Luo, Haishan (The University of Texas at Austin) | Mohanty, Kishore K. (The University of Texas at Austin) | Delshad, Mojdeh (The University of Texas at Austin) | Pope, Gary A. (The University of Texas at Austin)
Upscaling of unstable immiscible flow remains an unsolved challenge for the oil industry. The absence of a reliable upscaling approach greatly hinders the effective reservoir simulation and optimization of heavy oil recoveries using waterflood, polymer flood and other chemical floods, which are inherently unstable processes. The difficulty in upscaling unstable flow lies in estimating the propagation of fingers smaller than the gridblock size. Using classical relative permeabilities obtained from stable flow analysis can lead to incorrect oil recovery and pressure drop in reservoir simulations.
In a recent study based on abundant experimental data, it is found that the heavy-oil recovery by waterfloods and polymer floods has a power-law correlation with a dimensionless number (named viscous finger number in this paper), which is a combination of viscosity ratio, capillary number, permeability, and the cross-section area of the core. Based upon this important finding as well as the features of unstable immiscible floods, an effective-finger model is developed in this paper. A porous medium domain is dynamically identified as three effective zones, which are two-phase flow zone, oil single-phase flow zone, and bypassed oil (isolated oil island) zone, respectively. Flow functions are derived according to effective flows in these zones. This new model is capable of history-matching a set of heavy-oil waterflood corefloods under different viscosity ratios and injection rates. Model parameters obtained from the history match also have a power-law correlation with the viscous finger number.
The build-up of this correlation contains reasonable physical meanings to quantitatively characterize the upscaled behavior of viscous fingering effects. Having such a correlation enables the estimation of model parameters in any gridblock of the reservoir by knowing the local viscous finger number in reservoir simulations. The model is applied to several heavy-oil field cases with waterfloods and polymer floods with different heterogeneities. Oil recovery in water flooding of viscous oils is overpredicted by classical simulation methods which do not incorporate viscous fingering properly. Simulation results indicate that the new model reasonably differentiates the oil recoveries at different viscous finger numbers, e.g., lower injection rate leads to higher oil recovery. In contrast, classical simulations obtain close oil recoveries under different injection rates or degrees of polymer shear-thinning, which is apparently incorrect for unstable floods. Moreover, coarse-grid simulations using the new model are able to obtain consistent saturation and pressure maps with fine-grid simulations when the correlation lengths are not smaller than the coarse gridblock size. Furthermore, it is well captured by the model that the shear-shinning polymer solution can strengthen the fingering in high-permeability regions due to increased capillary number and viscosity ratio, which is not observed in waterflood. As a whole, the new model shows encouraging capability to simulate unstable water and polymer floods in heavy oil reservoirs, and hence can facilitate the optimization of heavy-oil EOR projects.
Dwarakanath, Varadarajan (Chevron) | Dean, Robert M. (Chevron) | Slaughter, Will (Chevron) | Alexis, Dennis (Chevron) | Espinosa, David (Chevron) | Kim, Do Hoon (Chevron) | Lee, Vincent (Chevron) | Malik, Taimur (Chevron) | Winslow, Greg (Chevron) | Jackson, Adam C. (Chevron) | Thach, Sophany (Chevron)
Polymer flooding by liquid polymers is an attractive technology for rapid deployment in remote locations. Liquid polymers are typically oil external emulsions with included surfactant inversion packages to allow for rapid polymer hydration. During polymer injection, a small amount of oil is typically co-injected with the polymer. The accumulation of the emulsion oil near the wellbore during continuous polymer injection will reduce near wellbore permeability. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the long-term effect of liquid polymer use on polymer injectivity. We also present a method to remediate the near well damage induced by the emulsion oil using a remediation surfactant that selectively solubilizes and removes the near wellbore oil accumulation. We evaluated several liquid polymers using a combination of rheology measurement, filtration ratio testing and long-term injection coreflood experiments. The change in polymer injectivity was quantified in surrogate core after multiple pore volumes of liquid polymer injection. Promising polymers were further evaluated in both clean and oil-saturated cores. In addition, phase behavior experiments and corefloods were conducted to develop a surfactant solution to remediate the damage induced by oil accumulation. Permeability reduction due to long term liquid polymer injection was quantified in cores with varying permeabilities. The critical permeability where no damage was observed was identified for promising liquid polymers. A surfactant formulation tailored for one of the liquid polymers improved injectivity three- to five-fold and confirms our hypothesis of permeability reduction due to emulsion oil accumulation. Such information can be used to better select appropriate polymers for EOR in areas where powder polymer use may not be feasible.
