The evaluation of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods in Colombia has been very active during the past decade. One of the most recent and promising pilots is the in-situ combustion (ISC) in Chichimene field, starting in September 2019. Based on international ISC field experiences, this pilot represents a unique case study given the depth (≈8,000 ft) of this heavy crude oil (9 °API) reservoir.

The pilot project consists of one injector, seven producers, and two temperature observation wells between the injector and first-line wells. Production response shows encouraging results. Its interpretation is supported by a comprehensive fluid compositional analysis, which is the main objective of this paper.

This paper describes the compositional analysis of produced fluids (gas, oil, and water) and the influence of the current flow assurance program. Geochemical simulations support the evaluation of scaling tendencies, and possible corrosion trends are based on iron and manganese concentrations following the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) standards. Crude oil analysis is based on conventional techniques (i.e., acid number, distillation curves, etc.) and biomarkers to infer possible thermal maturation changes in the produced oil.

Results confirm predicted cycles of CO2 and H2S during the planning of the monitoring program. The solubility of both gases in water leads to their acidification and the formation of carbonate and sulfate scales characterized in production wells. The precipitation of solids was also influenced by the N2-based H2S scavenger decomposition downhole due to the water pH increment observed with the dosage increases. The scaling tendencies did not impact the productivity due to the high reservoir permeability. The precipitation of iron species made it difficult to interpret NACE standards to infer corrosion except for wells shut in for more than 2 months showing a higher concentration of Fe and Mn. However, a recent casing inspection job at one of the first-line producers shows no corrosion signs. Heavy metals such as nickel and vanadium were analyzed in water to infer the possible corrosion or thermal cracking of porphyrins in crude oil. Changes in the paraffinic fractions and biomarkers (i.e., methyl phenanthrene index, mono- and tri-aromatic steroids) suggest an increased thermal maturity of the produced oil. The robust monitoring program has provided important insights from the ISC process and flow assurance strategy supporting possible expansion plans.

This study provides valuable guidelines for monitoring programs based on compositional analysis of produced fluids, including the influence of production chemistry. Lessons learned through the Chichimene ISC monitoring program can be valuable in interpreting thermal and potentially nonthermal EOR projects.

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