Steady-State Flow Behavior of CO2 Foam
- Jisung Kim (U. of Texas at Austin) | Yan Dong (U. of Texas at Austin) | William R. Rossen (U. of Texas at Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- December 2005
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 405 - 415
- 2005. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 3 Production and Well Operations, 5.3.1 Flow in Porous Media, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 3.3.1 Production Logging, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.6.5 Tracers, 5.5.2 Core Analysis, 5.4 Enhanced Recovery, 1.8 Formation Damage, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 3.2.4 Acidising, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation
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Foams can improve oil recovery by reducing gas mobility and the effects ofreservoir heterogeneity. Numerous studies report that foam flow in porous mediacomprises two regimes. In the "high-quality regime," pressure gradient isnearly independent of gas superficial velocity. In the "low-quality regime,"pressure gradient is nearly independent of liquid superficial velocity.Previous published data from CO2 foam studies lie either in the high- orlow-quality regime, but no single study shows both regimes. Delineating the twofoam-flow regimes is essential to modeling and predicting the behavior of CO2foam in petroleum applications.
Experiments were performed with a sandpack and fired Berea and Boisesandstone cores at a backpressure of 1500 or 2000 psig, above and below thecritical temperature of CO2. The data from the sandpack, Berea, and Boisesandstone experiments at room temperature do not show the two conventionalfoam-flow regimes. Instead, these experiments find a third regime evidentlyrelated to the low-quality regime. This same behavior was observed in thesandpack above the critical temperature of CO2. In this new regime, pressuregradient decreases with increasing liquid superficial velocity at constant gassuperficial velocity. The Boise sandstone experiment above the criticaltemperature of CO2 did find the two conventional foam-flow regimes, however. Nosingle experimental factor appears to explain the difference in results.
Earlier theoretical work of Hirasaki and Lawson and de Vries and Wit canpartially explain the flow regime seen in our study. A model combining abundle-of-tubes approach with the effective-viscosity function of Hirasaki andLawson predicts the behavior in this new regime.
In producing the oil from a reservoir, on average approximately two-thirdsof oil originally in place is left in the reservoir at the end ofwaterflooding. The goal of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is to increase thefraction of oil recovered from a reservoir. Injecting steam, carbon dioxide(CO2), and field gas have been the most productive EOR methods. CO2 is injectedinto oil reservoirs because CO2 dissolves into oil easily, reduces oilviscosity, and can extract the light components of crude oil at sufficientlyhigh pressure, and CO2 can become miscible with oil at lower pressure thanother gases. The CO2 process can be highly effective within rock strata whereit contacts oil.
However, actual oil recovery with CO2 in the field is much lower, because ofpoor sweep efficiency: the gas contacts and sweeps only a small portion of oilin the reservoir. Poor sweep efficiency is caused by the low viscosity anddensity of CO2 and by reservoir heterogeneity. These effects cause early gasbreakthrough and low sweep efficiency. Foam can improve the sweep efficiency ofthe injected gas by reducing gas mobility and the effects of reservoirheterogeneity. Foams are also used in matrix acid well-stimulation treatmentsand environmental remediation.
Field trials of CO2 foam showed some success. A number of foam EOR fieldtrials with other miscible or near-miscible gases have been carried out aswell.
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