The Magwa Marrat reservoir was discovered in the mid-1980s and has been produced to date under primary depletion. Reservoir pressure has declined and is approaching the asphaltene onset pressure (AOP). A water flood is being planned and a decision needs to be taken as to the appropriate reservoir operating pressure. In particular the merits of operating the reservoir at pressures above and below the AOP need to be assessed.
Some of the issues related to this decision relate to the effects of asphaltene deposition in the reservoir. Two effects have been evaluated. Firstly the effect of in-situ deposition of asphaltene on wettability and the influence that this may have on water-flood recovery has been investigated using pore scale network modes. Models were constructed and calibrated to available high pressure mercury capillary pressure data and to relative permeability data from reservoir condition core floods. The changes to relative permeability characteristics that would result from the reservoir becoming substantially more oil-wet have been evaluated. Based on this there seems to be a very limited scope for poorer water flood performance at pressures below AOP.
Secondly the scope for impaired well performance has been evaluated. This has been done using a field trial where a well was produced at pressures above and substantially below AOP and pressure transient data were used to estimate near wellbore damage "skin". Also compositional simulation has been used to estimate near wellbore deposition effects. This has involved developing an equation of state model and identifying, using computer assisted history matching, a range of parameters that could be consistent with core flood experiments of asphaltene deposition. Results of simulation using these parameters are compared with field observation and used to predict the range of possible future well productivity decline.
Overall this work allows an evaluation of the preferred operating pressure, which can drop below the AOP, resulting in lower operating costs and higher final recovery without substantial impairment to either water-flood efficiency or well productivity.