2-EOR effects and to reduce the risk of corrosion to the existing facility. Over 100 tons of CO2 were successfully injected into the Lower Miocene sandstone reservoir and the well was flowed back after two days of soaking time. Various parameters were monitored including production rate, bottom-hole pressure and production fluid properties. To investigate the CO2-EOR effects and for the purpose of monitoring the reservoir fluid saturation change, cased hole pulsed neutron saturation logging was carried out during every stage of the test. These logging operations and their timing were carefully designed to avoid any possibility of fluid contamination and to minimize operation time.
Through the analysis of the acquired logs, vertical contrast of preferential CO2 injection, zonal oil saturation change, oil saturation change with time within single run, etc., were clearly identified. These observations played important roles in evaluating the CO2-EOR effect in detail by comparing them with the reservoir simulation prediction.
In this paper the detailed design for the reservoir fluid saturation monitoring, observed results and three-phase fluid saturation changes wtih time are discussed.
Viscous oils have adverse mobility that causes production to decline rapidly following a period of primary recovery. Traditionally, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) for this kind of oil has mostly relied on reducing viscosity and increasing mobility using thermal methods or miscible gas injection. However, in some cases—for example, deep reservoirs, thin sands, or restricted offshore applications—these methods might not be feasible. This paper discusses published field studies using polymer flooding EOR for viscous oil and provides recommendations for its applicability.
In countries with reservoirs that present challenges for use of traditional EOR methods, such as Canada, China, and Suriname, polymer flooding has been field tested as a reliable oil-sweeping method while minimizing the risk of high water cut. With oil viscosities at reservoir conditions up to 5000 cp and reasonable economic conditions, polymer flooding has been shown to be an attractive EOR alternative. The study cases presented show that polymer concentrations need only be between 800 to 1,500 ppm to ensure successful results.
Concerns about low or poor injectivity of polymers are being overcome using fracturing and horizontal wells, while high-value, limited-space challenges on offshore platforms are being addressed through modular and minimized installations. Additionally, most conventional waterflood monitoring and surveillance techniques are also applicable to polymer floods, while polymer use in backflow tests and as a tracer has also been proposed.
This study's projection shows a 90% probability of positive net present value (NPV) under broad ranges of uncertainty for oil price, recovery factor (RF), capital expenditures (CAPEX), and operational expenditures (OPEX). The results of this paper show that polymer flooding presents a clear and feasible alternative for increasing the RF of viscous oil. To this end, a detailed study is provided of its advantages and the reservoir condition range of applicability.
Zhu, Youyi (Research Inst. Petr. Expl/Dev) | Jian, Guoqing (Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC) | Liu, Weidong (Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC) | Cheng, Lijing (Oil Production Engineering Research Institute of Dagang Oilfield) | Hou, Qingfeng (Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC) | Li, Jianguo (Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC)
Surfactant-Polymer (SP) flooding has attracted lots of attention among chemical combination flooding researchers in recent years. Pilot tests of SP flooding in China were introduced and key factors influencing the performance of pilot tests were analyzed in this paper. Main technological problems occurred in pilot tests were indicated. Suggestions concerning technology improvement and development were given.
About ten SP flooding pilot tests were carried out in China since 2003. These target reservoirs were characterized with high permeability and low permeability sandstone, conglomerate, and high temperature and high salinity ones respectively. At present, the performance of SP flooding pilot tests in Gudong Block 6 and Gudong Block 7 of Shengli oilfield have shown good enhanced oil recovery (EOR) effect. It confirmed SP flooding could improve both of oil displacing efficiency and sweep efficiency and EOR ability for SP flooding is better than that of polymer flooding. EOR effect of SP flooding can be reflected from the following two aspects. Firstly, with SP slug injecting, the pressure of injection well increased and fluid entry profile was adjusted. The performance of profile control was favorable. Secondly, ultralow interfacial tension could be achieved and residual oil was displaced significantly. SP flooding showed stronger ability in decreasing water cut and increasing oil production than polymer flooding. The production history data showed that main factors influencing EOR were the corresponding relationship between injection wells and production wells, the chemical formula properties and the injection amount of SP system. The favorable oil production was obtained when the corresponding relationship between injection wells and production wells was good. The quality stability of SP formula could influence the flooding EOR performance greatly. Small injection slug size of chemical system would lead low EOR level.
The key technologies which should be improved and optimized for SP flooding are displacing agent quality, formula system stability, slug design, well pattern and so on.
In previous publications, we introduced a methodology to assist in choosing between polymer flooding and infill well drilling. The method has been firstly applied to a synthetic scenario with constant economic parameters, which has demonstrated the impact that oil price can have on the decision making process (Alusta, et. al. SPE 143300) and the method is then applied and tested with varied operational and economic parameters to investigate whether it is better to start polymer flooding earlier or later in the life of the project (Alusta et al., SPE 150454).
The method was then applied to actual field data where the choice of infill well drilling has already been made, to test the robustness of the method against a conventional decision making process for which there is historical data. Application of the method identified that polymer injection would indeed be economically unfavourable (Alusta et al., SPE 163298).
The approach is then carried out in a field where the choice has yet to be made, a field which is currently under waterflood management, and where the operator is considering polymer flooding as an alternative (or in addition) to infill well drilling. Application of the method has identified that under certain technical conditions (related to polymer concentration and duration of polymer injection) and certain economic conditions (related to oil price and operating costs) polymer flooding entails a significant risk of failure, but that if appropriate technical choices are made, and under prevailing economic conditions, polymer flooding is very beneficial for this field, and a combination of polymer flooding and infill well drilling is optimal.
