Steam Flooding of Naturally Fractured Reservoirs: Basic Concepts and Recovery Mechanisms
- A. Mollaei (IOR Research Institute) | B. Maini (University of Calgary)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2010
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 65 - 70
- 2010. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.6 Natural Gas, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.4.10 Microbial Methods, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 5.3.9 Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 5.8.6 Naturally Fractured Reservoir, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.3.3 Aspaltenes, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.8.8 Gas-condensate reservoirs, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.8.7 Carbonate Reservoir
- naturally fractured reservoirs, in situ CO2 generation, steamflooding
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A review of important issues in steam injection in naturally fractured reservoirs (NFRs) is presented. The effect of temperature on physical properties of crude oils and rocks and the thermo-chemical alteration of crude oil are discussed.
The recovery of oil from NFRs can be modelled as a two step process: first the oil is expelled from the matrix blocks through mechanisms that impose a pressure gradient within each matrix block and then it is swept through the fracture network to a production well by mechanisms that impose a pressure gradient within the fracture network. The recovery mechanisms associated with steam injection in NFRs and their characteristic times are presented. The most important recovery mechanism in matrix blocks is differential thermal expansion between oil and the matrix pore volume and the strongest mechanism in fracture network is the reduction of viscosity ratio (µo/µw). The matrix oil recovery mechanisms are relatively independent of oil gravity, making steam an equally attractive recovery process in fractured light and heavy oil reservoirs.
The mechanism and impact of CO2 generation during steam injection in carbonate reservoirs are discussed. The rate of CO2 generation is controlled by the rate of heat conduction from fracture into the matrix. For a specific reservoir the rate of heat conduction is a function of temperature and injection rate of steam and these can be optimized to make use of the in situ generated CO2.
Heavy oil in naturally fractured carbonate reservoirs is an important resource, which accounts for one-third of total heavy oil worldwide. Many fractured reservoirs in the Middle East, former Soviet Union and Canada are candidates for thermal heavy oil recovery. Steam injection processes, which have been used extensively to recover heavy oil from non-fractured reservoirs, were not applied to fractured reservoirs until recently. This was primarily based on the belief that the injected steam would bypass the oil through the fractures and would be ineffective in recovering the oil. However, the results of experimental, theoretical and pilot tests which have appeared in the literature since early 1980s, show the feasibility of heavy oil recovery from fractured reservoirs using steam injection.
|File Size||264 KB||Number of Pages||6|
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