Polymer flooding has been applied to the development of an offshore oil field S18 located in Bohai Gulf, China, where the water and polymer injection wells are alternately distributed. Field tests have indicated that the oil production and economic profit are significantly affected by the interference between alternately injected water and polymer. Therefore, it is of great importance to quantify the water-polymer interference (WPI) and thus improve the oil production. In this paper, the polymer flooding performance for the offshore oil field S18 has been evaluated by using a newly proposed WPI factor. The developed model provides a new way to evaluate the polymer flooding performance for the offshore oil field. More specifically, onshore and offshore polymer injection processes are thoroughly compared in terms of field performance, reservoir properties, and polymer flooding parameters. Then, a conceptual model is developed to analyze and quantify the interference between the injected water and polymer. The WPI factor is firstly introduced and quantified by a water cut funnel prediction method. The WPI factor is found to increase with the water injection rate and decrease with the polymer concentration. Subsequently, the reservoir simulation model of S18 oil field is well developed including 50 injectors and 93 producers with well-matched field production data. The WPI factor is accordingly optimized by tuning the water injection rate and polymer concentration at different blocks of the S18 oil field with the assistance of orthogonal design method. Consequently, the overall WPI factor of the S18 oil field is decreased by 8.20% after the optimized polymer & water injection scheme is applied, resulting in an increased oil recovery by 0.24%.
The in-situ steam based technology is still the main exploitation method for bitumen and heavy oil resources all over the world. But most of the steam-based processes (e.g., cyclic steam stimulation, steam drive and steam assisted gravity drainage) in heavy oilfields have entered into anexhaustion stage. Considering the long-lasting steam-rock interaction, how to further enhance the heavy oil recovery in the post-steam injection era is currently challenging the EOR (enhanced oil recovery) techniques. In this paper, we present a comprehensive review of the EOR processes in the post steam injection era both in experimental and field cases. Specifically, the paper presents an overview on the recovery mechanisms and field performance of thermal EOR processes by reservoir lithology (sandstone and carbonate formations) and offshore versus onshore oilfields. Typical processes include thein-situ combustion process, the thermal/-solvent process, the thermal-NCG (non-condensable gas, e.g., N2, flue gas and air) process, and the thermal-chemical (e.g., polymer, surfactant, gel and foam) process. Some new in-situ upgrading processes are also involved in this work. Furthermore, this review also presents the current operations and future trends on some heavy oil EOR projects in Canada, Venezuela, USA and China.
This review showsthat the offshore heavy oilfields will be the future exploitation focus. Moreover, currently several steam-based projects and thermal-NCG projects have been operated in Emeraude Field in Congo and Bohai Bay in China. A growing trend is also found for the in-situ combustion technique and solvent assisted process both in offshore and onshore heavy oil fields, such as the EOR projects in North America, North Sea, Bohai Bay and Xinjiang. The multicomponent thermal fluids injection process in offshore and the thermal-CO2and thermal-chemical (surfactant, foam) processes in onshore heavy oil reservoirs are some of the opportunities identified for the next decade based on preliminary evaluations and proposed or ongoing pilot projects. Furthermore, the new processes of in-situ catalytic upgrading (e.g., addition of catalyst, steam-nanoparticles), electromagnetic heating and electro-thermal dynamic stripping (ETDSP) and some improvement processes on a wellbore configuration (FCD) have also gained more and more attention. In addition, there are some newly proposed recovery techniques that are still limitedto the laboratory scale with needs for further investigations. In such a time of low oil prices, cost optimization will be the top concerns of all the oil companies in the world. This critical review will help to identify the next challenges and opportunities in the EOR potential of bitumen and heavy oil production in the post steam injection era.
Smalley, P. C. (Imperial College London) | Muggeridge, A. H. (Imperial College London) | Dalland, M. (Norwegian Petroleum Directorate) | Helvig, O. S. (Norwegian Petroleum Directorate) | Høgnesen, E. J. (Norwegian Petroleum Directorate) | Hetland, M. (Norwegian Petroleum Directorate) | Østhus, A. (Norwegian Petroleum Directorate)
This paper presents an improved approach for rapid screening of candidate fields for EOR and estimation of the associated incremental oil recovery, and the results of applying it systematically to oil fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), an area that already has a high average recovery factor (47%). Identifying, piloting and implementing new improved recovery methods within a reasonable time is important if substantial remaining oil volumes on the NCS are not to be left behind.
