Summary

One method to access unconventional heavy-crude-oil resources as well as residual oil after conventional recovery operations is to apply in-situ combustion (ISC) enhanced oil recovery. ISC oxidizes in place a small fraction of the hydrocarbon, thereby providing heat to reduce oil viscosity and increase reservoir pressure. Both effects serve to enhance recovery. The complex nature of petroleum as a multicomponent mixture and the multistep character of combustion reactions substantially complicate analysis of crude-oil oxidation and the identification of settings where ISC could be successful. In this study, isoconversional analysis of ramped temperature-oxidation (RTO) kinetic data was applied to eight different crude-oil samples. In addition, combustion-tube runs that explore ignition and combustion-front propagation were carried out. By using experimentally determined combustion kinetics of eight crude-oil samples along with combustion-tube results, we show that isoconversional analysis of RTO data is useful to predict combustion-front propagation. Isoconversional analysis also provides new insight into the nature of the reactions occurring during ISC. Additionally, five of the 10 crude-oil/rock systems studied employed a carbonate rock. No system displayed excessive oxygen consumption resulting from carbonate decomposition at combustion temperatures. This result is encouraging as it contributes to widening of the applicability of ISC.

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