Although conformance-improvement gel treatments have existed for a number of decades, their widespread use has only begun to emerge. Early oilfield gels tended to be stable and function well during testing and evaluation in the laboratory, but failed to be stable and to function downhole as intended because they lacked robust chemistries. Also, because of a lack of modern technology, many reservoir and flooding conformance problems were not understood, correctly depicted, or properly diagnosed. In addition, numerous individuals and organizations tended to make excessive claims about what early oilfield gel technologies could and would do. The success rate of these gel treatments was low and conducting such treatments was considered high risk. As a result, conformance-improvement gel technologies developed a somewhat bad reputation in the industry. Only recently has this reputation begun to improve. The information presented in this chapter can help petroleum engineers evaluate oilfield conformance gels and their field application on the basis of well-founded-scientific, sound-engineering, and field-performance merits.
This page provides a brief review of illustrative field applications of polymer waterflooding as reported in the literature. In 1983, Manning et al. published a comprehensive and classic summary of the field results and performance of more than 250 polymer waterflooding projects and provided information relating to the early field applications of polymer waterflooding. Figure 1 shows the incremental oil production response for the North Burbank polymer flood. A polymer waterflooding project that involved a large full-field flooding project at the North Oregon Basin field in Wyoming's mature Big Horn Basin oil-producing area was reported in 1986 to be producing 2,550 BOPD of incremental oil production. It was reported that this polymer flooding project would recover ultimately more than 10 million bbl of incremental reserves from the mature North Oregon Basin field. The field project involved the flooding of both a fractured carbonate formation and a fractured sandstone formation with a polymer flood using partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide(HPAM).
Included are applications of foam for mobility control and for blocking gas. In 1989, Hirasaki reviewed early steam-foam-drive projects. In 1996, Patzek reviewed the performance of seven steam-foam pilots conducted in California. Early and delayed production responses were discussed for these pilots. Gauglitz et al. review a steam-foam trial conducted at the Midway-Sunset field of California.
Application of polymer flooding as a chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) has increased over recent years. The main type of polymer used is partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM). This polymer still has some challenges especially with shear stability and injectivity that restrict its utility, particularly for low permeability reservoirs. Injectivity limits the possible gain by acceleration in oil production due to polymer flooding. Hence, good polymer injectivity is a requirement for the success of the operation. This paper aims to investigate the influence of formation permeability on polymer flow in porous media.
In this study, a combination of core flooding with rheological studies is presented to evaluate the influence of permeability on polymer in-situ rheology behavior. The in-situ flow of HPAM polymers has also been studied for different molecular weights. The effect of polymer preconditioning prior to injection was studied through exposing polymer solutions to different extent of mechanical degradation.
Results from this study reveal that the expected shear thinning behavior of HPAM that is observed in rheometer measurements is not observed in in-situ rheology in porous media. Instead, HPAM in porous media exhibits near-Newtonian behavior at low flow rates representative of velocities deep in the reservoir, while exhibiting shear thickening behavior at high flow rates representative of velocities near wellbore region. The pressure build-up associated with shear thickening behavior during polymer injection is significantly higher than pressure differential during water injection. The extent of shear thickening is high during the injection of high Mw polymer regardless of cores' permeability. In low permeable Berea cores, shear thickening and mechanical degradation occur at lower velocities although the degree of shear thickening is lower in Berea to that observed in high permeable Bentheimer cores. This is ascribed to high polymer retention in Berea cores that results in high residual resistance factor (RRF). Results show that preshearing polymer before injection into porous media optimizes its injectability and transportability through porous media. The effect of preshearing becomes favorable for the injection of high Mw polymers into low permeability formation.
This study discusses polymer in-situ rheology and injectivity, which is a key issue in the design of polymer flood projects. The results provide beneficial information on optimizing polymer injectivity, in particular, for low permeability porous media.
Schumi, Bettina (OMV E&P) | Clemens, Torsten (OMV E&P) | Wegner, Jonas (HOT Microfluidics) | Ganzer, Leonhard (Clausthal University of Technology) | Kaiser, Anton (Clariant) | Hincapie, Rafael E. (OMV E&P) | Leitenmüller, Verena (Montan University Leoben)
Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery leads to substantial incremental costs over waterflooding of oil reservoirs. Reservoirs containing oil with a high Total Acid Number (TAN) could be produced by injection of alkali. Alkali might lead to generation of soaps and emulsify the oil. However, the generated emulsions are not always stable.
Phase experiments are used to determine the initial amount of emulsions generated and their stability if measured over time. Based on the phase experiments, the minimum concentration of alkali can be determined and the concentration of alkali above which no significant increase in formation of initial emulsions is observed.
