Ning, Samson (Hilcorp) | Barnes, John (Hilcorp) | Edwards, Reid (Hilcorp) | Dunford, Kyler (Hilcorp) | Eastham, Kevin (Hilcorp) | Dandekar, Abhijit (University of Alaska, Fairbanks) | Zhang, Yin (University of Alaska, Fairbanks) | Cercone, Dave (National Energy Technology Laboratory) | Ciferno, Jared (National Energy Technology Laboratory)
Alaska North Slope (ANS) holds an estimated 20-30+ billion barrel heavy oil resources, yet the development pace has been very slow due to high development costs and low oil recovery using conventional waterflood and EOR methods. The objective of this pilot is to perform a field experiment to validate the use of an advanced polymer flooding technology to unlock the vast heavy oil resources on ANS.
The advanced polymer flooding technology combines polymer flooding, low salinity water flooding, horizontal wells, and if necessary, injection conformance control treatments into one integrated process to significantly improve oil recovery from heavy oil reservoirs. Two pairs of horizontal injection and production wells have been deployed in an isolated fault block of the Schrader Bluff heavy oil reservoir at the Milne Point Field to conduct a polymer flood pilot. The pilot will acquire scientific knowledge and field performance data to optimize polymer flood design in the Schrader Bluff heavy oil reservoirs on ANS.
Polymer injection started on August 28, 2018 using a custom made polymer blending and pumping unit. This paper focuses on the facility setup and polymer injection performance into the horizontal injectors drilled and completed in the Schrader Bluff heavy oil reservoir. Partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM) polymer was selected and the initial target viscosity was set at 45 centipoise. Polymer injection rate was set at 2200 bbl/day for one injector (J-23A) and 1200 bbl/day for the other (J-24A) based on production voidage. Injection pressure was controlled below or slightly higher than fracture pressure to prevent fracture extension in the reservoir causing fast breakthroughs. Step rate and pressure falloff tests indicate that short term polymer injectivity is similar to water injectivity, which means that injectivity is mostly controlled by fluid mobility deep in the reservoir rather than that in the vicinity of the injection wellbore. Long term injection data indicate that polymer injectivity has been decreasing in both injectors as the reservoir is filled by polymer. No polymer has been observed in the production stream 9 months after the start of polymer injection compared with a 3-month breakthrough time with waterflood. This indicates that polymer significantly delays breakthrough time which will lead to increased sweep efficiency.
This page provides a reservoir management case study for a sandstone field in which polymer injection techniques have been implemented. Production is from three sandstone zones of a Cretaceous-age formation. Productive area of the polymer project was 3,560 acres. Gross thickness was 230 ft, and net-to-gross thickness averaged 0.3.
When conducting a polymer waterflood, a high-molecular-weight and viscosity-enhancing polymer is added to the water of the waterflood to decrease the mobility of the flood water and, as a consequence, improve the sweep efficiency of the waterflood (See Polymer waterflooding). This articles focuses on the design and field implementation of a polymer waterflood. Working up a flood design is one of the first steps when implementing a polymer-waterflooding project. When selecting a polymer for a polymer waterflooding project, one should try to maximize, as best as possible, all the following polymer attributes. The optimum concentration of the polymer to be injected is a critical parameter in the design of an effective polymer waterflooding project.
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.
Foam-Assisted Surfactant Flooding (FASF) is a novel enhanced oil recovery (EOR) method combining the reduction of oil-water (o/w) interfacial tension (IFT) to ultra-low values and foaming of a gas drive for mobility control. We present a detailed laboratory study on the FASF process at reservoir conditions. The stability of two specially selected surfactants in the vicinity of original injection water, i.e. sea water, at 90°C was assessed. The phase behaviour of the crude oil-surfactant-brine systems and the ability of the two selected surfactants to generate stable foam in bulk were studied in presence and in absence of crude oil. The phase behaviour and bulk tests resulted in the formulations of the surfactant slug and drive solutions. The slug solution aims for oil mobilisation by lowering of the o/w IFT and the drive formulation is required for gas foaming for mobility control. CT scanned core-flood experiments were conducted in Bentheimer sandstone cores initially brought to residual oil by water flooding. Oil mobilisation was obtained by injecting a surfactant slug at either under-optimum (o/w IFT of 10-2 mN/m) or optimum (o/w IFT of 10-3 mN/m) salinity conditions. At both salinities the injected surfactant slug yielded the formation of an unstable oil bank due to dominant gravitational forces. Optimum salinity surfactant slug was notably more effective at reducing residual oil to waterflood (81% reduction) compared to the under-optimum salinity slug (30% reduction). After oil mobilisation, drive foam was either generated in-situ by co-injection with nitrogen gas or was pre-generated ex-situ and then injected to displace mobilised oil. It was found that, at optimum salinity, FASF yielded an ultimate recovery factor of 40±5% of the oil in place (
This paper addresses the challenges in modeling highly unstable waterflooding, using both a conventional Darcy-type simulator and an adaptive dynamic prenetwork model, by comparing the simulated results with experimental data including saturation maps. This paper presents key challenges in surface-facilities-project implementation during the construction and operational-readiness phase of a project and presents results from full-field implementation. We report a novel type of viscosity modifier relying on the supramolecular assemblies that have pH-adjustable viscosities and robust tolerance against high temperatures and salinities, and are resistant to shear-induced degradation.
