The Effect of Connate Water on the Efficiency of High-Viscosity Waterfloods
- D.L. Kelley (Texas Petroleum Research Committee) | B.H. Caudle (Texas Petroleum Research Committee)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 1966
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,481 - 1,486
- 1966. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors
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High-viscosity water injection has been proposed for use in reservoirs containing high-viscosity crude oils. Previous publications have largely ignored the possible effects of the connate water on the proposed process. This paper describes experimental work which indicates that the connate water will be forced ahead of the injected water to form a bank of low-viscosity water. This decreases the oil recovery which would be expected if such a bank were not formed. These effects are shown for a range of fluid mobilities and connate-water saturations for a five-spot injection system. In general, oil recoveries using viscous water are significantly greater than for untreated water even though they are less than would be expected if no connate water bank were formed.
The effect of mobility ratio on the oil recovery of waterfloods has been known for many years. Muskat first pointed out that the fluid mobilities (k/ mu) in the oil and water regions would affect the performance of the waterflood, and he estimated the general effect of these variables. Since this early work, studies of the effect of mobility ratio on secondary recovery have been reported where mathematical, potentiometric and scaled flow models were used. These studies have shown that a reduction in the mobility ratio between the oil and the displacing fluid would cause additional oil recovery when waterflooding reservoirs containing viscous crude oils. Studies reported by Pye and Sandiford have indicated that chemicals to increase injection water viscosity are now available and can be used to reduce the over-all mobility ratio of a waterflood. Where mobility ratios are controlled by the injection of viscous fluids, the connate water of the reservoir can play an important part in the displacement of the reservoir oil. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of the connate-water saturation in waterfloods where viscous waters are used for injection.
DISPLACEMENT OF THE CONNATE WATER
Russell, Morgan and Muskat were the first to recognize the mobility of connate waters in waterflooding. They conducted waterfloods on oil-saturated cores containing 20 and 35 per cent irreducible water saturations, and found that from 80 to 90 per cent of the "irreducible" water was produced after only one pore volume of water was injected. However, their experiments were conducted at rates of flow significantly higher than those ordinarily occurring in waterfloods. Also, the cores were only from 4.0 to 8.5 cm long. Brown studied a 100-cm linear sand pack which had been prepared to contain connate water and oil. He used 140- and 1.8-cp oils with injection water of essentially the same viscosity as the connate water. He found that all of the connate water was displaced by the injection water in both cases. However, the injection volumes required for complete displacement of the connate water were considerably higher in the case of the more viscous oil. To verify the results of the foregoing experiment, a 10-ft-long linear model was constructed by packing 250-300 mesh sand in a 1/2-in. diameter nylon tube. The model was evacuated, saturated with a brine of 1-cp viscosity, and flooded with a 41-cp mineral oil to the irreducible water saturation of 10.9 per cent. The model was then waterflooded by the injection of a water solution which had an apparent viscosity of 42.6 cp. The solution consisted of 0.5 per cent methylcellulose in distilled water. The viscosities of the oil and connate water were measured with an Ostwald viscosimeter. The viscosity of the polymer solution was calculated by Darcy's law using pressures measured during actual flow conditions. The ratio of the mobility in the oil region to the mobility in the injection-water region was approximately 0.32. The mobility ratio of the oil region to the connate-water bank was approximately 14. The mobility ratio between the connate-water bank and the injection-water region was 0.024. Approximately 84.5 per cent of the recoverable oil was produced before water breakthrough. Immediately following breakthrough, oil and connate water were produced at an increasing water-oil ratio until the viscous injection water broke through. At viscous-water breakthrough, 96 per cent of the original connate water had been produced. After breakthrough of the viscous water, there was no additional production of connate water or oil.
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