Fluorinated benzoic acids (FBA) have been widely used in the oil industry as conservative tracers. However, some of these tracers have been shown to rapidly degrade when tested at temperatures above 121°C within three weeks. Naphthalene sulfonates (NSAs) have been shown to be excellent tracers in geothermal applications. However, a broader study was required to determine tracer conservation in reservoir fluids and formations typically encountered in the oil field.
In this study we compare the oil field industry standard FBA tracers to NSA tracers under dynamic test conditions in the presence of reservoir oil, sandstone, carbonates and clays. We also compare the two sets of tracers under static conditions in the presence of four crude oils and different clay mineralogy to establish tracer conservation. Seven different sodium salts of naphthalene sulfonic acids were tested to determine if the tracers were adsorbed onto natural porous media (reservoir rock) at reservoir conditions. A broad range of conditions were selected to target typical reservoirs encountered. In addition, reservoir rock and a pseudo formation containing 10 Wt.% clay in silica sand were used in sand packs saturated with surrogate brine to ensure the tracer recovery under dynamic conditions.
High pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC-FLD) separation was used for simultaneous detection of seven NSAs while FBAs were analyzed using HPLC-UV. GC analysis of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) was used as a standard against which the others were measured.
Dynamic tracer tests demonstrated that the sodium salts of naphthalene sulfonates behaved similarly to the control, IPA, with none of the tracers adsorbing on to the rock surface or partitioning into the oil phase. The naphthalene sulfonates can be successfully used as conservative tracers most specifically for high temperature applications. NSA tracers are an attractive replacement for conservative FBA tracers in the oil field due to their superior thermal stability, solubility in oil field brine, lower detection limits and cost.
Pilots are widely used for the purpose of gathering valuable information about performance and practical challenges of implementing a particular CEOR process in a given field (
Addition of chemical species to the material balance equations alongside finer resolution requirements for CEOR simulations compared to waterfloods (WF), often make it impractical to run full field CEOR simulations to the required accuracy. Massively parallel computing, dynamic local grid refinement and sector modeling have been used with varying success, of which sector modeling is the most common. Sector models, by their very definition, are also naturally suited for modeling of pilots.
The art of sector modeling needs mastering a few important steps such as: appropriate selection of the sector model extent, details on carving it out of the Full Field Model (FFM), populating it with proper petrophysical and fluid properties, initializing it to correct initial conditions and optimizing its boundary conditions. On top of that, choice of optimum grid size for proper trade-off of simulation run times and accuracy needs to be considered.
This paper presents a case study for appropriate simulation of a CEOR pilot within Chevron. The candidate has a waterflood history matched FFM. This model is used to generate a sector model for the CEOR pilot area. This paper outlines how the extent of the sector model and all the regions in communication with the Area of Interest (AOI) is decided. It also discusses proper initialization and optimization of the boundary conditions of the sector model along with its appropriate refinement and grid optimization. Proper CEOR simulations on the final optimized sector model and sensitivity analysis are also presented. The challenges, lessons learned and best practices are shared and important considerations for adequate simulation of CEOR processes are outlined.
Disproportionate permeability reduction (DPR) may provide field solutions to address high volumes of water production and efficiency of oil recovery in non-communicating layered reservoirs. This work evaluates the lab-scale DPR effectiveness at different formation wettability conditions using an environmentally friendly, water-soluble, silicate gelant. A robust, time/temperature stable and easy-to-design water-soluble silicate gelant system is utilized to conduct DPR treatments in oil- and water-wet cores using a newly established steady-state, two-phase chemical system placement. The experimental procedure is applied to ensure the presence of moveable oil saturation at which the injected DPR fluid (gelant) gels in the treated zone and to quantitatively control the placement saturation conditions in the formation. DPR treatments are conducted using a steady-state, two-phase (oil/gelant) placement to better control the water/oil saturation at which the silicate gel sets. The performance of water-soluble, silicate-based DPR treatments are evaluated using pre- and post-treatment two-phase (brine/oil) steady-state and unsteady state permeability measurements.
Strongly water-wet Berea cores are chemically treated to alter their wettability to oil wet and measured phase effective permeability curves are used to characterize the newly established core wettability. Treatment design should include filterability/injectivity and rheological studies of the DPR fluid to evaluate gelant interaction with the formation as well as gelation time and kinetics. Single-phase DPR fluid injectivity through Berea cores is excellent. At relatively high watercuts in water-wet cores, two-phase DPR-fluid/oil injectivity is good and even better in oil-wet cores regardless the watrecut. At relatively low watercuts in water-wet cores, the injectivity is not as good as in higher watercuts and the mobility reduction keeps increasing with the co-injection of the DPR-fluid/oil.
