Mathematical Modeling of Foam Flooding
- A.W. Fisher (U.K. Atomic Energy Authority) | R.W.S. Foulser (U.K. Atomic Energy Authority) | S.G. Goodyear (U.K. Atomic Energy Authority)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE/DOE Enhanced Oil Recovery Symposium, 22-25 April, Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 1990. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.3.4 Reduction of Residual Oil Saturation, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.4 Enhanced Recovery, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 1.2.3 Rock properties, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation
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In studying the flow of foam in unconsolidated porous media Khatib et al have shown that the destruction of foam lamellae depends on the gas/surfactant solution flowrates, fluid mobilities, and rock capillary pressure. This paper examines this flow regime, which pressure. This paper examines this flow regime, which we call the coalescence regime, in more detail. We have found that all published data referring to foam flow in consolidated media are consistent with a generalization of Khatib's model. This new model is described in this paper.
Two and three phase steady-state foam mobility models have been developed which exploit the dominant role of the foam coalescence mechanism. These models are based on published data for foam flow. The mobility models are then used in a finite difference, three phase, multi-component simulator. The simulator is phase, multi-component simulator. The simulator is applied to show that it can reproduce the generic transient foam behaviour observed in core floods. Calculations are then used to examine some of the important issues that have to be considered when designing field applications of foam flooding.
Gas injection is often considered for EOR because the residual oil saturation to gas may be less than that to water. However, the high mobility of gas can lead to low sweep efficiency and this often outweighs the improvement in microscopic performance. One way of reducing the gas mobility is by introducing it in the form of a foam.
Laboratory floods in core material have demonstrated that this approach may be successful. Surfactant systems exist which freely generate foam and lead to improved sweep efficiencies, although impracticably large pressure gradients are often produced. The control of foam strength is therefore crucial to its practical application as a mobile flooding agent. practical application as a mobile flooding agent. One approach to the simulation of foam flow is the population balance model, in which foam mobilities population balance model, in which foam mobilities are deduced from first principles using pore scale models for bubble generation, coalescence and movement. At this level many parameters are needed to describe the pore scale phenomena, and these are the subject of on-going theoretical and experimental research. If the bubble population balance model is used at a more pragmatic level, adjusting the parameters of the model to fit the data, the model has parameters of the model to fit the data, the model has many degrees of freedom, resulting in a poor predictive capacity. predictive capacity. An alternative approach to the transient modelling of foam flow is to use steady-state foam phase mobilities, which can be measured directly from core flood experiments, in a conventional multi-component simulator. This is entirely analogous to using relative permeabilities to model transient two Phase oil-water flow, rather than population balance models for oil ganglia.
Experiments in unconsolidated porous media (sand and bead packs) show that steady-state foam flow is often in the foam coalescence regime, identified above as the flow region of interest for mobile foam floods. In this regime, increased gas flow is accommodated by a balance between a constant foam generation rate and an increased rate of foam destruction, sufficient to maintain the capillary pressure at a fixed critical value.
For consolidated porous media, theoretical considerations discussed below predict that pore scale inhomogeneities give rise to a modification in the coalescence behaviour. When examined, all the available data on foam flow through consolidated media suggests that flow occurs in this modified form of the foam coalescence regime.
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