Mogollón, J. L. (Halliburton) | Yomdo, S. (OIL India Limited) | Salazar, A. (Halliburton) | Dutta, R. (OIL India Limited) | Bobula, D. (Halliburton) | Dhodapkar, P. K. (OIL India Limited) | Lokandwala, T. (Halliburton) | Chandrasekar, V. (CMG)
The perception of better economics and less risk from infill drilling and recompletions are reasons well-focused remedies are preferred compared to reservoir-focused solutions, such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). However, most literature does not discuss the economic and risk indicators driving this.
Using a real example, this work demonstrates that combining polymer flooding with infill drilling and recompletion substantially increases economic benefits with reasonable risk.
The reservoir considered is an Oligocene sandstone at a depth of 2700 m. The °API is 29.5 and permeability ranges from 50 to 500 mD. Current reservoir pressure is 43% of the original and it is below bubble point. A black oil model with a 133 × 56 × 128 grid was used. The model incorporated more than 50 years of matched primary and waterflooding production history and experimental polymer physico-chemical parameters. For the stochastic economic risks estimation, 1,000 iterations were run for each scenario considering uncertainties in injection-production, capital expenditures (CAPEX), operational expenditures (OPEX), and oil prices.
For a 20-year horizon, the injection-production-pressure profiles were numerically forecasted; economic results were calculated using a classic model and inputs from the forecast. The economic risk was determined stochastically. The redevelopment scenarios considered were as follows: Base: current waterflooding Existing wells interventions: workover, opening shut-in wells, and new perforations Infill drilling: vertical/horizontal infill drilling wells + existing wells operations Polymer flooding: using existing wells Combined Infill and polymer: vertical infill drilling wells and polymer flooding
Base: current waterflooding
Existing wells interventions: workover, opening shut-in wells, and new perforations
Infill drilling: vertical/horizontal infill drilling wells + existing wells operations
Polymer flooding: using existing wells
Combined Infill and polymer: vertical infill drilling wells and polymer flooding
P50 forecasts showed that interventions in existing wells in the base scenario increased oil production by 11% and net present value (NPV) by 71% with a risk index of 0.38.
A numerical optimizer was used to account for possible combinations of 14 potential drilling locations and vertical to horizontal well ratios. A scenario with three vertical wells was selected. Compared to the base case, this scenario showed an oil production increase of 23%, NPV increase of 178%, and a risk index of 0.41.
The injection rate of the polymer flood was optimized, resulting in a 17% increase in oil production and 95% increase in the NPV, with a risk index of 0.40. This justifies performing a polymer flood.
The most promising scenario is the combined infill drilling and polymer injection, which significantly improved the economic indicators—30% increase in oil production, 230% improvement of the NPV over the base scenario, with a risk index of only 0.41.
The results of this study demonstrate that the combination of EOR with different operational strategies results in significant benefits compared to the individual scenarios. Analysis of just oil production independent of economics and risk can be misleading. Infill drilling or flooding should no longer be the question. Instead, the question should be how they can be properly combined at various stages of asset life.
Nagar, Ankesh (Cairn Oil & Gas – Vedanta Limited) | Dangwal, Gaurav (Cairn Oil & Gas – Vedanta Limited) | Maniar, Chintan (Cairn Oil & Gas – Vedanta Limited) | Bhad, Nitin (Cairn Oil & Gas – Vedanta Limited) | Goyal, Ishank (Cairn Oil & Gas – Vedanta Limited) | Pandey, Nimish (Cairn Oil & Gas – Vedanta Limited) | Parashar, Arunabh (Cairn Oil & Gas – Vedanta Limited) | Tiwari, Shobhit (Cairn Oil & Gas – Vedanta Limited)
The Mangala, Aishwaya & Bhagyam (MBA) fields are the largest discovered group of oil fields in Barmer Basin, Rajasthan, India. The fields contain medium gravity viscous crude (10-40cp) in high permeability (1-5 Darcy) sands. The fields have undergone pattern as well as peripheral water injection. In order to overcome adverse mobility ratio and improve sweep efficiency thereby increasing oil recovery, chemical EOR has been evaluated for implementation in these fields. The potential benefits from chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) had been recognized from early in the field development. Polymer flooding was identified for early implementation, which would be followed by stage wise implementation of Alkaline-Surfactant-Polymer (ASP) injection in fields like Mangala. Since the commencement of polymer injection, the Mangala field polymer injectors have displayed multiple injectivity issues. In addition, the Aishwarya and Bhagyam fields are dealing with low Void Replacement Ratios (VRR) for their ongoing water injection, which if not rectified could adversely affect recovery. While various types of injector stimulations are being used, injectivity increases are short lived. A new technique termed as ‘Sand Scouring’ has been successfully applied resuting in sustainable injectivity gains.
