A Method of Predicting Oil Recovery in a Five-Spot Steamflood
- L.G. Davies (Texaco Maracaibo) | I.H. Silberberg (Texas Petroleum Research Committee, The U. Of Texas)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 1968
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,050 - 1,058
- 1968. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.3.4 Reduction of Residual Oil Saturation, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.4.10 Microbial Methods, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 5.7.2 Recovery Factors
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This paper presents a method of predicting the recovery and performance of a five-spot steam injection project. in which a realistic approach to pattern sweepout efficiencies is made. Published methods for radial systems were modified for the five-spot pattern by approximating the streamlines with straight lines radiating from the injection well and then converging to the producing well. In each radial segment, the position of the steam front and the temperature profile ahead of the steam front were determined by heat balance equations. which included an estimation of heat losses to surrounding formations. The location of the saturations behind the cold water front was determined from a Buckley-Leverett solution to the material balance equation. Results from this program show steamflood recovery in a five-spot pattern to be considerably less than that predicted for true linear or radial flow systems. For a specific reservoir containing 900-cp oil, a steamflood in a purely radial flow system was predicted to recover more than 75 percent of the original oil in place when 2 PV of water had been injected as steam. A fivespot steamflood with otherwise identical properties was predicted to recover 10 percent of the original oil in place when 0.15 PV of water had been injected as steam and to recover almost no oil thereafter. A cold water five-spot flood in this system was predicted to recover approximately 10 percent of the oil in place with 1 PV of water injected. For a five-spot pattern in an example reservoir with 10-cp oil, steam injection similarly showed lower ultimate recovery than water injection but no improvement in recovery rate.
The thermal recovery method considered in this study is steam injection in a five-spot pattern. Pattern steam injection has been given little attention in the past, possibly because of some rather obvious disadvantages. Unless steam temperature is maintained throughout the entire swept area, the process will revert to simple waterflood with all heat being lost prior to reaching the oil bank. Also, the oil viscosity reduction takes place near the steam front and not around the producing wellbore, so that low producing rates must still be endured. This is the reason for the success of the steam stimulation, or cyclic injection, in which the fluids are produced from the same well used for injection. On the other hand, steamflooding can offer some advantages. Oil displacement is by four methods: (1) mechanical displacement by the condensed water, (2) viscosity reduction of the crude oil, (3) swelling of the crude oil, and (4) distillation of the crude oil in the steam zone. Although dependent upon the crude, laboratory experiments have shown displacements up to 80 percent by steamflooding. In addition, steam is a good heat transport medium, since it is cheap and has a high heat content.
Previous publications have reported methods for predicting recovery in a steamflood for linear and radial systems. Since no pattern sweep efficiency is taken into consideration, the recovery even from a radial system must be greater than from more realistic geometries such as the very common five-spot patterns. Probably the broadest coverage is given by Willman et al., who reported experimental results and offered a method of predicting recovery for a radial flow system. They concluded that both hot water and steam injection recover more oil than an ordinary waterflood, and that steam injection could yield recoveries "as much as 100 percent greater than by water flood." They also concluded that both the heat requirements for a reservoir and the residual oil remaining in the reservoir after steam injection were independent of the amount of oil originally in place, that short exploitation times were desirable, and that a high percentage of net sand in the reservoir with a high initial oil saturation was desirable. The method assumes that the flood occurs in three concentric cylindrical zones: (1) an inner steam zone, (2) a central hot water zone, and (3) an outer cold waterflood zone. Displacement in the steam zone is based on laboratory-determined residual oil saturations while the hot water and cold water zones use the conventional Buckley-Leverett equations.
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