The Energy Yield of Micellar Flooding
- Dan H. Carpenter (Amoco Chemicals Corp.) | John B. Davies (Amoco Chemicals Corp.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 1976
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 103 - 106
- 1976. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.3.4 Reduction of Residual Oil Saturation, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 5.4.9 Miscible Methods, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 5.8.4 Shale Oil, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 5.4 Enhanced Recovery, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow
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The higher price of crude oil and the dependence on crude imports are providing a great incentive to accelerate commercialization of enhanced oil recovery procedures. Recovery of known oil in place is becoming an procedures. Recovery of known oil in place is becoming an increasingly urgent matter for the petroleum industry because, for enhanced recovery to be economically attractive, it must be initiated before producing fields are shut down and existing wells are plugged. Unfortunately, however, the present political uncertainty about future oil prices causes companies to be reluctant to make the large front-end investments in chemicals and chemical manufacturing plants that are necessary to demonstrate enhanced recovery technology on a large scale.
The U.S. crude oil "barrel" (Fig. 11) shows a target of about 60 billion bbl of additional oil physically recoverable with enhanced recovery methods now being developed. In addition, some 60 billion bbl may be recovered with future enhanced recovery methods. There are four principal enhanced oil recovery techniques now considered feasible for the production of crude oil: thermal recovery methods, hydrocarbon miscible floods, carbon dioxide floods, and water-miscible micellar floods.
All methods require introducing energy into oil-bearing formations by gas, water, or solvents under pressure, but each technique has its own advantages and pressure, but each technique has its own advantages and limitations.
Thermal recovery methods are perhaps uniquely suited to recovering viscous crudes, but they also may be used to recover many conventional crudes. This is not, however, a broadly applicable technique because of the required formation porosity and the lack of sweep control. Hydrocarbon miscible flooding probably can be discounted as a widespread commercial recovery method because of the general unavailability of low-cost ethane and propane. Limitations on control for the flood bank and pressure requirements to achieve miscibility create practical problems that will limit commercialization of this technique. Carbon dioxide miscible floods suffer from a lack of cheap carbon dioxide in areas near many potential project sites, and from the same general limitations and problems of hydrocarbon miscible systems.
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