Alkali/Cosolvent/Polymer Flooding of High-TAN Oil: Using Phase Experiments, Micromodels, and Corefloods for Injection-Agent Selection
- Bettina Schumi (OMV E&P) | Torsten Clemens (OMV E&P) | Jonas Wegner (HOT Microfluidics) | Leonhard Ganzer (Clausthal University of Technology) | Anton Kaiser (Clariant) | Rafael E. Hincapie (OMV E&P) | Verena Leitenmueller (University of Leoben)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- May 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 463 - 478
- 2020.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- economics, high TAN oil, chemical agent selection, alkali cosolvent polymer flooding, micromodel
- 15 in the last 30 days
- 259 since 2007
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Chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) leads to substantial incremental costs over waterflooding of oil reservoirs. Reservoirs containing oil with a high total acid number (TAN) could be produced by the injection of alkali. Alkali might lead to the generation of soaps and emulsify the oil. However, the generated emulsions are not always stable.
Phase experiments are used to determine the initial amount of emulsions generated and their stability if measured over time. On the basis of the phase experiments, the minimum concentration of alkali can be determined and the concentration of alkali above which no significant increase in the formation of initial emulsions is observed.
Micromodel experiments are performed to investigate the effects on the pore scale. For the injection of alkali into high-TAN oils, the mobilization of residual oil after waterflooding is seen. The oil mobilization results from the breaking up of oil ganglia or the movement of elongated ganglia through the porous medium. As the oil is depleting in surface-active components, residual oil saturation is left behind either as isolated ganglia or in the down gradient side of grains.
Simultaneous injection of alkali and polymers leads to a higher incremental oil production in the micromodels owing to larger pressure drops over the oil ganglia and more-effective mobilization accordingly.
Coreflood tests confirm the micromodel experiments, and additional data are derived from these tests. Alkali/cosolvent/polymer (ACP) injection leads to the highest incremental oil recovery of the chemical agents, which is difficult to differentiate in micromodel experiments. The polymer adsorption is substantially reduced if alkali is injected with polymers compared with polymer injection only. The reason is the effect of the pH on the polymers. As in the micromodels, the incremental oil recovery is also higher for alkali/polymer (AP) injection than with alkali injection only.
To evaluate the incremental operating costs of the chemical agents, equivalent utility factors (EqUFs) are calculated. The EqUF takes the costs of the various chemicals into account. The lowest EqUF and, hence, the lowest chemical incremental operating expenditures are incurred by the injection of Na2CO3; however, the highest incremental recovery factor is seen with ACP injection. It should be noted that the incremental oil recovery owing to macroscopic-sweep-efficiency improvement by the polymer needs to be accounted for to assess the efficiency of the chemical agents.
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