Use of Dynamic Pore Network Modeling to Improve Our Understanding of Experimental Observations in Viscous Oil Displacement by Polymers
- Iselin Cecilie Salmo (University of Bergen) | Nematollah Zamani (Norce) | Tormod Skauge (Energy research Norway) | Ken Sorbie (Energy research Norway, Heriot Watt University) | Arne Skauge (Energy research Norway, University of Bergen, Norce)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference, 31 August - 4 September, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2020. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5 Reservoir Desciption & Dynamics, 5.4.10 Microbial Methods, 5.7 Reserves Evaluation, 5.3.6 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 5.4 Improved and Enhanced Recovery, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors
- Viscous oil, Polymer flooding, Pore Network Modeling
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Any aqueous solution viscosified by a polymer (or glycerol) should improve the recovery of a very viscous oil to some degree, but it has long been thought that the detailed rheology of the solution would not play a major role. However, recent heavy oil displacement experiments have shown that there are clear differences in incremental oil recovery between aqueous polymeric or Newtonian solutions viscosified to the same effective viscosity. For example, synthetic polymers (such as HPAM) recover more oil than biopolymers (such as xanthan) at the same effective viscosity. In this paper, we use dynamic pore scale network modeling to model and explain these experimental results.
A previously published dynamic pore scale network model (DPNM) which can model imbibition, has been extended to include polymer displacements, where the polymer may have any desired rheological properties. Using this model, we compare viscous oil displacement by water (Newtonian) with polymer injection where the "polymer" may be Newtonian (e.g. glycerol solution), or purely shear-thinning (e.g. xanthan) or it may show combined shear thinning and thickening behaviour (e.g. HPAM). In the original experiments, the polymer concentrations were adjusted such that the in situ viscosities of each solution were comparable at the expected in situ average shear rates (see Vik et al, 2018). The rheological properties of the injected "polymer" solutions in the dynamic pore network model (DPNM), were also chosen such that they had the same effective viscosity at a given injection rate, in single phase aqueous flow in the network model.
Secondary mode injections of HPAM, xanthan and glycerol (Newtonian) showed significant differences in recovery efficiency and displacement, both experimentally and numerically. All polymers increased the oil production compared to water injection. However, the more complex shear thinning/thickening polymer (HPAM) recovered most oil, while the shear-thinning xanthan produced the lowest oil recovery, and the recovery by glycerol (Newtonian) was in the middle. In accordance with experimental results, at adverse mobility ratio, the DPNM results also showed that the combined shear- thinning/thickening (HPAM) polymer improves oil recovery the most, and the shear-thinning polymer (xanthan) shows the least incremental oil recovery with the Newtonian polymer (glycerol) recovery being in the middle; i.e. excellent qualitative agreement with the experimental observations was found.
The DPNM simulations for the shear-thinning/thickening polymer show that in this case there is better front stability and increased oil mobilization at the pore level, thus leaving less oil behind. Simulations for the shear-thinning polymer show that in faster flowing bonds the average viscosity is greatly reduced and this causes enhanced water fingering compared with the Newtonian polymer (glycerol) case. The DPNM also allows us to explore phenomena such as piston-like displacements, snap-off and film flow, which at the pore level may have impact on the overall efficiency of the various fluid injection schemes. The DPNM models the effect of polymer rheology which changes the balance between the viscous/capillary forces that allows fluid microscopic diversion, and hence improved incremental recovery, to emerge.
|File Size||1 MB||Number of Pages||17|
Vik, Bartek, Kedir, Abduljelil, Kippe, Vegard. 2018. Viscous Oil Recovery by Polymer Injection; Impact of In-Situ Polymer Rheology on Water Front Stabilization Presented at the SPE Europec featured at 80th EAGE Conference and Exhibition, Copenhagen, Denmark 2018/6/8/. 10.2118/190866-MS.