The approach uses up-to-date screening criteria, and has more sophisticated routines for calculating screening scores and incremental oil recovery compared to previous published methods. The EOR processes screened for are: hydrocarbon miscible and immiscible WAG, CO2 miscible and immiscible WAG, alkaline, polymer, surfactant, surfactant/polymer, low salinity, low salinity/polymer, thermally activated polymers and conventional near well gel treatments. Overall screening scores are derived from sliding-scale scores for individual screening criteria, weighted for importance, and with the ability to define non-zero scores when non-critical criteria are outside their desired range, so avoiding the problem of processes being ruled out completely even though rock or fluid properties are only marginally outside the threshold of applicability. Incremental recoveries are estimated taking into account the existing recovery processes in the field and are capped by theoretical maximum recovery factors derived from theoretical/laboratory values for displacement and sweep. The methodology calculates the expected increment (and uncertainty range) for each EOR process and the increments for the top three compatible process combinations.
The methodology was implemented in a spreadsheet-based tool that allowed multiple fields to be screened and the results compared and evaluated. The new tool was used to estimate the potential EOR opportunity for 53 reservoirs from 27 oil fields on the NCS. The results indicate a mid case EOR technical potential of 592 million standard cubic metres (MSm3) with a low- to high case range of 320-860 MSm3. The most promising processes are low salinity with polymer, surfactant with polymer, and miscible hydrocarbon and CO2 gas injection. Some field clusters were identified that could provide economies of scale for such processes.
The EOR screening study has enabled the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate to advocate EOR-technology studies, including pilots, in specific regions or fields. Such pilots will play an important role in verifying process feasibility and narrowing the uncertainty range for incremental recovery potential.
Espinosa, David (Chevron) | Walker, Dustin (Chevron) | Alexis, Dennis (Chevron) | Dwarakanath, Varadarajan (Chevron) | Jackson, Adam (Chevron) | Kim, Do Hoon (Chevron) | Linnemeyer, Harold (Chevron) | Malik, Taimur (Chevron) | McKilligan, Derek (Chevron) | New, Peter (Chevron) | Poulsen, Anette (Chevron) | Winslow, Greg (Chevron)
Field deployment of Chemical EOR floods requires monitoring of wellhead injection fluids to ensure field performance is commensurate with laboratory design. Real-time surveillance allows for optimizing chemical use, detecting potential issues, and ensures correct chemical handling. In an offshore setting traditional surveillance methods can present unique challenges due to space constraints, field conditions, and location. We present a novel approach to field surveillance using a portable measurement unit (PMU) that can dynamically characterize polymer rheology, filterability and long-term core-injectivity.
We developed a PMU and placed it inside a suitcase sized box (42x26x20″) with appropriate devices to measure polymer rheology, filterability and long-term core injectivity. Polymer rheology was measured using a series of capillary tubes with pressure measurements. Filterability was measured through a 1.2 um filter at 15 psi with coarse filtration to remove large oil droplets and suspended solids. This was compared against filterability without filtration to observe water quality impact. Finally, long-term injectivity was measured using an epoxy-coated Bentheimer core with a pressure tap to quantify whether there was any face and/or core-plugging. By constructing this apparatus, wellhead injection fluids under anaerobic conditions can be monitored and analyzed to improve fluid quality assurance and contribute to a project's success even in challenging and remote locations.
The use of the PMU is critical for dynamic fluid surveillance. The injection solutions consistently met or exceeded target viscosity of 20 cP. Furthermore, the coarse-filtered solutions also met a filtration ratio (FR) requirements of less than 1.5 at 15 psi through 1.2 micron filters. The unfiltered solutions achieved a FR of 1.75, which was considered acceptable. Finally, no plugging was observed with coarse-filtered solutions after 25 PV across the whole core and > 75 PV across the core face. Further testing was completed with wellhead injectate samples at variable operating conditions to establish a baseline for chemical flooding operations and provided insight for future facilities design.
The information these experiments produced helped identify and diagnose facility and operational issues that would have caused negative consequences with the chemical injection had the configuration been used without the PMU surveillance. By testing the wellhead fluid, we determined that there was improper dosing of the chemical. This was determined by comparing the field fluid properties to expected results from the lab. The data also influenced facilities design and in turn improved the chemical and project efficiency. By testing the injectate at different operating conditions we could determine the operating envelope for the current injection facilities and base future work on the results. All of this was done in real time on an offshore platform, as opposed to sending samples onshore to test which yields unrepresentative results from the time delay and fluid quality changes during transport.
