The traditional advantage of petroleum-based transport fuels of unmatched energy-density and affordability is diluted with the requirement to lower atmospheric carbon. However, despite a significant R&D effort and investment over the last three decades, humanity is still looking for carbon neutral alternatives to petroleum that can be commercially viable. This paper presents meaningful novel approaches to deal with carbon abatement utilizing petroleum that have a better chance to succeed in fulfilling the underlying techno-economic desirables.
While the multi-directional work performed in the past on the subject has informed us on a variety of related topics, going forward the society can benefit from a systematic approach to solving atmospheric CO2 problem building on the petroleum advantage. A framework formulating the challenge in terms of techno-economic and environmental requirements is presented that narrows down further work to only meaningful and promising leads. With this framework in mind a few specific pathways are proposed that naturally hold the desired traits if certain conditions are met. These conditions in turn define specific objectives of the subsequent developmental work. While it is premature to suggest any of these will develop into a commercially viable pragmatic method, due to the underlying criteria they hold a better chance to be successful. The presented pathways using advances in electro-chemistry, nanoscience, rational design, and other areas range from (a) mimicking natural fixation of CO2 as in plants to produce tailored polysaccharides or food, to (b) converting CO2 to substances such as carboxylic acids for easy and cost effective sequestration, to (c) changing the way petroleum fuel is used in internal combustion engines to alter the exit state of oxidation of carbon so that the waste product is easily and economically captured compared to the conventional waste product - CO2.
One outcome from the framework results in collapse of the economic models and associated technical approaches that aim to convert CO2 to sellable products, owing mainly to the volume of the global GHG challenge. On the other hand, a common element in the proposed promising leads is to deal with the problem of carbon abatement as an added step with an associated cost. The lower this cost, the less diluted the petroleum-advantage. In this context the framework also points to a range of relative costs that the carbon abatement approaches have to work within to retain the petroleum advantage.
The outlined technical approaches of carbon abatement are not previously discussed in the literature and hold the promise to help combat the global GHG challenge in a more practical and significant way.
After nearly thirty years of research and development, it is now commonly agreed that Low Salinity Waterflood (LSW) is an attractive enhanced oil recovery (EOR) method because of its incremental oil recovery performance, reasonable operating cost and low environmental impact compared to conventional waterflood and other EOR processes. From the past studies, LSW is known as a process that comprises many mechanisms, i.e. multiple ion exchanges, wettability alteration, complex geochemical reactions, and fines migration and deposition. However, most studies in the literature have only focused on a single recovery mechanism, with varying, sometimes contradictory conclusions. This paper presents: (1) a comprehensive model that takes into account all the different important physics in LSW, i.e. fines transport, geochemistry and wettability alteration; (2) validation with a core-flood experiment; and (3) field-scale optimization of LSW.
A model for fines transport has been developed and incorporated in an Equation-of-State compositional reservoir simulator with geochemistry and wettability alteration modeling. The proposed model is capable of accounting for complex transport phenomena of fines (clay) particles in porous media including fines deposition, entrainment, and plugging. The simulator also considers physical phenomena in the oil/rock/brine system such as aqueous chemical equilibrium, rate dependent mineral reactions, multiple ion exchanges, and relative permeability alteration due to wettability changes. Validations with a LSW core-flood experiment were carried out, which provide insights into the important mechanisms for the incremental oil recovery by LSW.
The proposed model shows good agreement in terms of oil recovery and pressure drop with a benchmark LSW core-flood experiment which was conducted with a non-polar oil and in which migration of clay particles and their plugging of pores were considered as the main recovery mechanism. It is shown that the proposed model can efficiently capture the important physics in LSW processes related to fines transport. The impact of formation damage during LSW can be efficiently evaluated using this model. Finally, an optimization workflow helps maximize the recovery factor of the LSW process.
