An Experimental Study of Emulsion Flow in Alkaline/Solvent Coinjection with Steam for Heavy-Oil/Bitumen Recovery
- Kai Sheng (University of Texas at Austin) | Francisco J. Argüelles-Vivas (University of Texas at Austin) | Kwang Hoon Baek (University of Texas at Austin) | Ryosuke Okuno (University of Texas at Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- May 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 402 - 413
- 2020.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- steam-assisted gravity drainage, amine, natural surfactants, bitumen, emulsion
- 18 in the last 30 days
- 116 since 2007
- Show more detail
- View rights & permissions
|SPE Member Price:||USD 5.00|
|SPE Non-Member Price:||USD 35.00|
Water is the dominant component in steam-injection processes, such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). The central hypothesis in this research is that in-situ oil transport can be enhanced by generating oil-in-water emulsion, where the water-continuous phase acts as an effective oil carrier. As part of the research project, this paper presents an experimental study of how oil-in-water emulsion can improve oil transport in porous media at elevated temperatures.
Diethylamine (DEA) was selected as the organic alkali that generates oil-in-water emulsions with Athabasca bitumen at a 1,000-ppm NaCl brine and a 0.5-wt% alkali concentration. This aqueous composition had been confirmed to be an optimum in terms of oil content in the water-external emulsion phase at a wide range of temperatures. Then, flow experiments with a glass-bead pack were conducted to measure the effective viscosities of emulsion samples at shear rates from 5 to 29 seconds–1 at 35 bar and temperatures from 373 to 443 K.
Results show that the oil-in-water emulsions were more than 15 times less viscous than the original bitumen at temperatures from 373 to 443 K. At the shear rate of 5 seconds–1, for example, the emulsion viscosity was 12 cp at 373 K, at which the bitumen viscosity was 206 cp. The efficiency of in-situ bitumen transport was evaluated by calculating the bitumen molar flow rate under gravity drainage with the new experimental data. Results show that oil-in-water emulsion can enhance the in-situ molar flow of bitumen by a factor of 273 at 403 K and 345 at 373 K, in comparison with the two-phase flow of oil and water in conventional SAGD. At 443 K, only a fraction of bitumen is emulsified in water, but the bitumen transport by both oil-in-water emulsion and an excess oil phase in DEA-SAGD can enhance the molar flow of bitumen by a factor of 19 in comparison to SAGD. This is mainly because the mobility of the bitumen-containing phase is enhanced by the reduced viscosity and increased effective permeability. A marked difference between alkaline solvents and conventional hydrocarbon solvents is that only a small amount of an alkaline solvent enables enhancing the in-situ transport of bitumen.
|File Size||1 MB||Number of Pages||12|
Baek, K. H., Argüelles-Vivas, F. J., Okuno, R. et al. 2018a. An Experimental Study of Emulsion Phase Behavior and Viscosity for Athabasca-Bitumen/Diethylamine/Brine Mixtures. SPE Res Eval & Eng 22 (2): 628–641. SPE-189768-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/189768-PA.
Baek, K. H, Argüelles-Vivas, F. J., Okuno, R. et al. 2018b. Emulsification of Athabasca Bitumen by Organic Alkali: Emulsion Phase Behavior and Viscosity for Athabasca-Bitumen/Brine/Triethylenetetramine. J Pet Sci Eng 168: 359–369. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2018.04.063.
Baek, K., Sheng, K., Argüelles-Vivas, F. J. et al. 2019a. Comparative Study of Oil Dilution Capability of Dimethyl Ether and Hexane as Steam Additives for SAGD. SPE Res Eval & Eng 22 (3): 1030–1048. SPE-187182-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/187182-PA.
Baek, K. H., Okuno, R., Sharma, H. et al. 2019b. Oil-in-Water Emulsification of Athabasca Bitumen with Pyrrolidine Solution. Fuel 246: 425–442. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2019.02.123.
Birrell, G. E. 2001. Heat Transfer Ahead of a SAGD Steam Chamber, A Study of Thermocouple Data from Phase B of the Underground Test Facility (Dover Project). Paper presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 30 September–3 October. SPE-71503-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/71503-MS.
Bryan, J. and Kantzas, A. 2007a. Potential for Alkali-Surfactant Flooding in Heavy Oil Reservoirs Through Oil-in-Water Emulsification. Paper presented at the Canadian International Petroleum Conference, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 12–14 June. PETSOC-09-02-37. https://doi.org/10.2118/09-02-37.
Bryan, J. and Kantzas, A. 2007b. Enhanced Heavy-Oil Recovery by Alkali-Surfactant Flooding. Paper presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Anaheim, California, USA, 11–14 November. SPE-110738-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/110738-MS.
Bryan, J., Mai, A., and Kantzas, A. 2008. Investigation into the Processes Responsible for Heavy Oil Recovery by Alkali-Surfactant Flooding. Paper presented at the SPE Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 20–23 April. SPE-113993-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/113993-MS.
