The Combustion Recovery Process - Principles and Practice
- A.J. Dingley (Socony Mobil Oil of Canada Ltd.)
- Document ID
- Petroleum Society of Canada
- Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 1965
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 196 - 205
- 1965.Petroleum Society of Canada
- 1.6.10 Coring, Fishing, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 2.1.1 Perforating, 2.1.3 Sand/Solids Control, 2.1.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation, 5.4 Enhanced Recovery, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.6 Compressors, Engines and Turbines, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion
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It has long been recognized that increasing the temperature of oil-in-placein a reservoir is a means of increasing the recovery obtainable fromlow-gravity oil accumulations. However, the combustion recovery process was notfield-tested until 1952. Since then, the process has enjoyed increasingpopularity, and, to date, some hundred projects have been started.
The reservoir mechanics of a combustion drive are complex, involving, asthey do, a fluid displacement, a heat transfer and a chemical reaction. Air isinjected continuously into the oil-bearing formation, and the oil around theinjection wellbore is ignited. This ignition can be achieved spontaneously,when the oil oxidizes rapidly, or it can be induced by pre-heating the air to ahigh temperature just prior to its entering the formation. A commondisplacement/combustion front is then moved through the reservoir toward theproducing wells. This process is known as forward combustion. In the reversecombustion process, oil around the production wells is ignited and thecombustion front is moved countercurrent to the air injection.
When considering the applicability of the combustion recovery process to aspecific reservoir, the first step should be the rough estimation ofperformance based on data from various correlations of reservoir and fluidproperties. If this is encouraging, laboratory burning tests should then becarried out. These consist of packing a steel tube with core materialcontaining reservoir fluids in their correct proportions. A burning front ispassed through this pack. Data obtained from this experiment enable the fueldeposit and unit air requirement to be calculated.
The areal sweep efficiency likely to be achieved in the reservoir can beobtained from potentiometric model data. The fuel deposit data obtained in thelaboratory enable the displacement efficiency to be calculated, and so, havingestimated the invasion efficiency, it is possible to calculate the oil recoveryfrom the swept zone. The average oil displacement rate can then be calculatedby relating the unit oil recovery, the unit air requirement and the airinjection rate. The injection pressure requirement for a given air injectionrate can be estimated from flow formulae. However, the best method is to run aninjection test in the field.
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