To our knowledge, this paper describes one of the first LSW mechanistic models to capture the three principal mechanisms of LSW, i.e. fines transport, geochemistry, and wettability alteration. Excellent match with laboratory experiments and field-scale optimization reinforce validity of the model. The proposed workflow can be extended to other recovery methods such as Low-Salinity Polymer or Low-Salinity Alkali-Surfactant-Polymer.
The simulation of the In Situ Combustion (ISC) process is a very challenging process due to the complexity and nonlinear nature of the problem. In this work, we propose an efficient technique to simulate experimental procedures for the ISC process including heterogeneity. The effects of permeability on mass flow and heat transfer were studied through a series of numerical frameworks. Different approaches to model the reactions occurring during combustion were attempted and simulation results were validated using experimental results. We focus on two different key areas: the integration of chemical reaction kinetics obtained through kinetic cell experiments, and the analysis of efficient simulations of combustion tube experiments that account for the flow element. After establishing a robust framework that accurately matches lab-scale results, combustion tube simulation results using a commercial simulator were analyzed to corroborate conclusions. Through observing the propagation of the combustion front and the oil bank in heterogeneous zones, assessments around the effects of permeability on the ISC process were performed. This work provides valuable information that would be instrumental in understanding experimental behavior of in-situ combustion and upgrading results to field scale after matching numerical results with experimental data collected in our future work.
Santos, Hugo (Petrobras) | Perondi, Eduardo (UFRGS) | Wentz, André (Senai-SC) | Silva, Anselmo (Senai-SC) | Barone, Dante (UFRGS) | Basso, Eduardo (UFRGS) | Reis, Ney (Petrobras) | Galassi, Maurício (Petrobras) | Pinto, Hardy (Petrobras) | Castro, Bruno (Petrobras) | Ferreira, André (Petrobras) | Ferreira, Lincoln (Petrobras) | Krettli, Igor (Petrobras)
Methane Hydrates and Paraffin Plugs in flexible lines are concerns in offshore production. They may stop wells for months, causing high financial losses. Sometimes, operators use depressurization techniques for hydrate removal. Other strategy is using coiled tubing or a similar unit in order to perform local heating or solvent injection. However, frequently these strategies are not successful. In those cases, a rig may perform the operation or the line may be lost.
This project developed a robotic system in order to perform a controlled local heating and remove obstructions. The robotic system developed is able to access the line from the production platform. It uses a self-locking system in order to exert high traction forces. An umbilical with neutral buoyancy and low friction coefficient allows significant drag reduction. It allows moving upwards and in pipes with a large number of curves. Coiled tubing and similar units cannot do that. Carbon fiber vessels and compact circuits give flexibility to move inside 4-inch flexible pipes. A novel theoretical model allows the cable traction calculation using an evolution of the Euler-Eytelwein equation.
Experimental tests validated this model using curved pipes, both empty and filled with a fluid and using different loads. Experimental tests also validated the external layer traction resistance. Furthermore, the carbon fiber vessels were pressure tested, indicating a collapse resistance of more than 550 bar (8.000 psi). In addition, exhaustive tests of the onboard electronics and of the surface control system guarantee the communication reliability.
Additionally, the 25 kN (5.6 kip) traction system was modeled theoretically considering the self-locking system, the contact with the wall and a diameter range. Four prototypes allowed to: a) compare hydraulic and electric drive systems, b) validate the self-locking mechanism up to its limit, c) analyze the hydraulic system for leg opening and translation and d) prove the traction capacity. Finally, a theoretical model for the local heating system was developed. The system experimental validation on a cooled environment demonstrated its capacity of increasing temperature. Furthermore, it allows the obstruction removal in a controlled manner, avoiding damage to the polymeric layer of the flexible line.
