Reservoir management for an economically successful chemical EOR project involves maintaining high injectivity to improve processing rates. In the Captain Field, horizontal injection wells offshore have been stimulated with surfactant-polymer fluids to reduce surrounding oil saturations and boost water relative permeability. The surfactant-polymer stimulation process described herein enables a step change in injectivity and advances the commercialization of this application. This paper explains the damage mechanism, laboratory chemical design, quality control through offshore field execution and data quantifying the results.
Phase behaviour laboratory experiments and analytical injectivity models are used to design a near wellbore clean-up and relative permeability improvement. Three field trials were conducted in wells that had observed significant injectivity decline over 1-3 years of polymer injection. Surfactant and polymer are blended with injection water and fluid quality is confirmed at the wellheads. Pressure is continuously monitored with injectivity index to determine the chemical efficiency and treatment longevity. Oil saturation changes and outflow profile distributions are analysed from well logs run before and after stimulating. Learnings are applied to refine the process for future well treatments.
The key execution elements include using polymer to provide adequate mobility control at high relative permeability and ensure contact along the entire wellbore. Repeatability of success with surfactant-polymer injection is demonstrated with decreased skin in all the wells. The key results include the oil saturation logs that prove the reduction of oil near the well completion and improves the relative permeability to aqueous phase. The results also prove to be sustainable over months of post-stimulation operation data with high injectivity.
Injectivity enhancement was supported by chemical quality control through the whole process. From laboratory to the field (from core flood experiments to dissolution of trapped oil near wellbore), surveillance measurements prove that the chemical design was maintained and executed successfully. The enhanced injectivity during clean-up allows for higher processing rate during polymer injection and negates the need for additional wells.
The application of surfactant-polymer technology can rejuvenate existing wells and avoid high costs associated with redrilling offshore wells. This improves processing rate for EOR methods and can even be applied to waterflood wells to improve the injectivity, e.g low permeability reservoirs.