A major Malaysian matured offshore oilfield which is currently under waterflooding has been seen declining in production in recent years. Among various enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques evaluated, this field appears to be amenable to chemical EOR implementation. Chemical EOR project requires high capital and operating expenditure (CAPEX and OPEX) and often involve complex logistical and operational challenges in an offshore environment. A comprehensive study and technical road map plan from laboratory to pilot and then to full field reservoir simulation model has been established to reduce the project risks prior to field-scale chemical EOR implementation.
For this study, detailed EOR screening and ranking evolution is conducted and confirmed that chemical EOR is ranked high among other EOR techniques and stands for better chance of success techno-economically. Subsequently, all the relevant field examinations to verify the incremental oil recovery from chemical EOR including extensive laboratory experiments such as fluid-fluid and fluid-rock evaluations and pilot tests by single well chemical tracer method were designed and implemented.
This paper mainly presents the challenges and the strategies to build a realistic full field chemical EOR numerical simulation model (using CMG's STARS), which include history matching and waterflooding optimization process stages. The work has been carried out to address the best practice workflow for chemical EOR simulation, lessons learned from how to properly prepare and incorporate the chemical input data, identify uncertainties relate to project risks and minimize or mitigate the impact of risks to the project economics.
Numerical simulation was utilized along with assisted optimization methods that combine experimental design and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques (using CMG's CMOST) to determine injection chemical concentration and chemical slug size for optimal oil recovery factor and project net present value (NPV). Sensitivity studies were also performed with the reservoir simulation models to determine the impact of effects such as residual oil saturation (Sor) reduction, chemical loss through adsorption, dilution effects on capillary number, salinity and viscosity effects, cooling effects, chemical reactions, among others. The study results show that chemical EOR injection is a technically feasible and economically viable option for this oilfield from subsurface, incremental oil recovery, and facilities stand points. Furthermore, the results of this risk assessment will facilitate and expedite the full field project execution and investment plan in future.