A Study of Formation Plugging With Bacteria
- J.T. Raleigh (The U. Of Alberta) | D.L. Flock (The U. Of Alberta)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1965
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 201 - 206
- 1965. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 358 since 2007
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This study investigated the nature of formation plugging with bacteria and attempted to relate its characteristics to physical rock properties. Fifteen core samples of four specific formation types were defined and plugged using a commonly occurring, uniform sized dead bacteria, Bacillus subtilis. Two of the formation types were fairly uniform-grained sandstones and two were heterogeneous carbonates. The injection rate and concentration of solids in the brine were held constant during the test runs. The pore geometry factor G was a significant petro-physical rock characteristic for correlation with depth of plugging, but lacked importance as a parameter for rate of plugging. Although the G factor may not completely describe porous rock geometry for plugging predictions, for reservoirs with multi-pore systems, there is evidence that the pore geometry factor might form a basis for establishing injection water specification in more homogeneous reservoirs with only primary porosity development.
Injecting water into oil-bearing formations to increase recovery is common practice in the petroleum industry. One of the most serious operational problems involved with water injection wells is the tendency of the porous rock immediately adjacent to the injection wellbore to plug partially. This results in increased injection pressures and/or a decrease in the rate of injection. This plugging in injection wells can result from a number of causes, including bacteria contained in the injected water. The purpose of this work was to investigate the nature of injection plugging with bacteria and to attempt to relate its characteristics to physical rock properties. Many variables exist in research of this type, so, to reduce them, injection rate and concentration of bacteria in brine were held constant. The bacteria used for plugging was a uniform-sized, dead bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, a micro-organism commonly found in water, air and soils. Four specific porous rock types were plugged-two consolidated sandstones and two heterogeneous carbonates. The experimental work involved two distinct phases. The first concerned determining the physical rock properties and the second was the experimental work of actually plugging the selected core samples.
PORE GEOMETRY FACTOR
Capillary pressure is necessary to displace a wetting fluid from a capillary opening with a nonwetting fluid. The factors which govern capillary pressure are the surface or interfacial tension of the fluids involved, the system wettability and the equivalent pore radius. Thus:
Thomeer used the idea that the location and shape of the capillary pressure curve reflect characteristics of the pore structure of any porous media sample. He presented the mathematical description of capillary pressure curves and of indicated differences in pore geometry of samples.
where G = pore geometry factor pc = capillary pressure pd = displacement pressure (Vb)pc = fractional bulk volume occupied by the displacing fluid at any capillary pressure (Vb)px = fractional bulk volume occupied by the displacing fluid at infinite pressure or total inter-connected pore volumes.
The shape of the curve is defined by the pore geometry factor G. The curve shape is related directly to the sorting and interconnection of the pores of the sample. The location of an infinite number of curves can be defined by the same asymptotes. However, these curves differ in shape, each curve being described by a specific value of G. Thus, the description of a curve is unique when, in addition to the position of its asymptotes, its shape is defined. These curves can be used graphically to determine the characteristic parameters of any arbitrarily located curve. Those parameters that can be approximated from any capillary pressure curve are: (1) total interconnected pore volume, represented by (Vb)px; (2) extrapolated displacement pressure, the abscissa axis; and (3) pore geometry factor, by the curve shape.
PROPERTIES OF BRINE AND BACTERIA The fluid used throughout this study was an aqueous solution of sodium chloride, 25,000 ppm by weight. The addition of salt to fresh water was intended to eliminate clay swelling in the sandstone cores and to retard leaching in the limestone cores.
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