This paper summarizes the current state of the ethane industry in the United States and explores the opportunity for using ethane for enhanced oil recovery. We show both simulation data and field examples to demonstrate that ethane is an excellent EOR injectant.
After decades of research and field application, the use of CO2 as an EOR injectant has proven to be very successful. However, there are limited supplies of low cost CO2 available, and there are also significant drawbacks, especially corrosion, involving its use. The rich gasses and volatile oils developed by horizontal drilling and fracturing in the shale reservoirs have brought about an enormous increase in ethane production. Ethane prices have dropped substantially. In the U.S., ethane is no longer priced as a petrochemical feedstock, but is priced as fuel. Also, substantial quantities of ethane are currently being flared.
Ethane-based EOR can supplement the very successful CO2-based EOR industry in the U.S. There simply isn't enough low-cost CO2 available to undertake all of the potential gas EOR projects in the U.S. The current abundance of low-cost ethane presents a significant opportunity to add new gas EOR projects. The ethane-based EOR opportunity can be summarized as follows; CO2-based EOR works well, and is well understood. Ethane is better than CO2 for EOR. Ethane is simpler than CO2 for EOR. Ethane is now inexpensive, and will likely stay inexpensive. Ethane-based EOR has become a viable option in the Lower 48. Large volumes of low-cost ethane are available. Recent additions to the growing ethane infrastructure now deliver ethane to locations where ethane-based EOR targets are plentiful.
CO2-based EOR works well, and is well understood.
Ethane is better than CO2 for EOR.
Ethane is simpler than CO2 for EOR.
Ethane is now inexpensive, and will likely stay inexpensive.
Ethane-based EOR has become a viable option in the Lower 48. Large volumes of low-cost ethane are available. Recent additions to the growing ethane infrastructure now deliver ethane to locations where ethane-based EOR targets are plentiful.
Erke, S. I. (Salym Petroleum Development) | Volokitin, Y. E. (Salym Petroleum Development) | Edelman, I. Y. (Salym Petroleum Development) | Karpan, V. M. (Salym Petroleum Development) | Nasralla, R. A. (Shell Global Solutions International) | Bondar, M. Y. (Salym Petroleum Development) | Mikhaylenko, E. E. (Salym Petroleum Development) | Evseeva, M. (Salym Petroleum Development)
Low-salinity waterflooding (LSF) has been recognized as an IOR/EOR technique for both green and brown fields in which the salinity of the injected water is lowered for particular reservoir properties to improve oil recovery. While providing lower or similar UTC's low salinity projects have the advantage of lower capital and operational costs as compared to some more expensive EOR alternatives.
This work describes LSF experiments, field-scale simulation results, and conceptual design of surface facilities for West Salym oil field. The field is located in West Siberia and is on stream since 2004. Conventional waterflooding was started in 2005 and current water cut is currently above 80% in the developed area of the field. To counter oil production decline a tertiary Alkaline-Surfactant-Polymer (ASP) flooding technique selected for mature waterflooded field parts and piloting of this technique is ongoing. Operationally simpler and more cost-effective LSF method is considered for implementation in the unflushed (green) areas of the field since it has been recognized that application of LSF in secondary mode results in better incremental oil recovery than LSF in tertiary mode.
The results of a comprehensive conceptual study performed to justify the LSF trial are presented in this paper. To generate production forecast for LSF in the isolated area at the outset of reservoir development the results of laboratory core tests executed at different salinities presented earlier (
Barnes, J. R (Shell Global Solutions International B.V.) | Regalado, D. Perez (Shell Global Solutions International B.V.) | Doll, M. J. (Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc.) | King, T. E. (Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc.) | Pretzer, L. E. (Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc.) | Semple, T. C. (Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc.)
Surfactant flooding is an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique that involves the injection of an aqueous solution of surfactant (and, optionally, alkaline and polymer) into an oil reservoir to mobilise and produce the remaining oil. The quantities of surfactants needed for pilots and future commercial scale projects are large (100s to 10,000s of tons) and necessitate large scale manufacture using existing processes and plants for the different manufacturing steps. Upscaling of surfactants requires a rigorous QA/QC process to control and ensure the quality of batches of surfactants produced. Case studies are described from the perspective of a surfactant manufacturer where 800 and 6000 ton of surfactant were manufactured (as 60% and 20% active concentrates respectively) for two multi spot pilots. These case studies illustrate: The need to define the laboratory tests for surfactant composition and performance. Plus associated repeatability data and specifications (minimum and maximum values) for clear, unambiguous decisions. How the QC is checked at each stage in manufacture from the initial feedstock, through various stages, to the final delivered surfactant concentrate/blend. This also applies to the scale-up procedure from the laboratory made scale (kg) to pilot scale (100s of kg) to the pilot/commercial scale (100s to 1000s of tons). Novel correlations between composition and performance (e.g. optimal salinity, via oil/water phase behaviour tests), developed during the surfactant pilot scale manufacture stage, to a) put more emphasis on verifying batch consistency with faster, easier to use composition tests, and b) give more assurance that large scale production gives the expected sub-surface performance. This requires R&D over an extended time, ahead of large scale manufacture.
