Oil Recovery from Watered-Out Stratified Porous Systems Using Water-Driven Solvent Slugs
- Albert K. Csaszar (The Pure Oil Co.) | L.W. Holm (The Pure Oil Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- June 1963
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 643 - 650
- 1963. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.4.9 Miscible Methods, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors
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This paper describes our investigation of a post-water-flood, oil recovery process which consists of injecting a slug of propane followed by water. Also described are the results obtained by applying a modification of the process in which gas was injected ahead of the water. Under the conditions of the latter experiments, miscibility was not achieved between the propane and gas. Preliminary experiments oil uniform, watered-out sandstone cores showed that all oil bank could be formed and produced by applying this recovery process. However, since reservoirs are not uniform in structure, the process also was applied to porous media containing irregular porosity and to stratified sand systems. As a supplement to the experimental work, a mathematical procedure was developed for calculating the performance of the recovery process in a bounded, layered, porous system with cross flow between layers. As a specific example, the method was applied to predict the performance of the recovery process in a 6-ft long, twolayer, stratified, unconsolidated sand model for comparison with experimental data. The calculations were programed for the IBM 704 computer. The equations and calculational procedure presented can be extended to systems containing any number of randomly distributed permeability variations or any number of parallel layers.
The problem of recovering the oil that remains in a reservoir which has been waterflooded is receiving considerable attention now as an increasing number of water floods reach an economic limit. A large number of the waterflood projects are in shallow reservoirs which are at pressures below 1,000 psi. It has been demonstrated in the laboratory that post-waterflood oil can be recovered by miscible displacement, but the LPG-gas, miscible flood and the enriched gas drive cannot be applied effectively at pressures below 1,000 psi. Only a few reports have appeared in the literature on low pressure, partially miscible recovery methods. However, it is possible to use LPG in a partially miscible displacement process in a reservoir where pressures of 200 to 1,000 psi can be achieved. Under these pressures and at normal reservoir temperatures, propane is miscible with the oil; but, of course, gas or water used to drive the propane slug would not be miscible with the propane. Because of the lack of complete miscibility, it has generally been concluded that excessive amounts of propane would be required to recover oil and that such a recovery method would not be economical; however, we have found that under conditions present in certain reservoirs, an immiscible recovery process can be applied effectively. The oil saturation in reservoirs at the economic limit of waterflood projects is usually in the range of 20 to 35 per cent of the pore space. A certain portion of this oil is left trapped by water in various size pores of the rock, but a good part of this so-called "residual" oil can be present in the less permeable lenses or layers of the reservoir rock which were by-passed to some degree by the water. The oil in these permeability traps can be produced only if favorable pressure gradients are formed in the reservoirs between adjacent zones of high and low permeabilities. A low viscosity liquid, miscible with the oil in place, which is driven by water through a stratified or heterogeneous porous system can aid in the development of these favorable pressure gradients. The oil that is released thereby from the permeability traps can be recovered by the subsequent water flood. Studies were made to determine how much oil could be recovered from homogeneous and stratified cores and models, which had been water flooded, by injecting a slug of propane and driving it with water. The effect of injecting a slug of gas ahead of the water was also determined. Most of the work described herein was done with the propane-water combination; unless otherwise specified, no gas was injected. The principal objectives of the investigation were to determine (1) if an oil bank could be formed and (2) what ratio of oil recovered to propane injected would be obtained. A further objective was to develop a method for calculating fluid-flow performance in stratified systems which would account for fluid transfer between zones in hydrodynamic communication but of different permeabilities.
In a theoretical study of the recovery process, analytical expressions were derived to calculate the pressure distribution, the fluid flux in longitudinal (parallel to layers) and transversal (across the layers) directions, and the fluid distribution at any point in the system.
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