• Alkali-surfactant-polymer (ASP) flooding - potential and simulation for Alaskan North Slope reservoir

      Ghorpade, Tejas S. (2014-09)
      Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is essential to recover bypassed oil and improve recovery factor. Alkaline-surfactant-polymer (ASP) flooding is a chemical EOR method that can be used to recover heavy oil containing organic acids from sandstone formations. It involves injection of alkali to generate in situ surfactants, improve sweep efficiency, and reduce interfacial tension (IFT) between displacing and displaced phase, and injection of a polymer to improve mobility ratio; typically, it is followed by extended waterflooding. The concentration of alkali, surfactant, and polymer used in the process depends on oil type, salinity of solution, pressure, temperature of the reservoir, and injection water quality. This project evaluates the effect of waterflooding on recovery, calculates the recovery factor for ASP flooding, and optimum concentration of alkali, surfactant, and polymer for an Alaskan reservoir. Also, the effects of waterflooding and improvement with ASP flooding are evaluated and compared. Studies of these effects on oil recovery were analyzed with a Computer Modeling Group (CMG)-generated model for the Alaskan North Slope (ANS) reservoir. Based on a literature review and screening criteria, the Western North Slope (WNS) 1 reservoir was selected for the ASP process. A CMG - WinProp simulator was used to create a fluid model and regression was carried out with the help of actual field data. The CMG - WinProp model was prepared with a 5 spot well injection pattern using the CMG STARS simulator. Simulation runs conducted for primary and waterflooding processes showed that the recovery factor increased from 3% due to primary recovery to 45% due to waterflooding at 500 psi drawdown for 60 years with a constant producing gas oil ratio (GOR). ASP flooding was conducted to increase recovery further, and optimum ASP parameters were calculated for maximum recovery. Also, effect of alkali, surfactant and polymer on recovery was observed and compared with ASP flood. If proved effective, the use of ASP chemicals for ANS reservoirs to increase the recovery factor could replace current miscible gas injection with chemical EOR. It will help to develop chemical flooding processes for heavier crude oil produced in harsh environments and create new horizons for chemical industries in Alaska.
    • Evaluation of CO₂ sequestration through enhanced oil recovery in West Sak reservoir

      Nourpour Aghbash, Vahid (2013-05)
      CO₂ enhanced oil recovery (EOR) has been proposed as a method of sequestering CO₂. This study evaluates using CO₂ as an EOR agent in the West Sak reservoir. The injected CO₂ mixes with the oil and reduces the oil viscosity, enhancing its recovery. A considerable amount of CO₂ is left in the reservoir and 'sequestered'. Due to low reservoir temperature, this process can lead to formation of three hydrocarbon phases in the reservoir. An equation of state was tuned to simulate the West Sak oil and complex phase behavior of the CO₂-oil mixtures. A compositional simulator capable of handling three-phase flash calculation and four-phase flow was used to simulate CO₂ injection into a three-dimensional heterogeneous pattern model. The results showed that CO₂ EOR in the West Sak reservoir increases oil recovery by 4.5% of original oil in place and 48 million metric tons of CO₂ could be sequestered. Ignoring four-phase flow underestimated oil recovery and sequestered CO₂ volume. Enriching the CO₂ with natural gas liquid decreased sequestered CO₂ volume without a significant increase in oil recovery. Dissolution of CO₂ in the water phase and different water/CO₂ slug sizes and ratios did not change the sequestered CO₂ volume and oil recovery.
    • Experimental investigation of low salinity water flooding to improve viscous oil recovery from the Schrader Bluff Reservoir on Alaska North Slope