Fortenberry, R. (Ultimate EOR Services) | Delshad, M. (Ultimate EOR Services) | Suniga, P. (Ultimate EOR Services) | Koyassan Veedu, F. (DeGolyer & MacNaughton) | Wang, P. (DeGolyer & MacNaughton) | Al-Kaaoud, H. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Singh, B. B. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Tiwari, S. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Baroon, B. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Pope, G. A. (University of Texas at Austin)
Our team has developed a new simulation model for an upcoming 5-spot Alkaline-Surfactant-Polymer (ASP) pilot in the Sabriyah Mauddud reservoir in Kuwait. We present new pilot simulation results based on new data from pilot wells and an updated geocelluar reservoir model. New cores and well logs were used to update the geocellular model, including initial fluid distributions, permeability and layer flow allocation.
From the updated geocellular model a smaller dynamic sector model was extracted to history match field performance of a waterflood pattern. From the dynamic model a yet smaller pilot model was extracted and refined to simulate the 5-spot ASP pilot.
We used this pilot model to evaluate injection composition, zonal completions, observation well locations, interwell tracer test design and predicted performance of ASP flooding. A sensitivity analysis for some important design variables and pilot performance benchmarks is also included. We used multiple interwell tracer test simulations to estimate reservoir sweep efficiency for both water and ASP fluids, and to help us understand how well operations will affect this unconfined ASP pilot. This work details some crucial aspects of pre-ASP pilot design and implementation.
The polymer pilot project performed in the 8 TH reservoir of the Matzen field showed encouraging incremental oil production. To further improve the understanding of recovery effects resulting from polymer injection, an extension of the pilot is planned by adding a second polymer injector.
Forecasting of the incremental oil production needs to take the uncertainty of the geological models and dynamic parameters into account. We propose a workflow which comprises a geological sensitivity and clustering step followed by a dynamic calibration step for decreasing the objective function to improve the reliability of a probabilistic forecast of the incremental oil recovery.
For the geological sensitivity, hundreds of geological realizations were generated taking the uncertainty in the correlation of the sand and shale layers, logs, cores and geological facies into account. The simulated tracer response was used as dissimilarity distance to classify the geological realizations. Clustering was then applied to select 70 representative realizations (centroids) from a total of 800 to use in the full-physics dynamic simulation.
In the dynamic simulation, an objective function comprising liquid rate and tracer concentration of the back-produced fluids was introduced.
To further improve the calibration, the P50 value of incremental oil production as derived from simulation was compared with the incremental oil production determined from Decline Curve Analysis from the wells surrounding the polymer injection well. The mismatch between the P50 and the Decline Curve Analysis was improved by adjusting polymer viscosity.
The calibrated models were then used to for a probabilistic forecast of incremental oil due to an additional polymer injector and to estimate the expected polymer concentration at the producing wells.
Ansari, Arsalan A. (The Petroleum Institute) | Haroun, Mohammed (The Petroleum Institute) | Rahman, Mohammed Motiur (The Petroleum Institute) | Chilingar, George V. (University of Southern California)
The increasing global demand for additional energy requirement forecasted upto 74% in 2030 has made Improved Oil recovery (IOR) at the forefront of oil and gas R&D for the past 4 decades as it helps in the improvement of the hydrocarbon sweep efficiency. In carbonate reservoirs, there is a challenge of having large fractions of unswept oil, mainly due to permeability damage, heterogeneous formation or unfavourable petrophysical properties. Conventional acidizing, though useful in increasing the effective permeability in the near well-bore region, has issues of limited depth of penetration, as acid is consumed and adsorbed early into the formation. However, the application of Electrokinetic Low-concentration acid IOR (EK LCA-IOR), where conventional low-concentration acidizing (LCA-IOR) is coupled with electrokinetic enhanced oil recovery (EK-EOR) [
This study demonstrates an integrated approach using Single Energy Computed-tomography (SECT) scan imaging and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to analyze the compatibility and effectiveness of EK LCA-IOR in carbonate reservoirs through an increase in depth of penetration. Core-flood experiments at Abu Dhabi reservoir conditions conducted on 1-foot core-plug, involved waterflooding followed by LCA-IOR, assisted by electrokinetics in both sequential and simultaneous fashion, identifying optimum conditions (1.2% HCl concentration, 1V/cm voltage gradient).The use of SECT images of core-plug before and after the experiments, confirmed wormhole orientation and propagation length across heterogeneous core-plugs. NMR was used to identify and confirm various reservoir rock types (RRTs)that were tested allowing us to expand the range of optimum current densities and acid concentration for the EK LCA-IOR process to meet the objectives of this study in maximizing displacement efficiency and permeability enhancement.
