Foams as Blocking Agents in Porous Media
- Robert A. Albrecht (Stanford U.) | Sullivan S. Marsden (Stanford U.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- March 1970
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 51 - 55
- 1970. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.3.1 Flow in Porous Media, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 4.6 Natural Gas, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.10.2 Natural Gas Storage
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Although foam usually will flow in porous media, under certain controllable conditions it can also be used to block the flow of gas, both in unconsolidated sand packs and in sandstones. After steady gas or foam flow has been established at a certain injection pressure pi, the pressure is decreased until flow pressure pi, the pressure is decreased until flow ceases at a certain blocking pressure pb. When flow is then reestablished at a second, higher pi, blocking can again occur at another pb that will usually be greater than the first pi. The relationship between pi and Pb depends on the type of porous medium and the foamer solution saturation in the porous medium. A process is suggested whereby porous medium. A process is suggested whereby this phenomenon might be used to impede or block leakage in natural gas storage projects.
The practice of storing natural gas in underground porous rocks has developed rapidly, and it now is porous rocks has developed rapidly, and it now is the major way of meeting peak demands in urban areas of the U. S. Many of these storage projects have been plagued with gas leakage problems that have, in some cases, presented safety hazards and resulted in sizeable economic losses. Usually these leaks are due to such natural factors as faults and fractures, or to such engineering factors as poor cement jobs and wells that were improperly abandoned. For the latter, various remedies such as spot cementing have been tried but not always with great success.
In recent years several research groups have been studying the flow properties of aqueous foams and their application to various petroleum engineering problems. Most of this work has been done under problems. Most of this work has been done under experimental conditions such that the foam would flow in either tubes or porous media. However, under some extreme or unusual experimental conditions, flow in porous media becomes very difficult or even impossible. This factor also has suggested m us as well as to others that foam can be used as a gas flow impeder or as a sealant for leaks in gas storage reservoirs. In such a process, the natural ability of porous media to process, the natural ability of porous media to generate foam would be utilized by injecting a slug of foamer solution and following this with gas to form the foam in situ.
This paper presents preliminary results of a sandy on the blockage of gas flow by foam in porous media. It also describes how this approach might be applied to a field process for sealing leaks in natural gas storage reservoirs. Throughout this report, we use the term "foam" to describe any dispersed gas-liquid system in which the liquid is the continuous phase, and the gas is the discontinuous phase.
APPARATUS AND PROCEDURE
A schematic drawing of the apparatus is shown in Fig. 1. At least 50 PV of filtered, deaerated foamer solution were forced through the porous medium to achieve liquid saturation greater than 80 percent. Afterwards air at controlled pressures was passed into the porous medium in order to generate foam in situ.
Table 1 shows the properties and dimensions of the several porous media that were used. The beach sands were washed, graded and packed into a vibrating lucite tube containing a constant liquid level to avoid Stoke's law segregation over most of the porous medium.
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