We consider that this approach will be very useful to the industry in helping to make the appropriate choice between potentially various EOR techniques and infill well drilling, taking full account of reservoir engineering AND economic considerations TOGETHER.
Choudhuri, Biswajit (Petroleum Development Oman) | Kalbani, Ali (Petroleum Development Oman) | Cherukupalli, Pradeep Kumar (Petroleum Development Oman) | Ravula, Chakravarthi V. (Petroleum Development Oman) | Hashmi, Khalid (Petroleum Development Oman) | Jaspers, Henri F (Petroleum Development Oman)
In viscous oil reservoirs, Polymer flooding is often used to improve oil recovery either after a short period of waterflooding or as a tertiary recovery process following extensive period of waterflood. After six years of water flooding in a major reservoir in Sultanate of Oman having viscous oil (90cp), a field development plan was developed to implement polymer flooding in this reservoir with anticipated incremental oil recovery of around 10% over and above that of waterflood. Necessary facilities were constructed, injection and production wells were drilled, completed, converted and the polymer flood project was initiated and ongoing since the last three years through 27 polymer injectors. By implementing proactive Well and Reservoir Management (WRM) strategies, the actual oil recoveries have been better than predicted levels so far. It is demonstrated here that proactive well and reservoir management through proper well and reservoir surveillance and dynamic adjustment of injection and production rates play a very important role in improving the performance of polymer floods as in waterfloods.
Well and Reservoir Management (WRM) principles in case of a polymer flood are similar to that of high mobility ratio waterfloods with some additional aspects that are specific to a polymer flood scenario. Polymer chemical costs, its higher viscosity and non Newtonian fluid flow behavior all create unique conditions that are nonexistent in normal waterfloods. This, in turn, dictates the strategies and methods employed to optimize polymer flood performance. This paper details successful implementation of proactive WRM strategy that has played a key role in sustaining production from this polymer flood field to date. It describes the pattern management processes to optimize pattern wise polymer injection and oil recoveries, conformance control measures implemented to increase sweep and oil recovery, innovative surveillance techniques to monitor fracture growth in polymer injection wells and for evaluation and optimization of production/injection profiles. Production wells and facilities issues arising from polymer breakthrough are being addressed to mitigate any adverse effects.
Thakuria, Chandan (Petroleum Development Oman) | Al-Amri, Mohsin Saud (Petroleum Development Oman) | Al-Saqri, Kawthar Ahmed (Petroleum Development Oman) | Jaspers, Henri F (Petroleum Development Oman) | Al-Hashmi, Khalid Hamad (Petroleum Development Oman) | Zuhaimi, Khalid (Petroleum Development of Oman)
The first field scale Polymer flood project in the Middle East region is being implemented in an oil field of Sultanate of Oman from early 2010. The oil field discussed here containing viscous oil (90 cp) was discovered in 1956 and is located in eastern part of South Oman Salt basin. First commercial production started in 1980 from this field. The field has gone through different development phases in its 30 years of history prior starting tertiary recovery phase by polymer flooding.
This field scales Polymer flood project comprising 27 patterns as Phase-1 covers about one third of the total field IOIP (initial oil in place). It is worth mentioning that whole field is under water flooding and water injection was going on prior to initiation of Polymer flood in all these 27 injectors. Further extension in phases to full field polymer flooding is under evaluation.
Till now this Polymer flood project has successfully completed 3 years of good performance contributing to significant oil gain. This paper describes briefly about the principles involved in polymer flooding, planning of this polymer flood project, field implementation and field examples of polymer response. In addition, a few practical aspects of managing key issues in polymer flooding like- fracture growth in injectors, shear degradation of polymer solution, pattern conformance and back produced polymer has been covered in this paper.
Shiau, Bor Jier Ben (University of Oklahoma) | Hsu, Tzu-Ping (University of Oklahoma) | Lohateeraparp, Prapas (University of Oklahoma) | Rojas, Mario R. (University of Oklahoma) | Budhathoki, Mahesh (University of Oklahoma) | Raj, Ajay (University of Oklahoma) | Wan, Wei (University of Oklahoma) | Bang, Sangho (University of Oklahoma) | Harwell, Jeffrey H. (University of Oklahoma)
Reservoirs containing very high total dissolved solids and high hardness make the design of a surfactant polymer (SP) flood extremely difficult because surfactant tends to precipitate and separate under these conditions. Beside divalent ions, Ca2+, Mg2+, presence of iron in the brine can be a challenging issue. Different surfactant formulations are evaluated and incorporate cosurfactants and co-solvents which minimize viscous macroemulsions, promote rapid coalescence under Winsor Type III conditions, and stabilize the chemical solution by reducing precipitation and phase separation. The optimal surfactant formulations were further evaluated in one-dimensional sand packs and coreflood tests using Berea sandstone, reservoir oils, and brines at reservoir temperatures. Using similar injection protocols, 3 pore volumes of surfactant-only system, experimental results show the oil recovery ranging from 45 % to 70% of the residual oil (Sor) after water flooding. The level of surfactant loading is less than 0.5 wt%. A single-well test was conducted to confirm laboratory results in situ in the presence of high-salinity formation water containing 102,300 mg/L total dissolved solids (TDS). The aim of ongoing test is to confirm the effectiveness of the high-salinity surfactant-only formulation (0.46 wt% of surfactant). In this effort, we plan to conduct multiple single-well tests at different wells to minimize the design risks involved for the surfactant pilot test. A pilot test at a sandstone reservoir is scheduled to be performed in July of 2013 to further evaluate the effectiveness of surfactant formulation and address technical issues related to scale-up.
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.