The technique involves pumping creating a small fracture with a pad injected above fracturing pressure and then scouring the fracture face with low concentration 20/40 sand slugs in range of 0.5 to 1 PPA 20/40. The treatments are pumped at the highest achievable rates with the available pumping equipment within the completion pressure limitations. Based upon the available tankage, the scheduled is designed such that pumping of a fixed volume of sand stage, a quick shut-down allows for mixing the next stage of slurry. The pumping schedule and a ‘scouring’ intent is deliberately designed to avoid requirement of fracturing equipment, related cleanout equipment and resulting costs. The challenge of conformance is addressed by designing the pumping schedule to incorporate stages of particulate diverters and validated using pre and post injection logging surveys. .
Sand scouring jobs in 16 wells have been conducted across Mangala, Bhagyam & Aishwarya injectors. Out of thesewells, 9 wells had zero injectivity while the other 7 required both injectivity and conformance improvement. Most of the treated wells resulted in multifold improvement of injectivity as compared to their prior injection parameters. Sand scouring resulted in sustained injection performance when compared with prior conventional methods of stimulation. Injectivity improvements from sand scouring lasted for an average of 3 months days as compared to 14 days for the conventional stimulations. Sand scouring evolution, design, results and plans for future improvement are all discussed in this paper.
Fatehgarh reservoirs in Aishwariya field, located in Barmer Basin of Rajasthan India, have very high CO2 content in reservoir fluid. A procedure was developed earlier to model the impact of reservoir CO2 on waterflood, polymer flood and ASP flood (
The objective of this work was to validate the modelling procedure developed to predict the produced gas rate in such a system with very high amount of CO2 in reservoir fluid.
A live oil coreflood experiment was carried out using 12 inches long Bentheimer core under Aishwariya reservoir pressure and temperature conditions. After saturating the core with live oil, the core was water flooded with brine for ~3.7 pore volumes. Produced gas volume was measured at different times so as to generate gas production profile.
Two different simulation techniques were used to simulate the experiment and match the gas production profile. First technique was using a compositional simulator with EOS based PVT while the other technique was using an "advanced processes simulator" modeling the component distributions based on partitioning coefficients. Both methods could successfully capture the production of gas from both liquid streams; oil and water and a reasonable match for the produced gas could be obtained.
The approach developed to simulate impact of CO2 on different aqueous based flooding processes in Aishwariya field was validated by matching the coreflood experiment carried out under actual Aishwariya reservoir conditions. It helped to confirm confidence in performance prediction of aqueous based flooding mechanisms planned in Aishwariya field despite the presence of significant amount of CO2.
The paper presents history match of unconventional produced gas profile of a coreflood carried out under Aishwariya field conditions with very high amount of dissolved CO2. The proposed method can be applied to estimate produced gas rate in other fields with very high amount of CO2 in reservoir fluid.
It has been demonstrated in both laboratory measurements and field applications that tertiary polymer flooding can enhance oil recovery from heterogeneous reservoirs, primarily through macroscopic sweep (conformance). This study quantifies the effect of layering on tertiary polymer flooding as a function of layer-permeability contrast, the timing of polymer flooding, the oil/water-viscosity ratio, and the oil/polymer-viscosity ratio. This is achieved by analyzing the results from fine-grid numerical simulations of waterflooding and tertiary polymer flooding in simple layered models.
We find that there is a permeability contrast between the layers of the reservoir at which maximum incremental oil recovery is obtained, and this permeability contrast depends on the oil/water-viscosity ratio, polymer/water-viscosity ratio, and onset time for the polymer flood. Building on an earlier formulation that describes whether a displacement is understable or overstable, we present a linear correlation to estimate this permeability contrast. The accuracy of the newly proposed formulation is demonstrated by reproducing and predicting the permeability contrast from existing flow simulations and further flow simulations that have not been used to formulate the correlation.
This correlation will enable reservoir engineers to estimate the combination of permeability contrast, water/oil-viscosity ratio, and polymer/water-viscosity ratio that will give the maximum incremental oil recovery from tertiary polymer flooding in layered reservoirs regardless of the timing of the start of polymer flooding. This could be a useful screening tool to use before starting a full-scale simulation study of polymer flooding in each reservoir.