Video: Oil Saturation in Residual Oil Zones and Its Effect on CO2 WAG Injection Strategies
- Bo Ren (The University of Texas at Austin) | Frank Male (The University of Texas at Austin) | Yanyong Wang (The University of Texas at Austin) | Vinyet Baqués (The University of Texas at Austin) | Ian Duncan (The University of Texas at Austin) | Larry Lake (The University of Texas at Austin)
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- Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 2019. Copyright is retained by the author. This presentation is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this video.
- Water Alternating Gas, Oil Saturation, CO2-EOR, Residual Oil Zone
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The objectives of this work are to understand the characteristics of oil saturation in residual oil zones (ROZs) and to optimize water alternating gas (WAG) injection strategies. ROZs occur in the Permian Basin and elsewhere, and operators are using CO2 injection for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in these zones. ROZs are thought to be formed by the flushing effect of regional aquifer flow acting over geological time. Both the magnitude of oil saturation and the spatial distribution of oil differ from water-flooded main pay zones (MPZs).
We conducted flow simulations of CO2 injection into both synthetic and realistic geologic reservoirs to find the optimal injection strategies for several scenarios. These simulations of CO2 injection follow either man-made waterflooding or long-term natural waterflooding. We examined the effects of CO2 injection rates, well patterns, reservoir heterogeneity, and permeability anisotropy on optimal WAG ratios. Optimal is defined as being at minimal net CO2 utilization ratios or maximal oil production rates).
Simulations of CO2 EOR show that the optimal WAG ratio for the ROZs is less than 1 (ratio of injected water and CO2 in reservoir volumes), and it depends, but in qualitatively different ways, upon the well pattern and reservoir heterogeneity. The optimal WAG ratio tends to increase with changing from inverted 9-spot (80-acres) to inverted 5-spot (40-acre) or increasing reservoir heterogeneity. The ratios for ROZs are consistently less than those observed in the same geologic models experiencing CO2 injection after traditional (man-made) waterflooding. This is because the water saturation caused by slow regional aquifer flow (~1ft/yr) differs from that created by traditional waterflooding. In ROZs, water prevails almost everywhere and thus it is less needed to ease CO2 channeling as compared to MPZs.
This work demonstrates that optimal WAG ratios for oil production in ROZs are different from those in traditional MPZs because of oil saturation differences. Thus, commingled CO2 injection into both zones or directly copying WAG injection designs from MPZs to ROZs might not optimize production.