Alkali Metal Silicides: A New Material for Heavy-Oil Production Processes
- Paul H. Krumrine (SiGNa Chemistry) | Michael Lefenfeld (SiGNa Chemistry) | Gregory A. Romney (Fifty Mile)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- February 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 22 - 31
- 2016.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- thermal, chemical, immiscible gas, water-reactive, heavy oil, unconventional oil, alkali metal silicides
- 9 in the last 30 days
- 436 since 2007
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Alkali-metal silicides are a new class of materials that provide thermal, chemical, and immiscible gas-drive benefits in one treatment. Not previously known in oilfield applications, these materials are energy-dense chemicals that generate heat, hydrogen, and an alkali silicate after reaction with reservoir water. The reaction is only limited by the availability of water in any form; in a closed environment, one can generate pressures >10,000 psi (>68.9 MPa). One can disperse alkali-metal silicides in various hydrocarbon fluids to facilitate placement deep in the reservoir, or one can coat them to allow a time-delayed reaction. One can mill the powders to submicron size for optimum injectivity in high-permeability reservoirs or zones. This combination of reaction-product properties makes silicides particularly applicable for the recovery of heavier crude oils. Because the chemical reaction occurs in situ, silicides are not subject to the thermal-inefficiency limitations of conventional thermal-enhanced-oil-recovery processes at depth. Further, the resulting hydrogen and silicate reaction products represent a "green" chemistry approach that may reduce the environmental impact of oil-recovery operations. This paper discusses the potential impacts of heat, hydrogen, and alkali generated from alkali-metal silicide and presents bench-scale high-permeability unconsolidated-sandpack linear-flood results demonstrating recovery efficiencies up to 93% of original oil in place (residual oil saturation = 0.058). Results also show that alkali-metal silicides can provide accelerated oil production, as much as 20% faster than comparable chemical technologies.
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