Globally, most oil fields are on the decline and further production from these fields is addressed to be practical in cost-effectiveness and oil productivity. Most oil companies are adopting two main technologies to address this: artificial intelligence and enhanced oil recovery (EOR). But the cost of some of these EOR methodologies and their subsequent environmental impact is daunting. Herein, the environmental and economic advantage of microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) makes it the point of interest. Since, there is no need to change much-invested technology and infrastructure, amidst complex geology during MEOR application, it is entrusted that MEOR would be the go-to technology for the sustainability of mature fields.
Despite the benefits of MEOR, the absence of a practical numerical simulator for MEOR halts its economic validation and field applicability. Hence, we address this by performing both core and field- scale simulations of MEOR comparing conventional waterflooding. The field scale is a sector model(fluvial sandstone reservoir with 13,440 active grid cells) of a field in Asia - Pacific.
Here we show that pre-flush inorganic ions (Na+ and Ca2+) affect the mineralization of secondary minerals which influences microbe growth. This further influences carboxylation, which is relevant for oil biodegradation. Also, as per the sensitivity analysis: capillary number, residual oil saturation and relative permeability mainly affect MEOR. Secondary oil recovery assessment showed an incremental 6% OOIP for MEOR comparing conventional water flooding. Also, tertiary MEOR application increased the oil recovery by about 4% OOIP over conventional water flooding. It was established that during tertiary recovery, initiating MEOR after 5years of conventional waterflooding is more advantageous contrasting 10 and 15years. Lastly, per probabilistic estimation, MEOR could sustain already water-flooded wells for a set period, say, a 20% frequency of increasing oil recovery by above 20% for 2 additional years as highlighted in this study.
Acid-tunneling is an acid jetting method for stimulating carbonate reservoirs. Several case histories from around the world were presented in the past showing optimistic post-stimulation production increases in open-hole wells, comparing to conventional coiled tubing (CT) acid jetting, matrix acidizing, and acid fracturing. However, many questions about the actual tunnel creation and tunneling efficiency are still not answered. In this paper, the results of an innovative full-scale research program involving water and acid jetting are reported for the first time.
The tunnels are constructed through chemical reaction and mechanical erosion by pumping hydrochloric (HCl) acid through conventional CT and a bottom-hole assembly (BHA) with jetting nozzles and two pressure-activated bending joints that control the tunnel initiation directions. If the jetting speed is too high and the acid is not consumed in front of the BHA during the main tunneling process, then unspent acid flows toward the back of the BHA and creates main wellbore and tunnel enlargement with potential wormholes as fluid leaks off, lowering the tunneling length efficiency.
Full-scale water and acid jetting tests were performed on Indiana limestone cores with 2-4 mD permeability and 12-14% porosity. Many field-realistic combinations of nozzle sizes, jetting speeds, and back pressures were included in the testing program. The cores were 3.75-in. in diameter by 6-in. in length for the water tests, and 12-in. in diameter by 18-in. in length for the tests with 15-wt% HCl acid. The jetting BHA was moved as the tunnels were constructed, at constant force on the nozzle mole, to minimize the nozzle stand-off distance. Six acid tests were performed at the ambient temperature of 46F and two at 97F. The results from the acid tests show that the acid tunneling efficiency can be optimized by reducing the nozzle size and pump rate. The results from the water and acid tests with exactly the same parameters to match the actual CT operations in the field show that the tunnels are constructed mostly by chemical reaction and not by mechanical erosion. The acid tunneling efficiencies obtained from the full-scale acid tests are superior to the average tunneling efficiency of more than 500 actual tunnels constructed during more than 100 acid tunneling operations performed to date worldwide.
The paper describes the full-scale water and acid jetting tests on Indiana limestone cores. The major novelty of this test program consists of performing all measurements with back pressure, unlike all previous water and acid jetting studies reported in literature, to more accurately mimic the downhole well conditions. The novel understanding of the combined effect of the nozzle size, pump rate, and back pressure significantly improves the actual acid-tunneling efficiency.
