Enhanced Oil Recovery in High Salinity High Temperature Reservoir by Chemical Flooding
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Studying chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in a high-temperature/high-salinity (HT/HS) reservoir will help expand the application of chemical EOR to more challenging environments. Until recently, chemical EOR was not recommended at reservoirs that contain high concentrations of divalent cations without the need to recondition the reservoir by flooding it with less saline/ less hardness brines. This strategy was found ineffective in preparing the reservoir for chemical flooding. Surfactants used for chemical flooding operating in high temperatures tend to precipitate when exposed to high concentrations of divalent cations and will partition to the oil phase at high salinities. In this study amphoteric surfactant was used to replace the traditionally used anionic surfactants. Amphoteric surfactants show higher multivalent cations tolerance with better thermal stability. A modified amphoteric surfactant with lower adsorption properties was evaluated for oil recovery. Organic alkali was used to eliminate the water softening process when preparing the chemical solution and reduce potential scale problems caused by precipitation due to incompatibility between chemical slug containing alkali and formation brine. Using organic alkali helped in minimizing softening required when preparing an alkali-surfactant-polymer (ASP) solution using seawater. Solution prepared with organic alkali showed the least injectivity decline when compared to traditional alkalis (NaOH and Na2CO3) and sodium metaborate. Adding organic alkali helped further reduce IFT values when added to surfactant solution. Amphoteric surfactant was found to produce low IFT values at low concentrations and can operate at high salinity / high hardness conditions. When mixed with polymer it improved the viscosity of the surfactant-polymer (SP) solution when prepared in high salinity mixing water (6% NaCl). When prepared in seawater and tested in reservoir temperature (95°C) no reduction in viscosity was found. Unlike the anionic surfactant that causes reduction in viscosity of the SP solution at reservoir temperature. This will not require increasing the polymer concentration in the chemical slug. Unlike the case when anionic surfactant was used and more polymer need to be added to compensate the reduction in viscosity. Berea sandstone cores show lower recovery compared to dolomite cores. It was also found that Berea cores were more sensitive to polymer concentration and type and injectivity decline can be a serious issue during chemical and polymer injection. Dolomite did not show injectivity decline during chemical and polymer flooding and was not sensitive to the polymer concentration when a polymer with low molecular weight was used. CT scan was employed to study the displacement of oil during ASP, SP, polymer and surfactant flooding. The formation and propagation oil bank was observed during these core flood experiments. ASP and SP flooding showed the highest recovery, and formation and propagation of oil bank was clearer in these experiments compared to surfactant flooding. It was found that in Berea sandstone with a permeability range of 50 to 80 md that the recovery and fluid flow was through some dominating and some smaller channels. This explained the deviation from piston-like displacement, where a sharp change in saturation in part of the flood related to the dominated channels and tapered front with late arrival when oil is recovered from the smaller channels. It was concluded that the recovery in the case of sandstone was dominated by the fluid flow and chemical propagation in the porous media not by the effectiveness of the chemical slug to lower the IFT between the displacing fluid and oil.
Bataweel, Mohammed Abdullah (2011). Enhanced Oil Recovery in High Salinity High Temperature Reservoir by Chemical Flooding. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from