This paper presents comprehensive rock-fluid experiments to study the possibility of oil recovery improvement when CO2 is injected as a fracturing fluid in the Montney tight-oil play, located in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. This study consists of four phases: In phase 1, we conduct constant composition expansion (CCE) tests with different CO2 concentrations using a PVT cell. In phase 2, we visualize CO2-oil interactions at reservoir pressure and temperature in a custom-designed visual cell. Then, we conduct SEM/EDS analysis on the solid precipitates in the visual cell due to CO2-oil interactions. In phase 3, we soak the oil-saturated core plugs in the visual cell, pressurize the cell with CO2, and measure the oil recovery. In phase 4, we conduct cyclic CO2 tests using a core flooding system, and measure the oil recovery. We also evaluate the oil viscosity and wettability of the core plugs before and after cyclic CO2 process.
The results of the CCE tests conducted using the PVT cell and visualization tests conducted using the visual cell show that CO2 can significantly dissolve into and expand the Montney oil. The results of the CO2 soaking tests and cyclic CO2 process show that the oil swelling due to CO2-oil interactions results in high oil recovery factor from the oil-saturated core plugs. In addition, we observe solid precipitates due to CO2-oil interactions at the bulk-phase conditions in the visual cell. SEM/EDS analysis on the solid precipitates show the existence of carbon and sulfur, the main components of asphaltene. The results of IP-143 test confirm the formation asphaltene when the Montney oil contacts CO2 at reservoir conditions.