An Advanced Methodology for Surfactant Based Pilot Design
- Brigitte Bazin (IFP Energies nouvelles) | Frederic Douarche (IFP - Institut Francais du Petrole) | Rene Tabary (IFP Energies nouvelles) | Sergio Pedraza (Beicip-Franlab) | Patrick Moreau (Rhodia) | Mikel Morvan (Rhodia)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Enhanced Oil Recovery Conference, 19-21 July, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2011. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant)
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After primary and secondary production of oil from a petroleum reservoir, more than half of the oil is often left in place. In order to improve the process displacement efficiency - so that one can recover some of this remaining capillary-trapped or water-by-passed oil -, it is necessary to screen enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques and to apply processes such as surfactant flooding, either Surfactant (S), Surfactant Polymer (SP) or Alkaline Surfactant Polymer (ASP), when recommended.
This paper describes an advanced methodology to select EOR surfactant based processes with special emphasis on the design of a formulation by considering real brine compositions. Salinity is the major parameter for the design of an efficient surfactant process. Salinity is defined by running reservoir numerical simulations with SARIPCH, a black oil simulator for chemical tertiary recovery. Inputs are formation water salinity and composition of waterflood brine. Strong heterogeneity of flow properties and resisual oil zones as well as reservoir geometry, for example crossflow, are considered. Results help to define the effective salinity and the salinity window for the surfactant formulation design.
Formulation design is performed through a validated High Throughput Screening (HTS) methodology using a robotic platform combined with microfluidic tools. Data on brine compatibility, oil solubilization ratio and water-oil interfacial tension (IFT) are systematically provided. Adsorption measurements are conducted in order to take into account the potential efficiency and the economics of the process. Core flood experiments are performed to validate performances of selected
chemical formulation(s). Conclusions are drawn on the key effect of salinity and on the necessity of adopting a methodology giving a first appraisal of the salinity that will be seen by the surfactant slug during its transport.
Oil recovery is produced primarily by depletion when the reservoir is put in production and then typically by waterflooding in a secondary recovery process. At the end of these processes, most of the oil is often left in the reservoir due to capillary trapping and bypassed oil which becomes increasingly difficult to produce. Tertiary processes are then envisioned to maximize oil recovery. They are selected depending on reservoir characteristics including mainly geology, temperature, oil and brines properties.
Surfactant based processes are promising methods to recover a significant amount of the trapped oil. Such processes are efficient as long as interfacial tension is low enough and mobility ratio is favorable . Alkaline surfactant polymer (ASP), surfactant polymer (SP) or surfactant (S) processes can be envisioned depending on reservoir conditions. Target InterFacial Tension (IFT) for successful chemical EOR typically lies in the range of 10-3 to 10-2 mN/m. Polymer can be added to the surfactant formulation to improve mobility control. Alkalis are added to first reduce surfactant adsorption and depending on crude composition generate in-situ soaps. High performance surfactants which exhibit ultra-low interfacial tensions between brine and oil now exist and can be produced at industrial scale. These surfactants are mainly anionic surfactant. Their performance is strongly increased by mixing two or more surfactant type.
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