Single-Well Tracer Method To Measure Residual Oil Saturation
- J.F. Tomich (Esso Production Research Co.) | R.L. Dalton Jr. (Esso Production Research Co.) | H.A. Deans (Rice U.) | L.K. Shallenberger (Esso Production Research Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1973
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 211 - 218
- 1973. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 3.1.1 Beam and related pumping techniques, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 5.6.2 Core Analysis, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.3.4 Reduction of Residual Oil Saturation, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 5.6.5 Tracers, 2.2.2 Perforating, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 3.1 Artificial Lift Systems, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.1.2 Faults and Fracture Characterisation, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.5.2 Core Analysis, 5.6.1 Open hole/cased hole log analysis, 3.1.6 Gas Lift
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A new single-well tracer method has been developed to measure residual oil saturations of watered-out formations within a precision of 2 to 3 PV percent. This in-situ method makes an average measurement over a large percent. This in-situ method makes an average measurement over a large reservoir volume by using trace chemicals dissolved in formation water. The technique is applicable in both sandstones and limestones for a wide range of conditions.
Residual oil saturation is a basic item of data for many aspects of reservoir engineering. This number is required for normal material-balance calculations. Residual oil saturation is also extremely important in determining the economic attractiveness of a planned waterflood or a proposed tertiary recovery operation. Finally, in some areas proration is related to attainable residual oil saturation. Core analysis and well logging, the two most widely used methods for measuring residual oil saturations, are subject to a variety of well known limitations. One principal common fault is that both methods yield values that are averages over very small reservoir volumes. The chemical tracer method described in this paper samples a much larger volume of reservoir around a single well, The residual oil saturation measured represents an average over as much as several thousand barrels of pore space. Because this method makes an in-situ measurement, additional limitations of other methods are also avoided. In the single-well tracer technique, a primary tracer bank consisting of ethyl acetate tracer dissolved in formation water is injected into a formation that is at residual oil saturation. This bank is followed by a bank of tracer-free water. The well is then shut in to permit a portion of the ethyl acetate to hydrolyze to permit a portion of the ethyl acetate to hydrolyze to form ethanol, the secondary tracer. Finally, the well is produced and the concentration profiles of the two tracers are monitored. Ethyl acetate is soluble in both the water and oil phases, but ethanol is, for all practical purposes, phases, but ethanol is, for all practical purposes, soluble only in the water phase. As a result, the ethanol travels at a higher velocity and returns to the wellbore earlier than does the ethyl acetate. The difference in arrival times can be used to determine the residual oil saturation through the use of computer programs that simulate the tracer test (the greater the programs that simulate the tracer test (the greater the oil saturation, the greater the difference in arrival times). Field tests have demonstrated the reliability and applicability of this technique.
This paper describes the tracer method, gives results of field experience, and presents a mathematical description of the process. One field application is described in detail, followed by a discussion of the scope and limitations of the technique.
General Description of the Tracer Method Theoretical Basis
The chemical tracer method depends on chromatographic retardation of a tracer chemical that is soluble both in formation water and in oil. Considering a system in which the oil is stationary (or at residual saturation) and the formation water is flowing at a -> velocity V w, the local velocity of a typical tracer molecule is -> -> Vi = Vwfwi..................................(1)
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