DPR-fluid/oil placement experiments conducted at the same saturation conditions and water/oil ratio (WOR) showed that the ultimate oil residual resistance factor in oil-wet cores is significantly lower than the one in water-wet cores. This is mainly due to more favorable oil-phase continuity and distribution in oil-wet media compared to the corresponding ones in water-wet formations. In water-wet cores, encapsulation of oil by gel may cause oil-phase discontinuities and porous medium conductivity reduction. Wettability tests have shown that silicate gel is strongly water-wet. Therefore, in oil-wet DPR treatments, formed gel in porous media yields a mixed-wet formation and a lower trapped oil saturation compared to the water-wet formation.
In either wetting state, relative permeability hysteresis was insignificant during the post-DPR treatment imbibition/drainage cycles. This also reflects stable gels during post-DPR treatment floods. DPR treatments conducted at high WOR in oil-wet cores have shown a minor gel "erosion" during the post-treatment two- and single-phase (water) injection; gel "erosion" ceased during oil injection. DPR treatments conducted at high WOR caused an increase in residual resistance factor (
In the case of surfactant EOR, an optimum formulation of surfactant has to be injected in the reservoir. This so-called optimum formulation corresponds to a minimum in the interfacial tension and a maximum in oil recovery and may be obtained with an appropriate balance of the hydrophobic and hydrophilic affinities of the surfactant. Salinity—scan tests are generally used to screen phase behavior of surfactant formulations before conducting time-consuming coreflood tests. The objective of this study was to develop a high-throughput dynamic microfluidic tensiometer, with the aim of studying interfacial phenomena between EOR injected formulations and crude oils and of optimizing chemical EOR processes for pilot or field applications.
We have selected a method based on the Rayleigh-Plateau instability and the analysis of the droplets to jetting transition in a coaxial flow of two fluids. In fact, in coaxial flows, the transition between a droplet and a jetting regime depends on the velocities of each phase, the viscosity ratio, the confinement and the interfacial tension (IFT). As the three first parameters are known, the dynamic interfacial tension can be calculated. This microfluidic device has been specifically designed to support high temperatures (up to 150°C), high pressures (up to 150 bars) and is compatible with complex fluids such as crude oils and solutions of surfactants and polymers.
The method was first developed and validated on a microfluidic device on model fluids at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure for IFTs higher than 1 mN/m. It was then successfully applied for the measurement of IFTs over more than four decades. Measurements were also performed with a crude oil and a typical surfactant formulation. The validation of the HP/HT assembly, which has been designed with the aim to work in reservoir conditions, is currently under progress. By using this tensiometer, it would be quite easy to perform in short time numerous salinity scans on real systems in order to get the evolution of IFT and determine the optimal salinity S*.
The prediction of polymer degradation under reservoir conditions is critical to EOR polymer selection. NMR studies were used to monitor the changes in the anionic content of acrylamide containing polymers. The monomer sequence distribution of hydrolyzed polyacrylamide polymers (HPAM) was monitored during lab test to improve our understanding of HPAM stability. The results suggest that accelerated aging of a polymer at reservoir conditions at elevated temperatures will result in a polymer with structure similar to the polymer resulting from extended aging at lower temperatures.
Achieving maximum oil recovery utilizing CO2 has limitations when operating at, or very close, to the Minimum Miscibility Pressure (MMP) of the CO2 in the oil. A modular source of CO2 would allow Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) flooding of "stranded" and shallow reservoirs. Unfortunately, modular sources of CO2 production often include CO and N2 mixed with the CO2. Thus, testing for EOR application of a mixed gas-containing CO2, N2, and CO was initiated.
Bench scale testing using Rising Bubble Apparatus (RBA), Slim Tubes, and linear core flood have been conducted on oils ranging from 16-42° gravities having viscosities of 0.5-280 cp. All tests were conducted at reservoir temperatures and pressures. CO, being a strong reducing agent, was further tested on reservoir rock containing swelling clays with hydrated ferric hydroxides. Due to the apparent reduction of the ferric hydroxide, and the liberation of its water of hydration, an increase in matrix permeability and clay stabilization, was observed.
