Effects of Gravity, Foaminess, and Pressure Drawdown on Primary-Depletion Recovery Factor in Heavy-Oil Systems
- Ahmed Alshmakhy (ConocoPhillips) | Brij B. Maini (University of Calgary)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 449 - 456
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.7.2 Recovery Factors
- 3 in the last 30 days
- 443 since 2007
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The unusually high primary recovery factors (RFs) observed in numerous heavy-oil reservoirs are often attributed to foamy oil flow (i.e., the non-Darcy flow involving formation and flow of gas-in-oil dispersion). It occurs when the wells are produced aggressively at high drawdown pressures that led to conditions in which the viscous forces become sufficiently strong to overcome the capillary forces in pushing dispersed bubbles through pore throats. The role of gravitational forces in generating such dispersed flow has not been studied adequately. This work was intended to evaluate the contribution of gravitational forces in primary depletion of heavy-oil formations under foamy flow conditions.
Primary-depletion tests were conducted in a 200-cm-long sandpack that was held in either horizontal or vertical orientation. The results of horizontal depletion tests were compared with the depletion tests conducted with the sandpack in the vertical direction. Vertical depletions showed better recoveries at slower depletion rates compared with horizontal depletions.
The RFs of both horizontal and vertical depletions were correlated against the average drawdown pressure available to move the oil. It was found that the RF shows a strong dependence on the average drawdown pressure. It was also found that the curve of RF vs. average drawdown pressure moves slightly toward higher recoveries in the presence of an added foaming agent (i.e., with increased oil foaminess).
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