Micro-model experiments are performed to investigate the effects on pore scale. For injection of alkali into high TAN number oils, mobilization of residual oil after waterflooding is seen. The oil mobilization is due to breaking-up of oil ganglia or movement of elongated ganglia through the porous medium. As the oil is depleting in surface active components, residual oil saturation is left behind either as isolated ganglia or in down-gradient of grains.
Simultaneous injection of alkali and polymers leads to higher incremental oil production in the micro-models owing to larger pressure drops over the oil ganglia and more effective mobilization accordingly.
Core flood tests confirm the micro-model experiments and additional data are derived from these tests. Alkali co-solvent polymer injection leads to the highest incremental oil recovery of the chemical agents which is difficult to differentiate in micro-model experiments. The polymer adsorption is substantially reduced if alkali is injected with polymers compared with polymer injection only. The reason is the effect of the pH on the polymers. As in the micro-models, the incremental oil recovery is also higher for alkali polymer injection than with alkali injection only.
To evaluate the incremental operating costs of the chemical agents, Equivalent Utility Factors (EqUF) are calculated. The EqUF takes the costs of the various chemicals into account. The lowest EqUF and hence lowest chemical incremental OPEX are incurred by injection of Na2CO3, however, the highest incremental recovery factor is seen with alkali co-solvent polymer injection. It should be noted that the incremental oil recovery owing to macroscopic sweep efficiency improvement by polymer needs to be taken into account to assess the efficiency of the chemical agents.
Shah, Swej (Delft University of technology) | As Syukri, Herru (Delft University of technology) | Wolf, Karl-Heinz (Delft University of technology) | Pilus, Rashidah (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS) | Rossen, William (Delft University of technology)
Foam reduces gas mobility and can help improve sweep efficiency in an enhanced oil recovery process. For the latter, long-distance foam propagation is crucial. In porous media, strong foam generation requires that local pressure gradient exceeds a critical value (∇Pmin). Normally, this only happens in the near-well region. Away from wells, these requirements may not be met, and foam propagation is uncertain.
It has been shown theoretically that foam can be generated, independent of pressure gradient, during flow across an abrupt increase in permeability (
This article is an extension of a recent study (
Local pressure measurements and CT-based saturation maps confirm that foam is generated at the permeability transition, which then propagates downstream to the outlet of the core. A significant reduction in gas mobility is observed, even at low superficial velocities, however, the limit of foam propagation is reached at the lowest velocity tested. CT images were used to quantify the accumulation of liquid near the permeability jump, causing local capillary pressure to fall below the critical capillary pressure required for snap-off. This leads to foam generation by snap-off. At the tested fractional flows, no clear trend was observed between foam strength and fg. For a given permeability contrast, foam generation was observed at higher gas fractions than predicted by previous work (Rossen, 1999). Significant fluctuations in pressure gradient accompanied the process of foam generation, indicating a degree of intermittency in the generation rate - probably reflecting cycles of foam generation, dryout, imbibition, and then generation. The intermittency of foam generation was found to increase with decreasing injection velocities and increasing fractional flow. Within the range of conditions tested, the onset of foam generation (identified by the rise in ∇P and Sg) occurs after roughly the same amount of surfactant injection, independent of fractional flow or injected rate.
The field-scale design of chemical enhanced oil recovery (cEOR) processes requires running complex numerical models that are computationally demanding. This paper provides an efficient screening platform for the cEOR feasibility study by presenting five artificial neural network (ANN) based models. We constructed 1,100 ANN training cases using CMG-STARS to capture the variation in reservoir petrophysical properties and the range of injected chemicals properties for a five-spot pattern. The design parameters were coupled with the reservoir properties using several functional links to optimize the ANN models and improve their performances. The training cases were employed using back-propagation methods to construct one forward model (Model #1) and four inverse models. Model #1 predicts reservoir response (i.e., oil rate, water cut, injector bottomhole pressure, cumulative oil) for known reservoir characteristics (i.e., permeability, thickness, residual oil saturation, chemical adsorption) and project design parameters (i.e., pattern size, chemical slug size and concentration), Model #2 predicts reservoir characteristics by history matching the reservoir response, and Model #3 predicts project design parameters for known reservoir response and characteristics. Models #4 and #5 predict project design parameters for a targeted cumulative oil volume and project duration time, which is useful for economical evaluation before the implementation of cEOR projects.
