Effects of Nano-Sized Metals on Viscosity Reduction of Heavy Oil/Bitumen During Thermal Applications
- Yousef Hamedi Shokrlu (University of Alberta) | Tayfun Babadagli (U. of Alberta)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Canadian Unconventional Resources and International Petroleum Conference, 19-21 October, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2010. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.1.9 Heavy Oil Upgrading, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 4.3.3 Aspaltenes, 5.4.10 Microbial Methods, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.4 Enhanced Recovery
- 2 in the last 30 days
- 1,646 since 2007
- Show more detail
- View rights & permissions
|SPE Member Price:||USD 5.00|
|SPE Non-Member Price:||USD 28.00|
Conventional (steam injection) and unconventional (electrical/electromagnetic heating) heavy oil/bitumen recovery methods require a high amount of energy. The efficiency of these methods can be increased by improving the energy transfer to the oil for viscosity reduction. It has recently been shown that micron-sized metal particles improve the efficiency of some ex-situ processes such as coal liquefaction and pyrolysis, heavy oil upgrading, oil shale recovery, and heavy oil viscosity reduction.
This idea, with some modifications, can be applied to reduce the energy input of the aforementioned recovery methods for more economical heavy oil/bitumen production. The major contribution of the metal particles is expected to improve viscosity reduction by reducing the amount of the required energy. The objective of this work is to clarify the mechanics of additional viscosity reduction using nano-size metals during thermal applications through a series of experiments.
In the absence of electromagnetic fields, exothermic chemical reactions and thermal conductivity enhancement are the two important functions of metals to cause a reduction of oil viscosity. Two sets of experiments were conducted to investigate these mechanisms. Different metal types including iron, nickel and copper with different sizes and their different compounds were selected. The viscosity of oil samples, mixed with these particles, was measured. The tests were repeated at different temperatures. Also, the effect of the metal particles on heat transfer enhancement was examined. Nano-sized particles were found to have a remarkable effect on heat transfer through heavy oil.
The experiments provided a good understanding of the ongoing mechanisms that would lead to a viscosity reduction by the addition of metal particles. The concentration, type, and size of the particles were found to be highly critical on viscosity reduction. The optimal values of these parameters were identified. The results and observations are expected to be useful in further studies and applications as to the efficiency improvement of the thermal applications for heavy-oil/bitumen recovery.
Due to the growing world oil demand and scarcity of the conventional oil reserves, increasing attention is turning towards huge unconventional resources such as heavy-oil and oil sands deposits due to their enormous volume and worldwide distribution. Production from these reservoirs is challenging owing to the immobile nature of heavy oil and bitumen and reducing the in-situ viscosity of the oil is considered as the main objective of any recovery process.
Heavy-oil or bitumen recovery requires extensive reservoir heating either using conventional methods such as steam and air injection or unconventional ones that apply electrical or electromagnetic methods. Steam applications are costly due to infrastructure and operational cost, and environmental impacts eventually yielding a high SOR (steam oil ratio). Considerable attention was devoted to find a suitable substitution for steam stimulation to be applied for uneconomic cases, or to improve steam injection technique in a way to reduce the SOR. Recently, electric/electromagnetic heating methods have been proposed and tested as an alternative, especially in thin bitumen reservoirs and oil shale deposits (Pizzaro, 1990; Davidson, 1995; Sahni, 2000; Hascakir, 2008). Although they reported technically successful results, improvements are still required to have economically feasible projects.
The main idea behind the efficiency improvement is to reduce the cost of energy used to heat the reservoir, either with steam or electric/electromagnetic heating. In other words, the reduction of heavy-oil or bitumen viscosity should be achieved in a quick and economic way. To improve the efficiency of steam applications, a better understanding of the reactions occurring between oil, water and sand which result in heavy oil/bitumen viscosity reduction is required.
|File Size||175 KB||Number of Pages||10|