XU, Ke (The University of Texas at Austin) | Zhu, Peixi (The University of Texas at Austin) | Tatiana, Colon (Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico) | Huh, Chun (The University of Texas at Austin) | Balhoff, Matthew (The University of Texas at Austin)
Injecting oil-in-water (O/W) emulsions stabilized with nanoparticles or surfactants is a promising option for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in harsh-condition reservoirs. Stability and rheology of flowing emulsion in porous media are key factors for the effectiveness of the EOR method. The objective of this study is to use microfluidics to (1) quantitatively evaluate the synergistic effect of surfactants and nanoparticles on emulsion's dynamic stability and how nanoparticles affects the emulsion properties, and (2) investigate how emulsion properties affect the sweep performance in emulsion flooding.
A microfluidic device with well-defined channel geometry of a high-permeability pathway and multiple parallel low-permeability pathways was created to represent a fracture – matrix dual-permeability system. Measurement of droplets’ coalescence frequency during flow is used to quantify the dynamic stability of emulsions. A nanoparticle aqueous suspension (2 wt%) shows excellent ability to stabilize macro-emulsion when mixed with trace amount of surfactant (0.05 wt%), revealing a synergic effect between nanoparticles and surfactant.
For a stable emulsion, it was observed that flowing emulsion droplets compress each other and then block the high-permeability pathway at a throat structure, which forces the wetting phase into low-permeability pathways. Droplet size shows little correlation with this blocking effect. Water content was observed much higher in the low-permeability pathways than in the high-permeability pathway, indicating different emulsion texture and viscosity in channels of different sizes. Consequently, the assumption of bulk emulsion viscosity in the porous medium is not applicable in the description and modeling of emulsion flooding process.
Flow of emulsions stabilized by the nanoparticle-surfactant synergy shows droplet packing mode different from those stabilized by surfactant only at high local oil saturation region, which is attributed to the interaction among nanoparticles in the thin liquid film between neighboring oil-water interfaces. This effect is believed to be an important contributing mechanism for sweep efficiency attainable from nanoparticle-stabilized emulsion EOR process.
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.
This paper presents an overview of the SACROC Unit's activity focusing on different CO2 injection and WAG projects that have made the SACROC Unit one of the most successful CO2 injection projects in the world. The main objective of this work was to review CO2 injection and injection rate losses due to the CO2 /WAG miscible displacement process in the SACROC Unit and recommend an injection strategy for WAG-sensitive patterns.
Two types of pattern CO2 /WAG injection rate performance were observed, 1) WAG-sensitive and 2) WAG insensitive. WAG-sensitive patterns displayed loss of CO2 injectivity, exceeding 80% in some patterns, during water-alternating-gas (WAG) injection, and an apparent reduction in water injectivity during the follow-up brine injection. This injectivity loss was observed in over 150 injection patterns. Over time, CO2 injectivity tended to return to prior-to-WAG values. WAG-insensitive patterns suffer from these injectivity losses and were characterized by differences in 1) injectivity profiles, 2) Dykstra-Parsons coefficients, and 3) injectivity indexes.
In the majority of WAG-sensitive patterns, injectivity profiles redistributed after CO2 injection, while WAG-insensitive patterns did not show a significant change in their injectivity profiles over time. In a limited data set, the mean Dykstra-Parsons coefficient calculated for WAG-sensitive patterns was 0.83, while for WAG-insensitive patterns the mean Dykstra-Parsons coefficient was 0.76. However it was observed that in the lower Dykstra-Parsons patterns (WAG-insensitive patterns) much larger injectivity indexes were also observed; 19.5 bbl/day/psi, compared to 8.5 bbl/day/psi for higher Dykstra-Parsons patterns. This suggests that the WAG-insensitive patterns were dominated by fracture flow rather than matrix flow. These observations indicate that the WAG injection process in these heterogeneous SACROC wells is successful in diverting the injected fluids from zones with higher permeability to zones with lower permeability.
For wells with injectivity values of less than 10 bbl/day/psi it is recommended to begin CO2 /WAG injection with a long CO2 cycle since they are likely to show sensitivity to WAG.