The need to define the laboratory tests for surfactant composition and performance. Plus associated repeatability data and specifications (minimum and maximum values) for clear, unambiguous decisions.
How the QC is checked at each stage in manufacture from the initial feedstock, through various stages, to the final delivered surfactant concentrate/blend. This also applies to the scale-up procedure from the laboratory made scale (kg) to pilot scale (100s of kg) to the pilot/commercial scale (100s to 1000s of tons).
Novel correlations between composition and performance (e.g. optimal salinity, via oil/water phase behaviour tests), developed during the surfactant pilot scale manufacture stage, to a) put more emphasis on verifying batch consistency with faster, easier to use composition tests, and b) give more assurance that large scale production gives the expected sub-surface performance. This requires R&D over an extended time, ahead of large scale manufacture.
Overall, the paper shows that industrial scale production of surfactants for chemical EOR is feasible and goes through the essential steps to achieve this. Control of large scale batch quality and performance is critical.
This paper also shows results for improved, highly active (60%+) surfactants concentrates with improved rheology behaviour which will be easier to pump, mix and dilute at the facilities than earlier products. This helps to reduce logistical costs thereby improving project economics.
As polymer injection has not reached the same maturity as waterflooding, implementing polymer injection projects at field scale requires a workflow comprising screening of the portfolio of an organization for oil fields potentially amenable for polymer injection, laboratory and field testing followed by sector- and field implementation and roll-out in the portfolio.
Going through the workflow, not only the subsurface uncertainty is reduced but also the knowledge about the cost structure and operating capabilities of the organization improved.
Analyzing the economics of polymer injection projects shows that costs can be split into polymer injector-producer (polymer pattern) dependent and independent costs. Knowing these costs, a Minimum Economic Number of Patterns (MENP) is defined to achieve Net Present Value zero. This number is used to determine a Minimum Economic Field Size (MEFS) for polymer injection which is taken into account in the screening of the portfolio.
Defining a robustness criterion for economics, the minimum number of patterns for polymer injection meeting this criterion is calculated. This criterion is applied to generate a diagram allowing for screening of fields for polymer economics using pattern dependent and pattern independent costs and Utility Factor.
The cost structure reveals how the NPV of polymer projects changes with number of patterns, incremental oil and injectivity. Injectivity is of particular importance as it determines the Chemical Affected Reservoir Volume (CARV) or speed of production.
A sensitivity analysis of the NPV showed that for the cost structure used here, in addition to the polymer costs, the well costs are important for the economics of a full-field polymer injection project.
Zhang, Yandong (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Wei, Mingzhen (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Bai, Baojun (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Yang, Hongbin (China University of Petroleum) | Kang, Wanli (China University of Petroleum)
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) processes are regarded as important methods to recover remaining oil after primary and secondary recovery. It is important to select the most appropriate EOR process among the possible techniques for a candidate reservoir. Therefore, EOR screening criteria have been constructed using available EOR data sets and serve as the first step to compare the suitability of each EOR method for a particular reservoir. Most screening criteria for polymer flooding are based on data sets from EOR surveys published biannually by the Oil & Gas Journal. These surveys missed significant polymer flooding parameters such as formation water salinity and hardness, polymer types and molecular weight, polymer concentration, reservoir heterogeneity, and so on. All of these topics are covered in this paper with data from relevant literature and records provided by oil companies in China.
Polymer flooding has been widely applied in China for over 20 years and a large number of pilot and field projects have been conducted. These projects include important information to quantify the development of polymer flooding as an EOR method. Nevertheless, most of them have been published in Chinese, and are not accessible to the global research community due to the language barrier. This paper represents an effort to collect all relevant information of polymer flooding from available Chinese publications and reports from all of the major oil companies in China. The primary objectives of this survey is to reveal EOR advances, to trace the development of the polymer flooding EOR methodology in China, and to benefit EOR worldwide.
