In-situ combustion (ISC) is an enhanced oil-recovery method. Enhanced oil recovery is broadly described as a group of techniques used to extract crude oil from the subsurface by the injection of substances not originally present in the reservoir with or without the introduction of extraneous energy (Lake 1996). During ISC, a combustion front is propagated through the reservoir by injected air. The heat generated results in higher temperatures leading to a reduction in oil viscosity and an increase of oil mobility. There are two types of ISC processes, dry and wet combustion.
In the dry-combustion process, a large part of the heat generated is left unused downstream of the combustion front in the burned-out region. During the wet-injection process, water is co-injected with the air to recover some of the heat remaining behind the combustion zone. ISC is a very complex process. From a physical point of view, it is a problem coupling transport in porous media, chemistry, and thermodynamics. It has been studied for several decades, and the technique has been applied in the field since the 1950s. The complexity was not well understood earlier by ISC operators. This resulted in a high rate of project failures in the 1960s, and contributed to the misconception that ISC is a problem-prone process with low probability of success. However, ISC is an attractive oil-recovery process and capable of recovering a high percentage of oil-in-place, if the process is designed correctly and implemented in the right type of reservoir (Sarathi 1999).
This paper investigates the effect of water on the reaction kinetics of a heavy oil by way of ramped temperature oxidation under various conditions.
Earlier studies about reaction kinetic were conducted by Bousaid and Ramey (1968), Weijdema (1968), Dabbous and Fulton (1974), and Thomas et al. (1979). In these experiments, temperature of a sample of crude oil and solid matrix was increased over time or kept constant. The produced gas was analyzed to determine the concentrations of outlet gases, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and oxygen. This kind of studies shows two types of oxidation reactions, the Low-Temperature Oxidation (LTO) and the High-Temperature Oxidation (HTO) (Burger and Sahuquet 1973; Fassihi et al. 1984a; Mamora et al. 1993). In 1984, Fassihi et al. (1984b) presented an analytical method to obtain kinetics parameters. His method requires several assumptions.