A numerical simulation model was designed to evaluate the technical viability of in-situ upgrading using dispersed nanocatalysts in heavy oil reservoirs. Aquathermolysis reactions are represented by a practical kinetic model based on SARA analysis, being consistent with the thermodynamic characterization. With this simplified model, the API gravity enhancement in core-flooding tests was reproduced. The mathematical formulation couples mass and energy transport equations along with a rigorous three-phase equilibrium equation of state. Also, a nanoparticle transport equation was coupled to account for reversible and irreversible non-equilibrium retention, and water-oil partitioning. PVT data were matched successfully, including API gravities and oil viscosities. Reaction rates were adjusted by means of batch-reactor information, while nanoparticle retention was validated using reported single-phase core-flooding tests. Different core-flooding experiments from the literature were reproduced to calibrate the phases transport parameters, and further up-scaled to reservoir conditions. Validation of the model with experimental data suggests that the lumping scheme based on SARA analysis and the modeling of nanoparticle transport and retention, capture the most important phenomena occurring during in-situ upgrading processes. Field-scale simulations, of a sector model from an oil reservoir in the Magdalena Medio Valley basin in Colombia, showed that the in-situ upgrading with nanoparticles can increase the recovery factor up to 5% compared with typical steam injection. However, the oil upgrading achieved in the continuous injection was lower than the one obtained in the core-flooding tests. The numerical model presented in this work, which includes a dynamic nanoparticle retention model, changes on relative permeability alteration due to nanoparticle surface deposition, and a suited kinetic-thermodynamic representation, is able to describe correctly the most relevant phenomena observed during nanocatalysts in-situ upgrading process.
This paper discusses a method for optimizing production and operation for onshore/offshore wells. Optimizing the production of oil and gas fields necessitates the use of accurate predication techniques to minimize uncertainties associated with day-to-day operational challenges related to serious operational problems caused by asphaltene deposition. It involves the use of a dynamic flow simulator for modeling oil and gas production systems and reservoir management to determine the feasibility of its economic development. Many studies have focused on relating asphaltene precipitation flocculation and deposition in oil reservoirs and flow assurance in the wellbores. Experimental techniques and theoretical models have been developed trying to understand and predict asphaltene behavior. Nevertheless, some ambiguities still remain with regard to the characterization asphaltene in crude oil and its stability during the primary, secondary, and tertiary recovery stages within the near-wellbore regions.
A synthetic onshore full-field scale that is based on a heterogeneous three-dimensional Cartesian single-well model is considered in this paper. Two wells (a producer and an injector) and one reservoirs are considered to evaluate the dynamic properties under the influence of asphaltene. The size of the reservoir is 25 ft × 25ft × 20 ft and is represented by grid numbers of 50 columns × 50 rows × 5 layers with 12 hydrocarbon components constituting the constant crude composition of this model. The model comprised a total of 12,500 grid blocks. The three-dimensional simulation employed 5-layers, incorporating all relevant production and reservoir data. Different production scenarios were investigated to define the most appropriate and efficient production strategy. This paper provides a method to assess the effect of asphaltene precipitation, flocculation, and deposition in the well productivity and the economic impacts related to it and investigating prevention techniques and other related in-situ pore level flow assurance parameters.
The results will include a comparison of production rates with and without asphaltene precipitation, flocculation, and deposition. In addition, it provides a comparison of asphaltene precipitation, flocculation, and deposition at different times using varying bottomhole and production rate constraints. Several cases (i.e., WAG cycles, completion, target layers of injection, etc.) are tested to help in selection of the optimum completion and operating strategy in the presences asphaltene. The paper will provide insight into factors affecting the flow assurance of oil and gas reservoirs.
In-situ combustion processes are largely a function of oil composition and rock mineralogy. The extent and nature of the chemical reactions between crude oil and injected air, as well as the heat generated, depend on the oil-matrix system. Laboratory studies, using crude and matrix from a prospective in-situ combustion project, should be performed before designing any field operation. The chemical reactions associated with in-situ combustion are complex and numerous. They occur over a broad temperature range.