Methodological Approach for Analyzing the Impact of Chemical EOR on Surface Processes
- J Francois Argillier (IFP Energies nouvelles) | Christine Dalmazzone (IFPEN) | Isabelle Henaut (IFPEN) | Mouhamad Mouazen (IFPEN) | Christine Noik (IFPEN) | Majdi BOUFARGUINE (IFPEN)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE International Symposium on Oilfield Chemistry, 8-10 April, The Woodlands, Texas, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2013, Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.3 Aspaltenes, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 4.1.3 Dehydration, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 5.3.4 Reduction of Residual Oil Saturation, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.4.4 Reduction of Residual Oil Saturation, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 3.2.6 Produced Water Management, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex)
- chemical EOR, Polymers, Surfactants, Separation, Water treatment
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One important aspect that is generally neglected in chemically-based enhanced recovery technology concerns the impact of the EOR chemicals on the produced water cycle. After the chemical breakthrough, part of the EOR chemicals will be recovered in the produced fluids and may strongly impact oil/water separation and water treatment surface processes.
This paper describes a specific laboratory methodology designed to study the impact of ASP-type chemicals on produced fluids treatment efficiency and will highlight the impact of polymers and sulfonated EOR surfactants on oil/water separation and water treatment efficiency. The methodology consists in a first step in evaluating the risk of stable emulsion formation and assessing the impact of chemical EOR on separation efficiency. Produced fluids are formulated and characterized (different water cuts, type of agitation, EOR chemicals,...). The stability of the different emulsified systems is analyzed over time. Then the efficiency of separation of water-in-oil (w/o) emulsions is determined for the three main types of dehydration processes: gravity separation, chemical demulsification, electrical dehydration. The quality of the separated water is systematically reported. In a second step, impact of chemical EOR on produced water treatment efficiency is studied. Produced waters are formulated and characterized (different oil concentrations, simulated back produced EOR chemicals,...). Behavior of theses systems are then studied using here an induced gas flotation lab column and membrane filtration. Turbidity of the water and concentration of oil in water is monitored as a function of time to quantify the impact of the EOR chemicals on treatment efficiency. This methodology will be illustrated on a heavy oil in presence of EOR chemicals (HPAM, sulfonated surfactants). The results show that these chemicals can have a strong impact on surface processes. This work emphasises that water management is an important challenge for chemical EOR that needs an integrated approach and should be studied upfront.
As a result of the recent increases in crude oil prices, a number of chemically-based enhanced recovery methods are being reconsidered by companies around the globe (Watkins 2009, Alvarado 2010). Among classical chemical EOR technics, 1) polymer (P) flooding involves injection of a predetermined volume of polymer into the reservoir in order to enhance recovery through a better sweep efficiency, 2) surfactant (S) based flooding involves injection of surfactant based formulations to enhance recovery through reduction of residual oil saturation (Sor). Depending on the reservoir properties, combination of the 2 processes can be attractive, the surfactant with its IFT reduction effect reduces the Sor of the system and the polymer through its mobility control effect increases the sweep efficiency. Alkali can also be used (as in an ASP flooding) to decrease the adsorption of the surfactant and the polymer on the rock surface and activate indigenous surfactants present in the oil in the case of acidic or heavy crude oils. The entire design and production chain required to bring these technologies from the bench to the field has been the focus of research for several decades and there are an increasing number of chemical EOR projects at different stages. But one important aspect that is generally neglected concerns the impact of EOR chemicals on water management.
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