Dong, M., Ma, S., and Liu, Q. 2009. Enhanced Heavy Oil Recovery Through Interfacial Instability: A Study of Chemical Flooding for Brintnell Heavy Oil. Fuel 88: 1049–1056. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2008.11.014.
Dong, L. 2012. Effect of Vapour–Liquid Phase Behaviour of Steam–Light Hydrocarbon Systems on Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage Process for Bitumen Recovery. Fuel 95: 159–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2011.10.044.
Edmunds, N. and Peterson, J. 2007. A Unified Model for Prediction of CSOR in Steam-Based Bitumen Recovery. Paper presented at the Canadian International Petroleum Conference, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 12–14 June. PETSOC-2007-027. https://doi.org/10.2118/2007-027.
Fan, T. and Buckley, J. 2007. Acid Number Measurements Revisited. SPE J. 12 (4): 496–500. SPE-99884-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/99884-PA.
Fortenberry, R., Kim, D., Nizamidin, N. et al. 2015. Use of Cosolvents to Improve Alkaline/Polymer Flooding. SPE J. 20 (2): 255–266. SPE-166478-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/166478-PA.
Gates, I. D. 2007. Oil Phase Viscosity Behavior in Expanding-Solvent Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage. J Pet Sci Eng 59 (1–2): 123–134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2007.03.006.
Gates, I. D. and Larter, S. R. 2014. Energy Efficiency and Emissions Intensity of SAGD. Fuel 115: 706–713. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2013.07.073.
Gupta, S., Gittins, S., and Picherack, P. 2005. Field Implementation of Solvent Aided Process. J Can Pet Technol 44 (11): 8–13. PETSOC-05-11-TN1. https://doi.org/10.2118/05-11-TN1.
Gupta, S. C. and Gittins, S. D. 2006. Christina Lake Solvent Aided Process Pilot. J Can Pet Technol 45 (9): 15–18. PETSOC-2005-190. https://doi.org/10.2118/2005-190.
Haddadnia, A., Azinfar, B., Zirrahi, M. et al. 2018. Thermophysical Properties of Dimethyl Ether/Athabasca Bitumen System. Can J Chem Eng 96: 597–604. https://doi.org/10.1002/cjce.23009.
Ivory, J. J., Zheng, R., Nasr, T. N. et al. 2008. Investigation of Low Pressure ES-SAGD. Paper presented at the SPE International Thermal Operations and Heavy Oil Symposium, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 20–23 October. SPE-117759-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/117759-MS.
Keshavarz, M., Okuno, R., and Babadagli, T. 2014. Efficient Oil Displacement Near the Chamber Edge in ES-SAGD. J Pet Sci Eng 118: 99–113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2014.04.007.
Keshavarz, M., Okuno, R., and Babadagli, T. 2015. Optimal Application Conditions for Steam/Solvent Coinjection. SPE Res Eval & Eng 18 (1): 20–38. SPE-165471-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/165471-PA.
Kim, M., Abedin, A., Lele, P. et al. 2017. Microfluidic Pore-Scale Comparison of Alcohol- and Alkaline-Based SAGD Processes. J Pet Sci. Eng. 154: 139–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2017.04.025.
Kumar, R., Dao, E., and Mohanty, K. 2012. Heavy-Oil Recovery by In-Situ Emulsion Formation. SPE J. 17 (2): 326–334. SPE-129914-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/129914-PA.
Lake, L. W., Johns, R., Rossen, W. R. et al. 2014. Fundamentals of Enhanced Oil Recovery. Richardson, Texas, USA: Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Leaute, R. P. 2002. Liquid Addition to Steam for Enhancing Recovery (LASER) of Bitumen with CSS: Evolution of Technology from Research Concept to a Field Pilot at Cold Lake. Paper presented at the SPE International Thermal Operations and Heavy Oil Symposium and International Horizontal Well Technology Conference, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 4–7 November. SPE-79011-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/79011-MS.
Leaute, R. P. and Carey, B. S. 2007. Liquid Addition to Steam for Enhancing Recovery (LASER) of Bitumen with CSS: Results from the First Pilot Cycle. J Can Pet Technol 46 (9): 22–30. PETSOC-07-09-01. https://doi.org/10.2118/07-09-01.
Li, W., Mamora, D. D., and Li, Y. 2011a. Light-and Heavy-Solvent Impacts on Solvent-Aided-SAGD Process: A Low-Pressure Experimental Study. J Can Pet Technol 50 (4): 19–30. SPE-133277-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/133277-PA.
Li, W., Mamora, D. D., and Li, Y. 2011b. Solvent-Type and -Ratio Impacts on Solvent-Aided SAGD Process. SPE Res Eval & Eng 14 (3): 320–331. SPE-130802-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/130802-PA.