Poulsen, Anette (Chevron North Sea Limited) | Shook, G. Michael (Mike Shook & Associates, formerly Chevron ETC) | Jackson, Adam (Chevron North Sea Limited) | Ruby, Nicolas (Chevron North Sea Limited) | Charvin, Karl (Chevron North Sea Limited) | Dwarakanath, Varadarajan (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Thach, Sophany (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Ellis, Mark
An enhanced oil recovery (EOR) pilot was conducted by Chevron North Sea Limited ("Chevron") at the Captain Field in the UK North Sea between 2011 and 2013. Results from the polymer injection are presented along with an assessment of incremental oil recovery.
The polymer solution was selected and qualified using a combination of laboratory and yard tests to determine optimum specifications for injection. The selected polymer was initially tested in an injectivity test in 2010, followed by continuous polymer injection in 2011, after establishing a waterflood baseline. Continuous polymer injection was terminated in 2013 due to injectivity decline associated with polymer emulsion injection. An unambiguous response from the reservoir was observed with a significant uplift in oil production.
The three mechanisms of a successful polymer flood were observed and evaluated: (1) acceleration of oil production, (2) incremental oil production due to improved polymer sweep, and (3) water production and injection minimization. Our results demonstrate that waterflood recovery can be accelerated by polymer flooding. Secondly, incremental oil was produced due to increased volumetric sweep by changing the displacing phase fluid mobility with the viscosified polymer. Finally, the reduction in water production translates into reduced water handling and thereby lower operating costs.
Before and during the pilot chemical injection, production logging tools were run in the injector and producer to measure their respective outflow and inflow phase profiles along the horizontal completions. These logs confirmed that polymer promotes crossflow to make injection rates more uniform along the wellbore. We also drilled a post-polymer observation well in the swept zone between the pilot wells. Logs from this well established remaining oil saturations to polymer that we used to confirm our calculations for polymer flood volumetric sweep. The post-polymer flood oil saturations confirmed the performance of the polymer flood.
We show a full suite of surveillance data and its use in quantitative interpretation. We also show innovative uses of the surveillance data in our interpretation methods. The results prove the subsurface and operational success of polymer flooding a heavy oil reservoir with horizontal wells, even in a harsh offshore environment such as the UK North Sea.
Many offshore heavy oil reservoirs underlain by large aquifer are developed through cold production method: horizontal wells, with water coning/cresting being a major concern. Inflow Control Devices (ICDs) are often used to delay the water breakthrough by balancing the well inflow along the well section. However, ICDs have difficulties to mitigate the water coning/cresting after water breakthrough, leading to water bypass oil, premature well abandonment and low oil recovery. In this study, we propose the use of a dual completion technology, Bilateral Water Sink (BWS), assisted with ICDs to mitigate water coning/cresting in high water cut wells, therefore improving oil recovery for offshore heavy oil underlain by large aquifer.
To investigate the reservoir performance under this new production technique, a series of experiments were conducted in a scaled Hele-Shaw model, similar to a cross-section of horizontal wells. Identical flow behavior at each cross-section perpendicular to the well axis were assumed. The experiments resemble to the situation in which the ICDs have been successfully implemented to provide a uniform flow along the entire well section. The oil recovery, water cut and reservoir pressure were measured in each runs to quantify the effects of BWS wells on water coning/cresting mitigation and improving oil recovery.
The experimental results show that while ICDs mitigate the non-uniform production profile along the horizontal well section, BWS wells mitigate the water coning/cresting by dynamically modifying the pressure distribution in the reservoir. Experimental results also verify that the previously derived theoretical rates in BWS can efficiently suppress the water coning/cresting after water breakthrough. The quantitative and qualitative results demonstrate that BWS could reduce the water cut from over 95% in high water cut horizontal wells to less than 40 % and improve the heavy oil recovery about 4-6 times compared with that of conventional horizontal wells.
Those findings provide a new insight into offshore heavy oil production mechanism. Because of BWS's ability of converting an original bottom water drive system to a more effective edge water drive system, low water cut and high oil recovery can be achieved by utilizing the reservoir energy without using of heat.