This project collected information on 55 polymer flooding projects after reviewing nearly 200 publications in Chinese, including 31 pilot projects and 24 field projects from 1991 to 2014. A data set was constructed by collecting all relevant information for polymer flooding. Statistical analyses and graphical methods were used to analyze the whole data set. Box plots combined with violin plots were used to show the distribution and the range of each parameter. By defining and calculating lower and upper limits in box plots, special projects were identified and explained. Scatter plots, which show multiple parameters in one plot, were used to identify significant relationships among different parameters, especially for dependent parameters. This method overcomes some disadvantages of the range method, which is traditionally used for EOR screening. For example, using polymers with high concentration in low salinity reservoirs can lead to higher incremental oil recovery than in high salinity ones, and lower permeability usually correlates with the use of polymers with lower molecular weight. However, the traditional range method cannot show this relationship. Finally, comprehensive screening criteria for polymer flooding were updated based on information revealed in the field application projects.
Aldhaheri, Munqith N. (Missan Oil Company, Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Wei, Mingzhen (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Bai, Baojun (Missouri University of Science and Technology)
Polymer gels are increasingly applied to improve sweep efficiency of different IOR/EOR recovery processes. Three in-situ polymer gel systems including bulk gels, colloidal dispersion gels, and weak gels are often used to mitigate water production caused by reservoir heterogeneity and unfavorable mobility ratio of oil and injected fluids. Selecting the most appropriate gel system is a key component for a successful conformance improvement treatment. Screening criteria in terms of reservoir and fluid characteristics have been widely used to identify potential technologies for a specific reservoir. Despite the large number of polymer gel projects, only five, limited-parameters, single-agent criteria or surveys have been sporadically accomplished that suffer from many deficiencies and drawbacks.
This paper presents the first complete applicability guidelines for gel technologies based on their field implementations in injection wells from 1978 to 2015. The data set includes 111 cases histories compiled mainly from SPE papers and U.S. Department of Energy reports. We extracted missing data from some public EOR databases and detected potential outliers by two approaches to ensure data quality. Finally, for each parameter, we evaluated project and treatment frequency distributions and applicability ranges based on successful projects. Extensive comparisons of the developed applicability criteria with the previous surveillance studies are provided and differences are discussed in details as well.
In addition to the parameters that are considered for other EOR technologies, we identified that the applicability evaluations of polymer gels should incorporate the parameters that depict roots and characteristics of conformance issues. The present applicability criteria comprise 16 quantitative parameters including permeability variation, mobility ratio, and three production-related aspects. Application guidelines were established for organically crosslinked bulk gels for the first time, and many experts' opinions in the previous criteria were replaced by detailed property evaluations. In addition, we identified that the applicability criteria of some parameters are considerably influenced by lithology and formation types, and thus, their data were analyzed according to these characteristics. Besides their comprehensiveness of all necessary screening parameters, the novelty of the new criteria lies in their ability to self-check the established validity limits for the screening parameters which resulted from the inclusion and simultaneous evaluation of the project and treatment frequencies.
Scaling up from lab to pilot is one of the challenges to meet in any ASP project to accomplish the requirements at full implementation. Tailored EOR surfactants developed and manufactured in the laboratory, to achieve the lowest interfacial tension (IFT) between oil and water at the reservoir conditions, have to be viable and robust in the manufacture, capable in performance and compatible in the formulation, not only at laboratory scale, but also at industrial scale.
It is described in this poster the route map in the development and manufacture of alkyl aryl sulfonates surfactants for the Cepsa ASP pilot project in the Caracara Sur field, Los Llanos basin (Colombia) from a continuous feed-back of the laboratory tests. The surfactant employed for the project was selected from other surfactants from several suppliers and dyalkylbenzene sodium sulfonate was the one achieving the lowest interfacial tension for Caracara field conditions. The dyalkylbenzene sodium sulfonate was accompanied by a co-surfactant improving the solubility and performance properties.
Pilot ASP injection started in May 2015 and some conclusions were obtained during the production of the surfactants in several manufacture batches: Composition, molecular weight even isomerism of alkylbenzenes may impact strongly on the interfacial activity of alkyl aryl sulfonates surfactants. Sulfonation and neutralization of alkylbenzenes are critical processes to comply the requirements of alkyl aryl surfactants for any cEOR project. Finally, the laboratory in the field for quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) of surfactants is completely necessary. Periodical sampling and on-site analyses are scheduled but also samples delivery to research center for more sophisticated analyses. These data are essential for the final performance evaluation and the project success.