For most oils tested, the CO2/CO mixture increased rate of oil recovery by 2-3X, using only 50-60% as much gas/bo as compared to pure CO2. Recovery factors of 80%, at immiscible pressures 30-40% below CO2 MMP, were achieved. Addition of 15% N2 (v/v) to the CO2/CO mixture did not impair oil recovery. Interfacial testing (IFT) of oils, using pure CO, demonstrated a lowering of the IFT. RBA testing of asphaltine-rich heavy oils has shown that a mixture of CO2/CO dissolves into the oil at a far faster rate than either CO2 or CO individually and faster than the sum of both individual gases. A similar test using non-asphaltine type oils did not display this unique characteristic. Slim tube testing suggests that CO facilitates the mobilization of asphaltine-rich heavy oils and lowers viscosity. A linear corefloods of a reservoir containing 5% smectite + illite/smectite + and chlorite demonstrated a 275% increase in matrix permeability. Packed column tests, containing quartz sand and bentonite, demonstrated up to 300-900% increase in permeability in the presence of CO.
Thus a method to recover oil faster, from stranded reservoirs, at pressures below MMP, using significantly less gas, appears possible. In addition the use of CO, either alone or in combination with CO2 and/or N2, has been shown to increase matrix permeability. Such a gas mixture may be beneficial to achieving low pressure EOR from shallow, "stranded" reservoirs, non-conventional shale oil reservoirs, and viscous, heavy oil reservoirs at low temperatures. Incorporation of CO, or CO2/CO, in a frac fluid, or alternately as a post frac cleanup for shale oil and gas applications appears to warrant investigation.
Foamed fluids with the gas phase of carbon dioxide (CO2) have been applied as fracturing fluids to develop unconventional resources. This type of fracturing fluids meets the waterless requirements by unconventional reservoirs, which are prone to damage by clay swelling and blocking pore throat in water environment. Conventional CO2 foams with surfactants have low durability under high temperature and high salinity, which limit their application. Nanoparticles provide a new technique to stabilize CO2 foams under harsh reservoir conditions. It's essential to determine in-situ rheology of CO2 foams stabilized by nanoparticles in order to predict proppant transport in reservoir fractures and improve oil production.
The shear viscosity and foam texture of non-Newtonian fluids under reservoir conditions are critical to transport proppant and generate effective micro-channels. This study determined the in-situ shear viscosity of supercritical CO2 foams stabilized by nano-SiO2 in the Flow Loop apparatus with shear rates of 5950~17850 s-1 at the pressure of 1140±20 psig and the temperature of 40 °C. Supercritical CO2 with the density of 0.2~0.4 g/ml and the viscosity of 0.02~0.04 cp under typical reservoir conditions were applied to generate foams. The foams were tested with high foam quality up to 80% to minimize the usage of water. The effects of shear rates, salinity, surfactant, and nanoparticle sizes and on the rheology of gas foams with different foam qualities were experimentally investigated. The foam texture and stability were observed through an in-line sapphire tube. Further, proppant transport by CO2 foams and the placement in fractures were analyzed by considering the rheology of non-Newtonian fluids and the mechanisms of gravity driven settling and hindered settling/slurry flow.
The conditions of nanoparticle foaming systems were optimized through orthogonal experimental design. The dense and stable foams were generated and observed under high pressure and elevated temperature conditions. It was observed that CO2 foams with high quality of 80% demonstrated the highest viscosity and stability under optimal conditions. The foams with nanoparticles demonstrated both shear- thinning and shear-thickening behaviors depending on foam quality and components. The salinity and nanoparticle size affect foam rheology in two ways depending on components, foam quality, and shear rates.
While the viscosities of CO2 foam stabilized by nanoparticles have been widely studied recently, no work has been done to observe the stability and texture of supercritical CO2 foam after shearing under high pressure and high temperature, not to mention proppant transport by CO2 foam. This study provided a pioneering insight to the proppant transport by viscous supercritical CO2 foam stabilized by nanoparticles.
Zhu, Youyi (State Key Laboratory of Enhanced Oil Recovery, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC) | Fan, Jian (State Key Laboratory of Enhanced Oil Recovery, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC) | Liu, Xiaoxia (State Key Laboratory of Enhanced Oil Recovery, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC) | Li, Jianguo (State Key Laboratory of Enhanced Oil Recovery, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, CNPC)
Chemical flooding technology is one of the effective enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods for high water cut sandstone reservoirs with either medium and/or high permeability. Because of the small pore throat radius in the pore medium of low permeability reservoir, high molecular weight polymers cannot be injected in the low permeability reservoir. Therefore, many traditional chemical floodings (such as polymer flooding, alkali-surfactant-polymer (ASP) flooding and surfactant-polymer (SP) flooding) cannot be effectively applied in this case. Small-molecule viscoelastic surfactant (VES) has special rheological properties in porous medium. It showed both viscosified function and reduction of oil/water interfacial tension (IFT) performances under certain conditions, thereby providing the possibility of IOR/EOR potential application in low permeability reservoirs.
