An inverted 5-spot Alkaline Surfactant Polymer (ASP) pilot is planned for a giant sandstone reservoir in North Kuwait. Despite the development of a robust lab-optimized ASP formulation at reservoir temperature (90°C) and the execution of a successful Single Well Chemical Tracer Test (SWCTT), the combination of high temperature and divalent ion concentration (∼20,000 ppm) makes the implementation of a successful multi-well ASP pilot very difficult mainly due to the challenge of inorganic carbonate scale. This paper presents some unique challenges in connection with the design of an inverted 5-spot ASP pilot and discusses practical strategies to mitigate them.
Due to the high divalent ion concentration in the formation brine, the design basis for the planned chemical EOR pilot requires pre-flushing the reservoir using softened seawater prior to ASP injection. In the base-case scenario for the pilot, injection and production within the pattern were balanced to target a Voidage Replacement Ratio (VRR) of 1. However, it was realized that such a pre-flush strategy would still present significant carbonate scaling risk at the producers. In view of that, an extended softened-water pre-flush strategy (over-flush) was considered to alleviate the anticipated scaling concerns.
Simulations were carried out to explore various scenarios to work out the optimal over-flush strategy for the pilot to mitigate the potential for scale formation at the producers. It was realized that over-flushing the hot reservoir brine by large volumes of cooler surface water could result in significant cooling of the reservoir prior to ASP injection. This change in reservoir temperature compromises the performance the original lab-optimized formulation that was designed considering a reservoir temperature of 90°C. In view of that, careful re-tuning of the chemical formulation was necessary to make it robust for pilot conditions post softened water over-flushing.