Enhanced Oil Recovery Through the Use of Chemicals-Part I
- W.B. Gogarty (Marathon Oil Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 1983
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,581 - 1,590
- 1983. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.4 Scale, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 6.3.6 Chemical Storage and Use, 1.8 Formation Damage, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 2.2.2 Perforating, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 5.4 Enhanced Recovery
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Distinguished Author Series articles are general, descriptiverepresentations that summarize the state of the art in an area of technology bydescribing recent developments for readers who are not specialists in thetopics discussed. Written by individuals recognized as experts in the area,these articles provide key references to more definitive work and presentspecific details only to illustrate the technology. Purpose: to informthe general readership of recent advances in various areas of petroleumengineering.
Chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) includes processes in which chemicalsare injected to improve oil recovery. Chemical methods are one of threecategories of EOR, the others being thermal and miscible. Table 1 shows thedifferent processes in these categories as defined by the Crude Oil WindfallProfit Tax Act of 1980. A comparison of field project activity in the threecategories is shown in Table 2. Thermal activity is the highest, followed bychemical. Note that the number of chemical projects more than doubled between1980 and 1982. Miscible CO2 injection accounts for most of the misciblecategory. Projects in the chemical category of Table 2 are broken down furtherin Table 3 in terms of the three chemical EOR methods. Micellar/polymerprojects are those in which surfactant is injected into the formation. projectsare those in which surfactant is injected into the formation. Polymer projectsrefer to a spectrum of uses including near-wellbore Polymer projects refer to aspectrum of uses including near-wellbore treatments, complete polymer-augmentedwaterfloods, and a combination of both. Caustic refers to projects where alkaliis injected to increase pH and to produce surfactants in situ. With all threechemical EOR methods, activity has increased significantly between 1980 and1982. In Part 1, each of the three chemical methods is discussed separately.The history of each method is presented along with field projects andlaboratory developments. In Part 2 (to appear next month), reservoirheterogeneities are considered in relation to their effect on processperformance. Next, information is presented on chemical flooding performance.Next, information is presented on chemical flooding simulators, and proceduresare described for their use. Then, U.S. government incentive programs and theireffect on chemical EOR development are considered. Finally, the risk vs. rewardassociated with chemical EOR is illustrated by some economic calculations.
Two kinds of surfactant systems are being developed for this chemicalmethod. Work on the first system began in the late 1920's; it involves a largePV (up to 50%) of a low concentration (less than 2.5%) active surfactantsolution. This development has led to the so-called low-tension waterfloodprocess. Most often, polymer is used in the surfactant solution to increase itsviscosity, thereby giving mobility control to the system. Development of thesecond system began in the late 1950's. Here a small PV (5 to 15%) of ahigh-concentration (5 to 12%) active surfactant is used. The small-PVdevelopment led to patent processes such as Maraflood (TM) and Uniflood (TM).Both systems are followed by polymer solution for mobility control. During the1960's and early 1970's, surfactant/polymer field tests in the U.S. mostly usedsingle-pattern well configurations. The area covered in these projects wasrelatively small. For example, 3/4-acre pilot tests with one injector and fourproducers were not uncommon.
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