Composition, molecular weight even isomerism of alkylbenzenes may impact strongly on the interfacial activity of alkyl aryl sulfonates surfactants.
Sulfonation and neutralization of alkylbenzenes are critical processes to comply the requirements of alkyl aryl surfactants for any cEOR project.
Finally, the laboratory in the field for quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) of surfactants is completely necessary. Periodical sampling and on-site analyses are scheduled but also samples delivery to research center for more sophisticated analyses. These data are essential for the final performance evaluation and the project success.
This paper describes the analysis and positive results of injecting water, from constant to discontinuous rates in a reservoir under a high water cut stage. By following and improving waterflooding surveillance applications it was possible not only to describe the kind of reservoir, but also to keep the water cut up for a longer time. The goal of this study is to demonstrate the powerful benefits of applying and improving the surveillance plots that are available in the existing literature. The pore volumes injected plot, which was enhanced in this study by adding the injection rates per well in a secondary Y axis, was a powerful tool to identify the water cut behavior.
One of the two injector wells of the field was shut in for about 5 months and returned to its water injection conditions for 7 months. These events are presented in three phases. The first is related to the reservoir characterization achieved before the injector shut in. The second includes the well responses observed and monitored during the injector shut in. And, the third illustrates the promising reservoir results after the injector shut in. As well, an economic model is also developed.
As a result of the field events, analysis, and results described in this paper, the reservoir water cut was stable for a longer time in comparison with the whole life of the IOR project. In addition the increase Estimate Ultimate Recovery was 304,968 bbl for 8 years, the net present value of the field increased to 24%, and the average operating cost was reduced to 2.49 USD/bbl from 2015 to 2022.
The cyclic waterflooding existing literature supports reservoir characterization, analysis and results achieved in Tiguino Field. The initial application monitored in Ecuador will be helpful to be considered as a first approach for starting an IOR optimization in similar stratified reservoirs. The results obtained in Tiguino field are helpful not only as a real example but also as a statistical support for cyclic waterflooding. The Tiguino case experience would be extrapolated to other fields worldwide.
This paper presents an overview of the SACROC Unit's activity focusing on different CO2 injection and WAG projects that have made the SACROC Unit one of the most successful CO2 injection projects in the world. The main objective of this work was to review CO2 injection and injection rate losses due to the CO2 /WAG miscible displacement process in the SACROC Unit and recommend an injection strategy for WAG-sensitive patterns.
Two types of pattern CO2 /WAG injection rate performance were observed, 1) WAG-sensitive and 2) WAG insensitive. WAG-sensitive patterns displayed loss of CO2 injectivity, exceeding 80% in some patterns, during water-alternating-gas (WAG) injection, and an apparent reduction in water injectivity during the follow-up brine injection. This injectivity loss was observed in over 150 injection patterns. Over time, CO2 injectivity tended to return to prior-to-WAG values. WAG-insensitive patterns suffer from these injectivity losses and were characterized by differences in 1) injectivity profiles, 2) Dykstra-Parsons coefficients, and 3) injectivity indexes.
In the majority of WAG-sensitive patterns, injectivity profiles redistributed after CO2 injection, while WAG-insensitive patterns did not show a significant change in their injectivity profiles over time. In a limited data set, the mean Dykstra-Parsons coefficient calculated for WAG-sensitive patterns was 0.83, while for WAG-insensitive patterns the mean Dykstra-Parsons coefficient was 0.76. However it was observed that in the lower Dykstra-Parsons patterns (WAG-insensitive patterns) much larger injectivity indexes were also observed; 19.5 bbl/day/psi, compared to 8.5 bbl/day/psi for higher Dykstra-Parsons patterns. This suggests that the WAG-insensitive patterns were dominated by fracture flow rather than matrix flow. These observations indicate that the WAG injection process in these heterogeneous SACROC wells is successful in diverting the injected fluids from zones with higher permeability to zones with lower permeability.
For wells with injectivity values of less than 10 bbl/day/psi it is recommended to begin CO2 /WAG injection with a long CO2 cycle since they are likely to show sensitivity to WAG.
A simulated 5-spot pattern was used to study the injection schedule for WAG-sensitive patterns. Longer CO2 cycles and shorter water cycles improved the injectivity and pattern production. Most importantly, it was observed that increasing producing BHP to MMP resulted in significantly lower GOR.