Modeling the effect of injecting low salinity water on oil recovery from carbonate reservoirs
MetadataShow full item record
The low salinity water injection technique (LSWI) has become one of the important research topics in the oil industry because of its possible advantages for improving oil recovery. Several mechanisms describing the LSWI process have been suggested in the literature; however, there is no consensus on a single main mechanism for the low salinity effect on oil recovery. As a result of the latter, there are few models for LSWI and especially for carbonates due to their heterogeneity and complexity. In this research, we proposed a systematic approach for modeling the LSWI effect on oil recovery from carbonates by proposing six different methods for history matching and three different LSWI models for the UTCHEM simulator, empirical, fundamental, and mechanistic LSWI models. The empirical LSWI model uses contact angle measurements and injected water salinity. The fundamental LSWI model captures the effect of LSWI through the trapping number. In the mechanistic LSWI model, we include the effect of different geochemical reactions through Gibbs free energy. Moreover, field-scale predictions of LSWI were performed and followed by a sensitivity analysis for the most influential design parameters using design of experiment (DoE). The LSWI technique was also optimized using the response surface methodology (RSM) where a response surface was built. Also, we moved a step further by investigating the combined effect of injecting low salinity water and carbon dioxide on oil recovery from carbonates through modeling of the process and numerical simulations using the UTCOMP simulator. The analysis showed that CO₂ is the main controller of the residual oil saturation whereas the low salinity water boosts the oil production rate by increasing the oil relative permeability through wettability alteration towards a more water-wet state. In addition, geochemical modeling of LSWI only and the combined effect of LSWI and CO₂ were performed using both UTCHEM and PHREEQC upon which the geochemical model in UTCHEM was modified and validated against PHREEQC. Based on the geochemical interpretation of the LSWI technique, we believe that wettability alteration is the main contributor to the LSWI effect on oil recovery from carbonates by anhydrite dissolution and surface charge change through pH exceeding the point of zero charge.