Most of reservoirs in Jilin Oilfield belong to low permeability reservoirs with permeability of around 50 mD in average. The recovery percent of reserves in Fuyu was only 23% by water flooding with water cut as high as 93%. A candidate EOR technique with chemical flooding has been proposed. Studies on VES flooding EOR methods targeting this reservoir condition were conducted. The rheological property, IFT property, viscosifying ability of VES and core flooding experiments of VES system were studied.
From VES screening experiment, a type of zwitterionic betaine surfactant with long carbon chain was selected. It showed viscosifying behavior, shear thinning property and low IFT performances at reservoir conditions. VES of EAB solutions showed a good viscosifying action at low surfactant concentration. Moreover, based on its shear thinning property under the wide shear rate conditions, VES exhibited a good injectivity performance. IFT between crude oil and formation water with EAB was 10-3-10-2 mN/m order of magnitudes. The results could be obtained at the concentration ranges of surfactants from 0.1wt% to 0.4wt%. Ultralow IFT (10-3 mN/m order of magnitudes) could be obtained in the presence of co-surfactants or alkalis (such as sodium carbonate). Core flooding experiments of VES flooding showed that the incremental oil recovery factors could reach up to 13%-17% over conventional water flooding at Fuyu reservoir conditions. Test results indicated that VES flooding might become a promise alternative EOR method for low permeability reservoir after water flooding.
In contrast to the complexity of ASP/SP combination system, VES flooding could avoid chromatographic effects in the reservoir based on their simple formula (single surfactant compound). This new chemical flooding technique might have a great potential for EOR application in the low permeability reservoirs.
Wu, Xingcai (Research Inst. of Petroleum E&D, RIPED, CNPC) | Yang, Zhongjian (Qinghai Oilfield Company, QOC, CNPC) | Xu, Hanbing (RIPED) | Zhang, Lihui (QOC) | Xiong, Chunming (RIPED) | Yang, Huazhen (Huabei Oilfield Company, HOC, CNPC) | Shao, Liming (RIPED) | Kang, Bo (Chengdu North Petroleum E&D Technology Co. Ltd.) | Fu, Yaxiu (HOC) | Tian, Xiaoyan (Startwell Energy Co. Ltd) | Cao, Huiqing (HOC)
Though polymer flooding is widely considered as a good EOR method for heterogeneous fields, it's always a difficulty to be applied in high temperature and high salinity reservoirs, limited by polymer property. GS-E31 reservoir in West China has ultra-high temperature, 258.8°F (126°C), and ultra-high salinity, 18×104mg/L. It is highly heterogeneous, developed with flowing channels. Starting in July 2012, a new polymer (SMG) flooding was pilot tested, with success technically and economically.
Before SMG injection, tracer test was conducted in the pilot, figuring out the distribution position and direction of prevailing flowing channels. The microscopic pore structure and size were studied. The temperature and salinity resistance of the new particle-type polymer under reservoir condition was tested. The oil displacing effect was simulated on parallel dual core model. For the pilot test, two slugs with different particle sizes were designed. To guarantee the flooding effect, a preposed PPG (preformed particle gel) slug with larger size was designed to inhibit prevailing flow channels.
The lab studies showed the new polymer particles kept stable appearance within 100 days under the reservoir temperature and salinity, denoting high capacity of temperature and salinity resistance. And by physical simulation it could obtain EOR of 12.3%. The pilot test was started in July 2012 and ended in December 2013, and the total liquid injection amount was 12.2×104m3, which was 0.1 PV. During operation, the polymer particle size and concentration were adjusted based on the observing data. As a result, the monthly oil rate of the pilot was increased from 1313 t to 2049.6 t, with increase of 736.6 t; and the water cut was decreased from 91.7% to 84.1%. The cumulative oil incremental was 1.03×104t, and the cumulative water production decrease was 4.79×104m3. The input-output ratio was 1:2.09. Though the economical result was not ideal, it was still acceptable under such severe reservoir conditions. Besides, the surveillance showed the preposed channeling inhibition slug did not perform well, which affected the NPF effect, and especially led to the quick water cut rising in the follow-up water injection phase.
Summarizing the lat studies and pilot tests, the new particle-type polymer has obtained a large breakthrough for temperature and salinity resistance comparing to traditional polymer, and the EOR mechanism is different. The matching relationship between particle size and formation pore size is very important for polymer flooding effect. To further study on lab evaluation method and plan optimization is needed. The technology has important referencing meaning for efficiently developing high temperature and high salinity fields.