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Pelican Lake Field: First Successful Application of Polymer Flooding In a Heavy-Oil Reservoir
- Eric Delamaide (IFP Technologies (Canada) Inc.) | Alain Zaitoun (Poweltec) | Gérard Renard (IFP Energies Nouvelles) | René Tabary (IFP Energies Nouvelles)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- August 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 340 - 354
- 2014.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.6.6 Directional Drilling, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex)
- heavy oil, field application, pilot test, polymer flooding
- 12 in the last 30 days
- 657 since 2007
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The Pelican Lake heavy-oil field in northern Alberta (Canada) has had a remarkable history since its discovery in the early 1970s. Initial production by use of vertical wells was poor because of the thin (less than 5 m) reservoir formation and high oil viscosity (800–80,000-plus cp). The field began to reach its full potential with the introduction of horizontal drilling and was one of the first fields worldwide to be developed with horizontal wells. However, with primary recovery at less than 10% and 6.4 billion bbl of oil in place (OIP), the prize for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is large. Initially, polymer flooding had not been considered as a viable EOR technology for Pelican Lake because of the high viscosity of the oil, until the idea came of combining it with horizontal wells.A first - unsuccessful - pilot was implemented in 1997, but the lessons drawn from that failure were learned and a second pilot was met with success in 2006. The response to polymer injection in this pilot was excellent, with oil rate increasing from 43 BOPD to more than 700 BOPD and remaining high for more than 6 years; the water cut has generally remained at less than 60%. Incremental recovery over primary production is variable but can reach as high as 25% of oil originally in place (OOIP) in places. This paper presents the history of the field and then focuses on the polymer-flooding aspects. It describes the preparation and results of the two polymer-flood pilots, as well as the extension of the flood to the rest of the field (currently in progress). Polymer flooding has generally been applied in light- or medium- gravity oil, and even currently, standard industry-screening criteria limit its use to viscosities up to 150 cp only. Pelican Lake is the first successful application of polymer flooding in much higher-viscosity oil (more than 1,200 cp), and as such, it opens a new avenue for the development of heavy-oil resources that are not accessible by thermal methods.
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