Findings confirm EK LCA-IOR application resulted in additional 15–35% displacement efficiency beyond the waterflooding limit (60%). In addition, the maximum permeability enhancement of 53% was recorded and made possible using the simultaneous approach. SECT imaging confirmed that the maximum penetration depth of the injected acid was achieved using the simultaneous approach as the enhancement of depth of penetration was 82% and 70% in simultaneous and sequential approach, respectively. Furthermore, NMR results indicate that EK LCA-IOR is promising across heterogeneous formations, which allows us to optimize the process for each unique formation, using the identified operating parameters increasing displacement efficiency by 35% and permeability enhancement by 28%.
EK LCA-IOR may be developed as an environomic technology targeting the reduction of power consumption and acid/water requirement upto 70% as compared to conventional IOR processes. This study takes advantage of integrating imaging capability of SECT & NMR in order to couple particle mobility and zeta potential to assess the performance of EK LCA-IOR compatibility in Abu Dhabi carbonate reservoirs.
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 (
This paper addresses two questions for polymer flooding. First, what polymer solution viscosity should be injected? A base-case reservoir-engineering method is present for making that decision, which focuses on waterflood mobility ratios and the permeability contrast in the reservoir. However, some current field applications use injected polymer viscosities that deviate substantially from this methodology. At one end of the range, Canadian projects inject only 30-cp polymer solutions to displace 1000-3000-cp oil. Logic given to support this choice include (1) the mobility ratio in an unfavorable displacement is not as bad as indicated by the endpoint mobility ratio, (2) economics limit use of higher polymer concentrations, (3) some improvement in mobility ratio is better than a straight waterflood, (4) a belief that the polymer will provide a substantial residual resistance factor (permeability reduction), and (5) injectivity limits the allowable viscosity of the injected fluid. At the other end of the range, a project in Daqing, China, injected 150-300-cp polymer solutions to displace 10-cp oil. The primary reason given for this choice was a belief that high molecular weight viscoelastic HPAM polymers can reduce the residual oil saturation below that expected for a waterflood or for less viscous polymer floods. This paper will examine the validity of each of these beliefs.
The second question is: when should polymer injection be stopped or reduced? For existing polymer floods, this question is particularly relevant in the current low oil-price environment. Should these projects be switched to water injection immediately? Should the polymer concentration be reduced or graded? Should the polymer concentration stay the same but reduce the injection rate? These questions are discussed.
Mishra, Ashok (Conoco Phillips) | Abbas, Sayeed (Conoco Phillips) | Braden, John (Conoco Phillips) | Hazen, Mike (Conoco Phillips) | Li, Gaoming (Conoco Phillips) | Peirce, John (Conoco Phillips) | Smith, David D. (Conoco Phillips) | Lantz, Michael (TIORCO, a Nalco Champion Company)
This paper is a field case review of the process and methodologies used to identify, characterize, design, and execute a solution for a waterflood conformance problem in the Kuparuk River Unit in late 2013. In addition, post treatment analysis in a complex WAG flood will be discussed. The Kuparuk River Field is a highly fractured and faulted, multi-layer sandstone reservoir located on the North Slope of Alaska. Large scale water injection in the field was initiated in 1981 and overall the field responded favorably to waterflood operations. In 1996, Kuparuk implemented a miscible WAG flood in many areas of the field. However, natural fault and fracture connectivity has resulted in some significant conformance issues between high angle wells in the periphery. Methodologies employed to identify and characterize one specific conformance issue will be outlined. Details of diagnostic efforts, and how they were used to identify, characterize and mitigate an injector/producer interaction through a void space conduit will be discussed. The solution selected to resolve this conformance issue involved pumping a large crosslinked hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM) gel system. The solution used a tapered concentration design with one of the highest molecular weight HPAM polymers available. Before execution of this solution, extensive history matching and modeling of the solution design and benefits were used to justify this effort. These modeling efforts and their projections will be reviewed. This solution was pumped into the offending injector in late 2013, and offset producers were carefully monitored for gel breakthrough. The polymer treatment design parameters, including rates and pressure limits were used to generate an effective solution. A discussion of this active design approach, a complete review of the well problem dynamics, treatment operations, products used, and potential complications associated with these products will be discussed. Post solution execution performance analysis was difficult due to the active nature of this MWAG flood. A variety of plotting and analysis techniques were used to identify and quantify the results. A discussion of these results will be provided. Finally, a summary of lessons learned, and a limited discussion of future plans will be presented.