A simulated 5-spot pattern was used to study the injection schedule for WAG-sensitive patterns. Longer CO2 cycles and shorter water cycles improved the injectivity and pattern production. Most importantly, it was observed that increasing producing BHP to MMP resulted in significantly lower GOR.
Given limited CO2 supply, operational constraints, and pattern specific reservoir performance, WAG schedule can be customized such that NPV or other metrics are optimized. Depending on the WAG schedule, recovery can fluctuate between 5–15% at the pattern scale due to reservoir heterogeneity causing variations in sweep efficiency. An analytical method was developed to optimize WAG schedules that couples traditional reservoir modeling and simulation with machine learning, enabling the discovery of optimal WAG schedules that increase recovery at the pattern level. A history-matched reservoir model of Chaparral Energy's Farnsworth Field, Ochiltree County, TX was sampled intelligently to perform predictive reservoir flow simulations and artificially build an intelligent reservoir model that samples a broad range of possible WAG scenarios for optimization. The intelligent model generates the next "best" sample to investigate in the numerical simulator and converges on the optima, quickly reducing the number of runs investigated. Results in this paper demonstrate that there can be significant improvements in net present value as well as net utilization rates of CO2 using this analytical technique. The WAG design generated by the intelligent reservoir model should be deployed in the field in early 2016 for validation. It is intended that the intelligent reservoir model will be updated on a regular basis as injection and production data is obtained. This effort represents the beginning of a paradigm shift in the application of modeling and simulation tools for significant improvements in field production operations.
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 describes the analysis and positive results of injecting water, from constant to discontinuous rates in a reservoir under a high water cut stage. By following and improving waterflooding surveillance applications it was possible not only to describe the kind of reservoir, but also to keep the water cut up for a longer time. The goal of this study is to demonstrate the powerful benefits of applying and improving the surveillance plots that are available in the existing literature. The pore volumes injected plot, which was enhanced in this study by adding the injection rates per well in a secondary Y axis, was a powerful tool to identify the water cut behavior.
One of the two injector wells of the field was shut in for about 5 months and returned to its water injection conditions for 7 months. These events are presented in three phases. The first is related to the reservoir characterization achieved before the injector shut in. The second includes the well responses observed and monitored during the injector shut in. And, the third illustrates the promising reservoir results after the injector shut in. As well, an economic model is also developed.
As a result of the field events, analysis, and results described in this paper, the reservoir water cut was stable for a longer time in comparison with the whole life of the IOR project. In addition the increase Estimate Ultimate Recovery was 304,968 bbl for 8 years, the net present value of the field increased to 24%, and the average operating cost was reduced to 2.49 USD/bbl from 2015 to 2022.
The cyclic waterflooding existing literature supports reservoir characterization, analysis and results achieved in Tiguino Field. The initial application monitored in Ecuador will be helpful to be considered as a first approach for starting an IOR optimization in similar stratified reservoirs. The results obtained in Tiguino field are helpful not only as a real example but also as a statistical support for cyclic waterflooding. The Tiguino case experience would be extrapolated to other fields worldwide.
We study Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) through Low Salinity (LS) waterflooding in a brown oil field. LS waterflooding is an emerging EOR technique in which water with reduced salinity is injected into a reservoir to improve oil recovery, as compared with conventional waterflooding, in which High Salinity (HS) brine or seawater are commonly used. The efficiency of this technique can be quantified at the well-scale by a Single Well Chemical Tracer Test (SWCTT), which is an in-situ method for measuring the Remaining Oil Saturation (ROS) after flooding the near-wellbore region with a displacing agent. Two SWCTTs were executed on a sandstone North African field. The tests were realized in sequence with seawater and LS water to evaluate the EOR potential at the well-scale.
Here, we propose the interpretation of these two SWCTTs. They were modeled through numerical simulations because of the presence of several non-idealities in the complex scenario considered. A recently-developed tracer simulator was employed to solve the reactive transport problem. This was used as a fast post-processing tool coupled with a conventional reservoir simulator. Model parameters were estimated within an inverse modeling framework, on the basis of an assisted history matching procedure that exploits the Metropolis Hastings Algorithm (MHA). Results were scaled up on a sector model of the field, and forecast scenarios that consider a field-scale implementation of this technique were defined.
