Considerations in the Recovery of Bradford Crude by Composite Solvent Slugs
- R. Sandrea (Pennsylvania State U.) | C.D. Stahl (Pennsylvania State U.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- March 1965
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 45 - 50
- 1965. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.14 Casing and Cementing
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This investigation was made to evaluate the comparative effects of the viscosity and the phase behavior of the buffer fluid in the composite solvent displacement of Bradford crude from waterflooded sandstone cores. Buffer slugs of propane, naphtha and other refined hydrocarbons exhibiting increasingly favorable viscosity ratios and decreasing solubility relationships, respectively, with Bradford crude, were used in long Berea sandstone cores. The secondary slug was isopropyl alcohol. The results indicate that higher oil recoveries are obtained for increasingly favorable phase re lat ion-ships even when these are accompanied by unfavorable viscosity ratios within the range studied. Moreover, when propane is used as a buffer slug with an adverse viscosity ratio of 36, it gives higher oil recoveries than at a similar size slug of an amyl alcohol having a viscosity ratio of 1.09. The investigation was extended to the study of the effect of flooding rate on oil recovery. Residual Bradford crude was displaced from a 6 - ft Berea sandstone core at rates varying from 0.3 to 30 ft/ day. The results show that as flooding rates were increased above or decreased below a minimum range of 1 to 2 ft/day, displacement efficiency increased considerably.
In recent years, the alcohol slug process as a means of tertiary recovery has been the subject of many investigations. Gatlin and Slobod showed the advantages of the combination solvent slugs over the previous single-slug process. The combination slugs require less total slug material to obtain similar oil recoveries. The basic combination process involves injecting a primary or buffer solvent which is preferentially oleophilic, followed in turn by a water-driven slug of isopropyl alcohol. This procedure ensures that the buffer slug, which is miscible only with the reservoir oil, displaces and replaces the oil and is in turn displaced, together with the water, by the isopropyl alcohol slug miscible with both fluids. Likewise, for those reservoir oils that show some degree of phase incompatibility with isopropyl alcohol, as does Bradford crude, a proper buffer solvent can artificially make the alcohol process technically feasible. From an economic standpoint, propane or LPG would be the most appropriate primary solvent to be used in the field; however, Taber, et al have indicated that the alcohol process becomes highly inefficient in the displacement of light hydrocarbons because of the entrapment of these hydrocarbons during the stabilized bank formation. Moreover, since materials such as propane have such low viscosities, adverse viscosity ratios with most reservoir oils would be generated, thereby possibly further reducing the efficiency of the buffer solvent. This paper presents the results of an experimental study of the comparative effects of viscosity ratio and phase relationships on the displacement efficiency of Bradford crude by means of dual solvents. The work was extended to include the effect of flooding rate on oil recovery. Rates within the range of field and laboratory values were used.
The porous media used in this study consisted of two 10-ft and one 6-ft Berea sandstone cores, 3-in. in diameter. These were cast in galvanized steel pipe of 3/12-in. ID and the annulus was filled with Armstrong cement. The 10-ft cores were assembled by connecting two 5-ft units, which were joined together by 8-in. steel flanges fitted to the pipe. Intimate contact between the two sections was obtained by inserting a thin disk of the same sandstone between the core faces. The outlet and inlet ends of the cores were covered with threaded pipe caps. The injected fluid was gravity fed to two variable-rate positive-displacement pumps.
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