This paper presents the basic reservoir characteristics and the key improved oil recovery/enhanced oil recovery (IOR/EOR) methods for sandstone reservoir fields that have achieved recovery factors toward 70%. The study is based on a global analog knowledge base and associated analytical tools. The knowledge base contains both static (STOIIP, primary and ultimate recovery factors, reservoir/fluid properties, well spacing, drive mechanism, and IOR/EOR methods etc.) and dynamic data (oil rate, water-cut, and GOR, etc.) for more than 730 sandstone oil reservoirs. These reservoirs were subdivided into two groups: heavy and conventional oil reservoirs. This study focuses on the reservoirs with recovery factors great than 50% for heavy oil, and recovery factors from 60% to 79% for conventional oil with a view to understand the key factors for such a high recovery efficiency. These key factors include reservoir and fluid properties, wettability, development strategies and the IOR/EOR methods.
The high ultimate recovery factors for heavy oil reservoirs are attributed to excellent reservoir properties, horizontal well application, high efficiency of cyclic steam stimulating (CSS) and steam flood, and very tight well spacing (P50 value of 4 acres, as close as 0.25 acres) development strategy. The 51 high recovery conventional clastic reservoirs are characterized by favorable reservoir and fluid properties, water-wet or mixed-wet wettability, high net to gross ratio, and strong natural aquifer drive mechanism. Infill drilling and water flood led to an incremental recovery of 20% to 50%. EOR technologies, such as CO2 miscible and polymer flood, led to an incremental recovery of 8% to 15%. Homogeneous sandstone reservoirs with a good lateral correlation can reach 79% final recovery through water flood and adoption of close well spacing.
The lessons learned and best practices from the global analog reservoir knowledge base can be used to identify opportunities for reserve growth of mature fields. With favorable reservoir conditions, it is feasible to move final recovery factor toward 70% through integrating good reservoir management practices with the appropriate IOR/EOR technology.
Sabiriyah Upper Burgan is a clastic reservoir in North Kuwait, under active development through water flooding and ongoing development drilling. The reservoir is one of the most heterogeneous reservoirs in NK, both geologically and with respect to pressure-production performance. There is wide variance in rock & fluid quality laterally and vertically, compounding the development challenges while water flooding.
The crestal portion of the dome-shaped reservoir exhibited a sharp drop in reservoir pressure. As a result of which, Sea Water injection was started at 3 vertical injectors. Surprisingly, the injectivity in 500-1000 md rock was found to be very poor. Well interventions were attempted to improve the injectivity, including a proppant frac. A series of Step rate tests were conducted to understand & evaluate the possibility of injecting above the parting pressure. The wellhead injection pressure requirement was estimated to be about 3700 psia to attain the desired level of injectivity. This was a turning point on the water flooding strategy for the reservoir, as a new project for water flooding was needed with the surface injection pressure capability.
During the preliminary water flood response, it was observed that there were compartments, even 250 ft. away from the injector. In addition, a major part of the mid-flank & lower-flank segments had questionable connectivity. Expansion of water flood was delayed in order to provide sufficient time for data acquisition, interpretation, and analysis, using the sub surface data of all wells penetrating the Upper Burgan. The strategy was to produce and further develop the reservoir with limited drilling of new wells in high pressure channels/segments and adopting Integrated Reservoir Management (IRM) approach. Now the expanded Injection facility is complete, and enhanced injection quantum have been initiated since March 2014. An active surveillance master plan & segment wise review of pressure-production data are under implementation to maximize the benefit of the water flood to this reservoir.
The reservoir response due to water flood has been realized to get 100% production increase with sustainable rates. The pressure sink locales are re-vitalized with indications of pressure increase. The Voidage Replacement Ratio has improved to 1:1 at identified segments (producer-injection combinations) as per channelized architecture. There is indeed a positive response despite a few premature water breakthrough instances in producers located very close to the injectors. The results have led to plan for water flow regulators in injectors so that zonal conformance control can be achieved to improve the areal & vertical sweep. The reservoir simulation model is being updated with all dynamic pressure-production as well as surveillance data so as to optimize the ultimate recovery.
The paper is focused to share the learning curve and the quick adoption of the implementation of actions adhering to the best practice reservoir management.