The well-scale displacement efficiency gain associated with LS water, as compared with seawater, was evaluated. It was quantified as a ROS reduction of 8 saturation unit (s.u.), with a P10–P90 range of 3–15 s.u. Reservoir-scale simulations suggest that the associated ultimate oil recovery of the EOR pilot may be increased by 2% with LS water, with a P10–P90 range of 0.7–4.3%.
Overall, the LS EOR potential for a selected field was quantified through a robust and original workflow, based on SWCTT interpretation. This state-of-the-art procedure is now available for further applications. The simulated oil recovery improvement with LS water is promising, and leads the way to the implementation of an inter-well field trial.
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.
This paper presents the integrated approach for the redevelopment of the waterflood in Howard-Glasscock field located primarily in Howard County, Texas. Originally discovered in 1925, the majority of production is now commingled across the Guadalupe, Glorieta and Clearfork formations. This is a mature field which is currently in the midst of a 5 and 10 acre infill drilling program that began in 2009. Emphasis has primarily been focused on drilling producing wells, but the basis for this project was to optimize an existing waterflood to guide the development strategy of the field moving forward.
A study of the production of the wells drilled since 2009 identified stronger performance in wells with offset waterflood support. On average, waterflood was responsible for a 22% improvement in the expected recovery per well, despite a lack of patterns or a comprehensive waterflood management plan. As a result, a multi-disciplined team was commissioned to design a strategy for the redevelopment of the flood and more active management of the daily operations. Geology and reservoir engineering aspects were used to characterize the reservoir in conjunction with classical waterflood methods to understand the current performance and validate the expectations for secondary recovery.
Fracture orientation was studied based on cases of early breakthrough and was utilized in pattern identification and well placement to maximize sweep and discourage direct communication between injectors and producers. Further, the success of the waterflood in Howard-Glasscock relies on the ability to control the flow of water over a 2,000 foot vertical interval. To address this, the team has implemented a surveillance plan with improved monitoring and communication with the operations team to enhance the collection of data and in order to react to the dynamics of a waterflood. The rapid response to injection observed in this field requires proper surveillance and timely control of water flow which ultimately drives the success of the program by moving water from high water cut intervals to bypassed oil zones.
This paper details the systematic approach that was used to design the redevelopment plan for a waterflood in a 90 year old field. The scope of work is being implemented and represents an adjustment in the development plan of Howard-Glasscock moving forward. Ultimately, the enhanced performance observed in recent drilling programs and the continued success of development in this mature field hinges on understanding and managing the waterflood moving forward.
With the synergy of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, commercial production of Unconventional Liquid Reservoirs (ULR) has been successfully demonstrated. Due to the low recovery factor of these reservoirs, it is inevitable that Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) will ensue. Experimental results have shown promising oil recovery potential using CO2. This study investigates oil production mechanisms from the matrix into the fracture by simulating two laboratory experiments as well as several field-scale studies, and evaluates the potential of using CO2 huff-n-puff process to enhance the oil recovery in ULR with nano-Darcy range matrix permeability in complex natural fracture networks.
This study fully explores mechanisms contributing to the oil recovery with numerical modeling of experimental work, and provides a systematic investigation of the effects of various parameters on oil recovery. The core scale modeling utilizes two methods of determining properties that are used to construct 3D heterogeneous models. The findings are then upscaled to the field scale where both simple and complex fractures in a single stage are modeled. The effects of reservoir properties and operational parameters on oil recovery are then investigated. In addition, this study is the first to present simulation results of CO2 huff-n-puff using complex fracture networks which are generated from microseismic-constraint stochastic models.
Diffusion is proven to be the dominant oil recovery mechanism at the laboratory scale. However, the field-scale reservoir simulation indicates diffusion is negligible compared to the well-known mechanisms accompanying multi-contact miscibility. This includes swelling, viscosity reduction, and gas expansion in the matrix. Overall, the CO2 huff-n-puff process was found to be beneficial in both models in terms of enhancing the ultimate oil recovery in ULR.