Foam Diversion in Heterogeneous Reservoirs: Effect of Permeability and Injection Method
- Ahmed H. Al Ayesh (Delft University of Technology and Saudi Aramco) | Rodrigo Salazar (Delft University of Technology) | Rouhollah Farajzadeh (Delft University of Technology and Shell Global Solutions International) | Sebastien Vincent-Bonnieu (Delft University of Technology and Shell Global Solutions International) | William R. Rossen (Delft University of Technology)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- October 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,402 - 1,415
- 2017.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Heterogeneous, layered reservoirs, foam modelling, EOR, SAG
- 4 in the last 30 days
- 307 since 2007
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Foam can divert flow from higher- to lower-permeability layers and thereby improve the injection profile in gas-injection enhanced oil recovery (EOR). This paper compares two methods of foam injection, surfactant-alternating-gas (SAG) and coinjection of gas and surfactant solution, in their abilities to improve injection profiles in heterogeneous reservoirs. We examine the effects of these two injection methods on diversion by use of fractional-flow modeling. The foam-model parameters for four sandstone formations ranging in permeability from 6 to 1,900 md presented by Kapetas et al. (2015) are used to represent a hypothetical reservoir containing four noncommunicating layers.
Permeability affects both the mobility reduction of wet foam in the low-quality-foam regime and the limiting capillary pressure at which foam collapses. The effectiveness of diversion varies greatly with the injection method. In a SAG process, diversion of the first slug of gas depends on foam behavior at very-high foam quality. Mobility in the foam bank during gas injection depends on the nature of a shock front that bypasses most foam qualities usually studied in the laboratory. The foam with the lowest mobility at fixed foam quality does not necessarily give the lowest mobility in a SAG process. In particular, diversion in SAG depends on how and whether foam collapses at low water saturation; this property varies greatly among the foams reported by Kapetas et al. (2015). Moreover, diversion depends on the size of the surfactant slug received by each layer before gas injection. This favors diversion away from high-permeability layers that receive a large surfactant slug. However, there is an optimum surfactant-slug size: Too little surfactant and diversion from high-permeability layers is not effective, whereas with too much, mobility is reduced in low-permeability layers. For a SAG process, injectivity and diversion depend critically on whether foam collapses completely at irreducible water saturation.
In addition, we show the diversion expected in a foam-injection process as a function of foam quality. The faster propagation of surfactant and foam in the higher-permeability layers aids in diversion, as expected. This depends on foam quality and non-Newtonian foam mobility and varies with injection time. Injectivity is extremely poor with foam injection for these extremely strong foams, but for some SAG foam processes with effective diversion it is better than injectivity in a waterflood.
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