Skrettingland, K. (Statoil ASA) | Ulland, E. N. (Statoil ASA) | Ravndal, O. (Statoil ASA) | Tangen, M. (Statoil ASA) | Kristoffersen, J. B. (Statoil ASA) | Stenerud, V. R. (Statoil ASA) | Dalen, V. (Statoil ASA) | Standnes, D. C. (Statoil ASA) | Fevang, Ø. (Statoil ASA) | Mevik, K. M. (Knutsen Subsea Solutions) | McIntosh, N. (Knutsen Subsea Solutions) | Mebratu, A. (Halliburton) | Melien, I. (Halliburton) | Stavland, A. (Intl Research Inst of Stavanger)
Declining oil production and increasing water cut in mature fields highlight the need for improved conformance control. Here we report on a successful in-depth water diversion treatment using sodium silicate to increase oil recovery at the Snorre field, offshore Norway, utilizing a new operational concept of using a stimulation vessel as a platform for the large-scale injection into a subsea well. A custom modified 35,000 DWT shuttle tanker was employed for the field pilot. This paper describes the vessel preparations and the large-scale interwell silicate injection operation. The operational aspects of the large-scale interwell silicate injection include; identification of injection vessel requirements, major vessel modifications, chemical logistic, general logistics to site, major equipment set-up on vessel, subsea connection, mixing and pumping schedules, onsite QC, and real time monitoring. Experience from these operations and lessons learned are included in this paper.
After the injection of approximately 400,000 Sm3 (113,000 Sm3 preflush, followed by 240,000 Sm3 of sodium silicate gelant and 49,000 Sm3 of postflush fluid) at injection rates up to 4,000 Sm3/d, the injection from the vessel was stopped and the well was put on regular seawater injection. Following more than two years of regular production, transient pressure measurements, tracer testing and water cut data are presented from the ongoing comprehensive data acquisition program. These results demonstrate clearly the achieved in-depth flow diversion through a delayed breakthrough of injected tracers and lower water cut in the relevant production well.
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is a general application used in mature oil fields to generate additional reserve growth. Several types of EOR applications are implemented in the oil industry. One such application is the injection of gas into a reservoir as a gas displacement recovery (GDR) mechanism to induce additional reserve growth. A specific type of GDR application is the immiscible water-alternating-gas (IWAG) displacement process. In this application a slug of water is put into an injection well, followed by gas, which exists as a separate phase from the water and oil. Water and gas injection slugs are alternated until the designed amount of gas has been injected, or as field production dictates. Continuous water (case water) is typically injected after the IWAG process.
Herein, the state-of-art of IWAG EOR is described from an extensive literature review. First, the theories of the recovery mechanisms that cause IWAG to produce incremental oil are described. These mechanisms include viscosity reduction, 3-phase relative permeability, oil swelling, and oil film flow, all of which are a function of fluid and rock-fluid interactions. Next, salient laboratory studies are summarized, including micromodel and core floods. These studies test pore-level characteristics, displaying ranges of residual non-wetting phase saturations (hydrocarbons) down to 0.13 to 0.25 and incremental oil recovery ranging from 14% to 20% of OOIP. Some experiments isolate a specific recovery mechanism in order to determine its validity and contribution to recovery. Studies generally point to the conclusion that the gas type shows no discernable difference in recovery character.
The paper concludes with a synopsis of results from small-scale field trials and field-scale projects in both heavy and light oil. Both simulation modeling and field trials are summarized. Projects have been implemented with varying types of gases, WAG ratios, and gas slug sizes, resulting in incremental reserve growth being reported in the range of 2 to 9%. The fundamental immiscible recovery mechanisms in IWAG can produce lower cost and faster response EOR projects, with moderate recovery efficiency gains.
Polymer transport and preparation can present a key challenge in chemical EOR project implementation.
Hydrolyzed polyacrylamide in emulsion form presents some advantages, including an easier transportation and a simplification of the injection process. The trade off is a lower active concentration (~30% - 50%), which increases the volumes to be transported, as well as the presence of oil and emulsifiers, which may have unintended effects in the reservoir.
In this article, we compare two industrial and commercially-available polymers, one in powder form from the gel process, and the other in an inverse emulsion, with similar viscosifying power.
Properties of both polymers are investigated through rheological and screen factor measurements, filterability tests on bulk solutions, shear thickening behavior and resistance to shear degradation in porous medium. The likely origin of the observed differences is discussed in light of the two polymerization methods (bulk vs. emulsion) that lead to differences in polydispersity. Mobility reduction and residual resistance factor measurements during propagation tests at low velocity give some insight on the propagation of the stabilized oil droplets coming from the injected emulsion. Finally, oil recovery efficiency is investigated through secondary polymer injections on sandpacks. No significant difference was observed between the polymers in term of oil recovery or pressure behavior.
These results are relevant to oil companies planning polymer or surfactant-polymer pilots and considering the tradeoffs between emulsion and powder polymers.