Cyclic Steam Stimulation Results in High Water Retention for Kuwaiti Heavy-Oil Field
- Adam Wilson (JPT Special Publications Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 80 - 82
- 2016. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 93 since 2007
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This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 184154, “High Water Retention in Cyclic-Steam-Stimulation Wells of Kuwait Heavy-Oil Field,” by Anil Kumar Jain, Amal Al-Sane, and Fatma Ahmad, Kuwait Oil Company, prepared for the 2016 SPE International Heavy Oil Conference and Exhibition, Mangaf, Kuwait, 6–8 December. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) is one of the principal enhanced-oil-recovery methods for heavy oil. CSS was performed in some of the wells of a heavy-oil field in Kuwait. Multiple cycles were applied in these wells. However, the total water produced in each cycle was much less than expected. This paper presents experiments that were conducted to find possible reasons for the high water retention.
Hysteresis in CSS
Hysteresis in drainage and imbibition nonwetting-phase capillary pressure and relative permeability curves is an established phenomenon. Hysteresis of capillary pressure and relative permeability to water has a great effect on heavy-oil recovery and producing water/oil ratios (WORs) during cyclic steam stimulation. Produced WOR calculated without considering hysteresis will be unrealistically high relative to that observed in the fields.
During water injection, relative permeability to water increases, and, during the production phase, it decreases; however, it does not follow the same path. Relative permeability to water during the production phase is always less than that during the injection phase at the same water saturation. Irreducible water saturation during the production phase is more than the initial water saturation before injection. The difference between these two water saturations is water retention.
The same phenomenon occurs when CSS is applied. As a result of hysteresis and temperature, irreducible water saturation does not reach the initial water saturation. When steam is injected into a formation, the formation becomes increasingly water-wet. In subsequent cycles, steam injection reduces the oil saturation and increases the water saturation around the wellbore. Relative permeability to oil at high water saturation is also reduced. In later cycles, increasingly more water is produced than oil, and, therefore, the WOR increases. The produced water consists of both the condensed steam and the formation water. After steam is injected, fresh water is produced first, and slowly the salinity of the produced water increases. Initially, some of the condensed steam returns, but, later, formation water is produced with the condensed steam. If the well produces for long enough, eventually only formation water will be produced.
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