Liu, Q., Dong, M., Ma, S. et al. 2007. Surfactant Enhanced Alkaline Flooding for Western Canadian Heavy Oil Recovery. Colloids Surf A Physicochem Eng Asp 293: 63–71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfa.2006.07.013.
Liu, Q., Dong, M., Yue, X. et al. 2006. Synergy of Alkali and Surfactant in Emulsification of Heavy Oil in Brine. Colloids Surf A Physicochem Eng Asp 273: 219–228. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfa.2005.10.016.
Lu, C., Liu, H., Zhao, W. et al. 2017. Experimental Investigation of In-Situ Emulsion Formation to Improve Viscous-Oil Recovery in Steam-Injection Process Assisted by Viscosity Reducer. SPE J. 22 (1): 130–137. SPE-181759-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/181759-PA.
Maini, B. B. and Batycky, J. P. 1985. Effect of Temperature on Heavy-Oil/Water Relative Permeabilities in Horizontally and Vertically Drilled Core Plugs. J Pet Technol 37 (8): 1500–1510. SPE-12115-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/12115-PA.
Meng, L., Ji, D., Dong, M. et al. 2018. Experimental and Numerical Study of the Convective Mass Transfer of Solvent in the Expanding-Solvent SAGD Process. Fuel 215: 298–311. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2017.11.028.
Mohammadmoradi, P., Taheri, S., and Kantzas, A. 2017. Interfacial Areas in Athabasca Oil Sands. Energy Fuels 31 (8): 8131–8145. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.energyfuels.7b01458.
Mohebati, M. H., Maini, B. B., and Harding, T. G. 2012. Numerical-Simulation Investigation of the Effect of Heavy-Oil Viscosity on the Performance of Hydrocarbon Additives in SAGD. SPE Res Eval & Eng 15 (2): 165–181. SPE-138151-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/138151-PA.
Nasr, T. N., Beaulieu, G., Golbeck, H. et al. 2003. Novel Expanding Solvent-SAGD Process “ES-SAGD”. J Can Pet Technol 42 (1): 13–16. PETSOC-03-01-TN. https://doi.org/10.2118/03-01-TN.
Pei, H., Zhang, G., Ge, J. et al. 2013. Potential of Alkaline Flooding to Enhance Heavy Oil Recovery Through Water-in-Oil Emulsification. Fuel 104: 284–293. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2012.08.024.
Polikar, M., Ali, S. M., and Puttagunta, V. R. 1990. High-Temperature Relative Permeabilities for Athabasca Oil Sands. SPE Res Eval & Eng 5 (1): 25–32. SPE-17424-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/17424-PA.
Sadowski, T. J. and Bird, R. B. 1965. Non-Newtonian Flow Through Porous Media—I: Theoretical. J Rheol 9 (2): 243–250. https://doi.org/10.1122/1.549000.
Sharma, J. and Gates, I. D. 2010. Multiphase Flow at the Edge of a Steam Chamber. Can J Chem Eng 88 (3): 312–321. https://doi.org/10.1002/cjce.20280.
Shen, C. 2013. Enhanced Oil Recovery Field Case Studies, first edition, Chap. 13, 413–455. Waltham, Massachusetts, USA: Gulf Professional Publishing.
Sheng, K., Okuno, R., and Wang, M. 2018. Dimethyl Ether as an Additive to Steam for Improved Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage. SPE J. 23 (4): 1201–1222. SPE-184983-PA. https://doi.org/10.2118/184983-PA.
Shi, X. and Okuno, R. 2018. Analytical Solution for Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage with Consideration of Temperature Variation Along the Edge of a Steam Chamber. Fuel 217: 262–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2017.12.110.
Srivastava, P. and Castro, L. 2011. Successful Field Application of Surfactant Additives to Enhance Thermal Recovery of Heavy Oil. Paper presented at the SPE Middle East Oil and Gas Show and Conference, Manama, Bahrain, 25–28 September. SPE-140180-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/140180-MS.
Venkatramani, A. and Okuno, R. 2015. Characterization of Water-Containing Reservoir Oil Using an EOS for Steam Injection Processes. J Natural Gas Sci Eng 26: 1091–1106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jngse.2015.07.036.
Venkatramani, A. and Okuno, R. 2018. Mechanistic Simulation Study of Expanding-Solvent Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage Under Reservoir Heterogeneity. J Pet Sci Eng 169: 146–156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2018.04.074.
Xiao, R., Teletzke, G., Lin, M. et al. 2017. A Novel Mechanism of Alkaline Flooding to Improve Sweep Efficiency for Viscous Oils. Paper presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 9–11 October. SPE-187366-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/187366-MS.
Zeidani, K. and Gupta, S. 2013. Surfactant-Steam Process: An Innovative Enhanced Heavy Oil Recovery Method for Thermal Applications. Paper presented at the SPE Heavy Oil Conference-Canada, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 11–13 June. SPE-165545-MS. https://doi.org/10.2118/165545-MS.