The object of this study was to determine if crude oil could be produced successfully by a process of crude oil vaporization using carbon dioxide repressuring. This process appears to have application to highly fractured formations where the major oil content of the reservoir is contained in the non-fractured porosity with little associated permeability.Crude oil was introduced into the windowed cell and carbon dioxide was charged to the cell at the desired pressure. A vapor space was formed above the oil, and the crude oil-carbon dioxide mixture was allowed to come to equilibrium. The vapor phase was removed and the vaporized oil collected as condensate. Samples of all produced and unproduced fluids were analyzed. Tests were also performed to evaluate the amount of vaporized oil that can be produced by rocking from a high to a lower pressure. The carbon dioxide repressuring process was applied to a sand-filled cell to investigate the performance in a porous medium. A test was performed to evaluate how the condensate recovery changes as the size of the gas cap in contact with the oil changes.

Introduction

This study has been directed toward a relatively new process of vaporization of crude oil designed to increase ultimate production of hydrocarbons through the application of carbon dioxide to an oil reservoir. Suggested advantages of carbon dioxide repressuring of a petroleum reservoir are:

  1. reduction in viscosity of liquid hydrocarbons due to the solubility of carbon dioxide in crude oil,

  2. swelling of the reservoir oil into a larger liquid-oil volume with a resulting increase in production and decrease in residual oil saturation due to an increase in the relative permeability to oil,

  3. displacement of more stock-tank oil from the reservoir since the residual liquid is a swelled crude oil, and

  4. gasification of some of the hydrocarbons into a carbon dioxide-hydrocarbon vapor mixture.

Balanced against these advantages are several detrimental factors which must be evaluated; i.e., high compression costs and corrosion of well equipment and flow lines.Some of the more outstanding contributions to the study of carbon dioxide injection have been reviewed in order to furnish a basis for a continuation of research pertaining to this method. The literature reviewed has been limited to that dealing with carbon dioxide repressuring processes or with carbon dioxide-crude oil-natural gas phase behavior. Articles relating to carbonated water injection and literature published on the use of low pressure carbon dioxide gas injection in water flooding have not been included in this study.In 1941 Pirson suggested the high pressure injection of carbon dioxide into a partially depleted reservoir for the purpose of causing the reservoir oil to vaporize and thus produce the oil as a vapor along with the carbon dioxide gas. By reducing the pressure on this produced mixture of hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide at the surface, it was proposed to separate the hydrocarbons from the carrier gas. He theorized that essentially all the oil in a reservoir could be produced by simply injecting enough carbon dioxide to vaporize the residual oil.This present investigation deals with the vaporization of a crude oil by carbon dioxide, the molecular weight and gravity of the vaporized oil product and the characteristics of the residual oil after several repressuring cycles with carbon dioxide. An attempt is made to evaluate the merits of a vaporization process for the crude oil rather than a flow process where the oil recovery is determined by relative permeability considerations. Such a vaporize of crude oil by carbon dioxide repressuring appears to have possible use in a highly fractured formation where the major oil content of the reservoir is contained in the non-fractured porosity with little permeability. The carbon dioxide flows into the fractures, contacts the crude oil in the matrix and vaporizes part of the crude oil; this vaporized oil is produced and recovered and the carbon dioxide is reinjected again.The specific problem of this study is to attempt to answer this question; Can crude oil be produced successfully (technically, but without economic considerations) from a petroleum reservoir by a process of vaporization of the crude oil by carbon dioxide repressuring?

DEFINITION OF TERMS AS APPLIED IN THIS STUDY

Carbon Dioxide Contact: One cycle in which carbon dioxide was injected and bled off. Condensate: The hydrocarbon liquid which was condensed out of the mixture of hydrocarbon-carbon dioxide vapor upon reduction of the pressure of the vapor.Hydrocarbons Produced (HCP): All the hydrocarbons which were vaporized by the carbon dioxide repressuring process and were removed from the cell during any specific cycle or carbon dioxide contact.

JPT

P. 1247^

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