      Cheng, Yaoze; Zhang, Yin; Dandekar, Abhijit; Awoleke, Obadare; Chen, Gang (2018-05)
      Alaska's North Slope (ANS) contains vast resources of viscous oil that have not been developed efficiently using conventional water flooding. Although thermal methods are most commonly applied to recover viscous oil, they are impractical on ANS because of the concern of thawing the permafrost, which could cause disastrous environmental damage. Recently, low salinity water flooding (LSWF) has been considered to enhance oil recovery by reducing residual oil saturation in the Schrader Bluff viscous oil reservoir. In this study, lab experiments have been conducted to investigate the potential of LSWF to improve heavy oil recovery from the Schrader Bluff sand. Fresh-state core plugs cut from preserved core samples with original oil saturations have been flooded sequentially with high salinity water, low salinity water, and softened low salinity water. The cumulative oil production and pressure drops have been recorded, and the oil recovery factors and residual oil saturation after each flooding have been determined based on material balance. In addition, restored-state core plugs saturated with viscous oil have been employed to conduct unsteady-state displacement experiments to measure the oil-water relative permeabilities using high salinity water and low salinity water, respectively. The emulsification of provided viscous oil and low salinity water has also been investigated. Furthermore, the contact angles between the crude oil and reservoir rock have been measured. It has been found that the core plugs are very unconsolidated, with porosity and absolute permeability in the range of 33% to 36% and 155 mD to 330 mD, respectively. A produced crude oil sample having a viscosity of 63 cP at ambient conditions was used in the experiments. The total dissolved solids (TDS) of the high salinity water and the low salinity water are 28,000 mg/L and 2,940 mg/L, respectively. Softening had little effect on the TDS of the low salinity water, but the concentration of Ca²⁺ was reduced significantly. The residual oil saturations were reduced gradually by applying LSWF and softened LSWF successively after high salinity water flooding. On average, LSWF can improve viscous oil recovery by 6.3% OOIP over high salinity water flooding, while the softened LSWF further enhances the oil recovery by 1.3% OOIP. The pressure drops observed in the LSWF and softened LSWF demonstrate more fluctuation than that in the high salinity water flooding, which indicates potential clay migration in LSWF and softened LSWF. Furthermore, it was found that, regardless of the salinities, the calculated water relative permeabilities are much lower than the typical values in conventional systems, implying more complex reactions between the reservoir rock, viscous oil, and injected water. Mixing the provided viscous oil and low salinity water generates stable water-in-oil (W/O) emulsions. The viscosities of the W/O emulsions made from water-oil ratios of 20:80 and 50:50 are higher than that of the provided viscous oil. Moreover, the contact angle between the crude oil and reservoir rock in the presence of low salinity water is larger than that in the presence of high salinity water, which may result from the wettability change of the reservoir rock by contact with the low salinity water.
    • Reservoir simulations integrated with geomechanics for West Sak Reservoir

      Chauhan, Nitesh; Khataniar, Santanu; Dandekar, Abhijit; Patil, Shirish (2014-07)
      Geomechanics is the study of the mechanical behavior of geologic formations. Geomechanics plays an important role in the life of a well. Without a proper understanding of the geomechanics of a reservoir, the projects associated with it may run into problems related to drilling, completion, and production. Geomechanics is important for issues such as wellbore integrity, sand production, and recovery in heavy oil reservoirs. While studying geomechanics, proper weight is given to mechanical properties such as effective mean stress, volumetric strain, etc., and the changes that these properties cause in other properties such as porosity, permeability, and yield state. The importance of analyzing geomechanics increases for complex reservoirs or reservoirs with heavy oil. This project is a case study of the West Sak reservoir in the North Slope of Alaska. Waterflooding has been implemented as enhanced oil recovery method in the reservoir. In this study, a reservoir model is built to understand the behavior and importance of geomechanics for the reservoir. First, a fluid model is built. After that, reservoir simulation is carried out by building two cases: one coupled with geomechanics and one without geomechanics. Coupling geomechanics to simulations led to the consideration of many important mechanical properties such as stress, strain, subsidence etc. Once the importance of considering geomechanical properties is established, different injection and production pressure ranges are used to understand how pressure ranges affect the geomechanical properties. The sensitivity analysis defines safer pressure ranges contingent on whether the formation is yielding or not. The yielding criterion is based on Mohr's Coulomb failure criteria. In the case of waterflooding, injection pressure should be maintained at 3800 psi or lower and production at 1600 psi or higher. And if injection rates are used as the operating parameter, it should be maintained below 1000 bbls/day. It is also observed that injection pressure dominates the geomechanics of the reservoir.