One of the North Kuwait Carbonate fields which starts its production in 1957 has very low recovery factor after 60 years of production although the field was under water flooding since 1997. A workflow was developed to first understand the reason behind the low recovery and second to propose the best way to improve it.
The workflow starts with first building a material balance model to understand the main reservoir driving mechanisms. Second, a fine-scale history matched simulation model was used to understand the main reasons of the current low recovery. A Produce High and Inject Low (PHIL) concept was proposed with locating all the injectors at the deepest zone and the producers at the shallow zones. Finally, the proposed PHIL concept with inverted 5-spot horizontal wells was examined compared to the inverted 9-spot vertical wells and to the peripheral PHIL concept using the simulation model to examine the best approach to maximize the recovery.
Different outcomes from the above-mentioned workflow can be summarized as follows; first, it was found that the main driving mechanism is water injection which represents 70% of the reservoir recovery factor. Hence the importance of creating an artificial aquifer along the whole area of the field to provide the required pressure support which calls for the implementation of the PHIL concept with inverted 5-spot pattern background as the best development concept for the field. Second, the thorough data review used on building the fine-scale model shows that the current recovery is dominated by single zone which represents only 15 % of the in-place and on top of this, it was found that all the developed wells are located only on 30% of the field leaving 70% of the field undeveloped. These are the main reasons behind the low recovery. Finally, the developed PHIL concept with inverted 5-spot background shows that the recovery can be increased by five times with less number of new wells and less water injection volume required compared to the 9-spot vertical wells and the peripheral PHIL concepts. This five-folds increase in recovery encourages the asset to do a pilot to implement the proposed development strategy.
Unlike the commonly used inverted 5-spot vertical wells, this work proposes a novel approach of inverted 5-spot horizontal wells with directing the horizontal injectors at the deepest zones and the horizontal producers at the shallow zones. Hence creating an artificial bottom aquifer with minimizing the water production and maximizing the water injection distribution along the whole area of the reservoir.
Arshad, Muhammad Waseem (Technical University of Denmark DTU, DTU Chemical Engineering, Center for Energy Resources Engineering, Søltofts Plads 229, DK-2800 Kongens Lyngby) | Loldrup Fosbøl, Philip (Technical University of Denmark DTU, DTU Chemical Engineering, Center for Energy Resources Engineering, Søltofts Plads 229, DK-2800 Kongens Lyngby) | Shapiro, Alexander (Technical University of Denmark DTU, DTU Chemical Engineering, Center for Energy Resources Engineering, Søltofts Plads 229, DK-2800 Kongens Lyngby) | Thomsen, Kaj (Technical University of Denmark DTU, DTU Chemical Engineering, Center for Energy Resources Engineering, Søltofts Plads 229, DK-2800 Kongens Lyngby)
Smart water flooding is an advanced method for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in which the composition of injected brine is altered by varying the concentration of selected ions that can increase the oil recovery from various carbonate reservoirs. Besides wettability alteration mechanism, the formation of water-soluble oil emulsions has been reported as a possible reason to explain the observed increase in oil recovery using smart water. The formation of water-soluble oil emulsions takes place on the interaction of insoluble salts (fines) with oils. However, the interaction of these fines with the crude oil is not very well studied for carbonate reservoirs. This work presents emulsion formation in water-oil systems in the presence of water-insoluble fines. The effect of amount of fines on emulsion formation is also examined.
Synthetic seawater (SSW) and deionized water (DIW) were used as water phase, two model oils (decane (D) and 1:1 vol. ratio of hexane-hexadecane (HH) mixture) and North Sea crude oil (NSCO) were used as oil phase, and fines of CaCO3 (≤ 30 µm) and CaSO4 (≈ 44 µm) were used as solid phase. Branson Sonifier® SFX250 was used for emulsion formation (based on the principle of ultrasonic processing). All the experiments were performed for the same conditions of 5 minutes of ultrasonic processing at an output power of 30 W by using 6.5 mm tapered microtip (sonication probe). Emulsion characterization was done by using an optical microscope (Axio Scaope.A1).
Several combinations of water-oil-fines were tested. The tests consisted of control experiments (in which only water-oil without any fines were tested) and water-oil-fines experiments. In the control experiments (without fines), SSW did not show any tendency to emulsify neither with the model oils nor with NSCO. However, DIW showed clear tendency to emulsify with model oils and NSCO. Amongst model oils, DIW emulsified with HH better compared to decane. Similar results were observed in the water-oil-fines experiments. SSW did not form any emulsion with the model oils in the presence of fines of CaCO3 and CaSO4. However, significant amounts of emulsion formation were observed when DIW was sonicated with model oils and fines. HH formed more emulsions compared to decane. For NSCO case, both SSW and DIW formed a significant amount of emulsions with both types of fines (CaCO3 and CaSO4). An increase in amount of fines showed an increase in emulsion formation and a better emulsion stabilization. Sonication is a quick and reliable technique to screen out emulsion formation in different combinations of water-oil-fines.
This work will further develop our understanding of emulsion formation in the water-oil-fines systems.