The validation results show that the developed ANN-based models closely predict the numerical results. In addition, the models are able to reduce the computational time by four orders of magnitude, which is significant considering the complexity of cEOR modeling and the need for reliable and efficient tools in building cEOR feasibility studies. In terms of accuracy, Model #1 has a prediction error of 5% whereas the error for other four inverse ANN models is about 20–40%. To enhance the performance of the inverse ANN models, we changed the ANN structure, increased training cases, and used functional links, which slightly reduced the error. Further, we introduced a back-check loop that uses the predicted parameters from the inverse ANN models as inputs in the forward ANN model. A comparison of back-check results for the reservoir response with the numerical results delivers a relatively small error of 10%, revealing the non-uniqueness of solutions obtained from the inverse ANN models.
Alkaline Surfactant Polymer (ASP) flooding is a chemical EOR method to increase oil recovery after water flooding through IFT reduction and increasing sweep efficiency. Previous studies have shown that maximal oil recovery is reached when ASP flooding is performed at optimum salinity conditions, i.e. Winsor type III micro-emulsion phase but a recently series of core-flood experiments indicated that comparable oil recovery could be obtained at under-optimum salinity conditions (
Neglecting the effect of in-situ surfactant (soap) generation, since the acid number of crude oil was low, modeling of the phase behavior showed an excellent match against experimental data and optimal salinity was observed at 2.0 wt% NaCl (+ 2.0 wt% Na2CO3).Using this and considering aqueous and cation exchange as the most important geochemical reactions in alkaline propagation, several ASP core-flood experiments at optimum vs. under-optimum salinity conditions were successfully modeled. An excellent matching of all the measured parameters including oil cut and recovery, pressure drop,
In this paper a robust model which is calibrated with experimental data is presented to simulate ASP flood process at various conditions and the basic model can be used to perform further simulations and can provide practical and convenient approach to model field applications of ASP flooding.
Schmidt, Julia (Delft University of Technology) | Mirzaie Yegane, Mohsen (Delft University of Technology) | Dugonjic-Bilic, Fatima (TouGas Oilfield Solutions) | Gerlach, Benjamin (TouGas Oilfield Solutions) | Zitha, Pacelli (Delft University of Technology)
Synthetic high molecular weight polymers have been utilized for enhanced oil recovery applications. Improving their injectivity remains an important issue for field applications. Large entangled polymer chains can clog pore throats, leading to injectivity decline. We investigated an emulsion polymer system and have developed a series of processing techniques to condition an acrylamide-based copolymer inverse emulsion system at a salinity of 50,000 ppm
The un-conditioned polymer system and test conditions were chosen to clearly demonstrate the impact of processing techniques on the injectivity behavior. The polymer solution was sheared with two agitators, a disperser and Ultra-Turrax, at different intensities and with a pressure-driven flow into a thin capillary to reduce the size of the largest polymer chains and disentangle the polymer chains while maintaining its viscosifying power. The injectivity of such differently sheared solutions was evaluated by performing filtration tests using a 1-micron membrane and sand-pack flooding tests.
Our experiments have established a master curve showing viscosity and screen factor dependences on accumulated energy during pre-shearing, regardless of the mode of shearing. The un-sheared polymer solution had an unfavorable behavior in filtration test and sand-pack flooding experiment. After pre-shearing, the filtration behavior of polymer solution and the injectivity in sand-packs improved significantly. Polymer solutions sheared with a disperser at an energy input of 15 MJ/m3 improved the injectivity gradient (e.g. the ratio of the resistance factor over 30 pore volumes injected) from 3.7 to 1.6, while the viscosifying power was reduced by only 2%. To reach the same injectivity improvement with Ultra-Turrax, an energy input of 31 MJ/m3 were required, which reduced the viscosity by 11%. Shearing the solution using a capillary at an energy input of 50 MJ/m3, did not reduce the injectivity gradient while viscosity was reduced by 19%. This indicates that the injectivity performance is shear-origin dependent and the resulting polymer structure, when sheared through contractions, has a different alignment as compared to shearing with the agitators, the disperser and Ultra-Turrax.
Guetni, Imane (IFP Energies nouvelles – Rueil-Malmaison Université de Lorraine, CNRS, LIEC - Nancy) | Marliere, Claire (IFP Energies nouvelles – Rueil-Malmaison) | Rousseau, David (IFP Energies nouvelles – Rueil-Malmaison) | Bihannic, Isabelle (Université de Lorraine, CNRS, LIEC - Nancy) | Pelletier, Manuel (Université de Lorraine, CNRS, LIEC - Nancy) | Villieras, Frédéric (Université de Lorraine, CNRS, LIEC - Nancy)
Chemical EOR is now considered as an attractive option for sandstone reservoirs with permeability below 100mD, in particular where lack of gas supply does not allow gas injection (
Beyond a few reference textbooks (
In the case of porous media with low permeability for chemical EOR (below 100mD), typically characterized by small pores throats and complex mineralogical composition, thoses issues are all the more important. Low permeability sandstones are usually rich in clay, responsible for high polymer retention (