Experimental investigation of the effect of increasing the temperature on ASP flooding

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Date

2011-12

Authors

Walker, Dustin Luke

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Abstract

Chemical EOR processes such as polymer flooding and surfactant polymer flooding must be designed and implemented in an economically attractive manner to be perceived as viable oil recovery options. The primary expenses associated with these processes are chemical costs which are predominantly controlled by the crude oil properties of a reservoir. Crude oil viscosity dictates polymer concentration requirements for mobility control and can also negatively affect the rheological properties of a microemulsion when surfactant polymer flooding. High microemulsion viscosity can be reduced with the introduction of an alcohol co-solvent into the surfactant formulation, but this increases the cost of the formulation. Experimental research done as part of this study combined the process of hot water injection with ASP flooding as a solution to reduce both crude oil viscosity and microemulsion viscosity. The results of this investigation revealed that when action was taken to reduce microemulsion viscosity, residual oil recoveries were greater than 90%. Hot water flooding lowered required polymer concentrations by reducing oil viscosity and lowered microemulsion viscosity without co-solvent. Laboratory testing of viscous microemulsions in core floods proved to compromise surfactant performance and oil recovery by causing high surfactant retention, high pressure gradients that would be unsustainable in the field, high required polymer concentrations to maintain favorable mobility during chemical flooding, reduced sweep efficiency and stagnation of microemulsions due to high viscosity from flowing at low shear rates. Rough scale-up chemical cost estimations were performed using core flood performance data. Without reducing microemulsion viscosity, field chemical costs were as high as 26.15 dollars per incremental barrel of oil. The introduction of co-solvent reduced chemical costs to as low as 22.01 dollars per incremental barrel of oil. This reduction in cost is the combined result of increasing residual oil recovery and the added cost of an alcohol co-solvent. Heating the reservoir by hot water flooding resulted in combined chemical and heating costs of 13.94 dollars per incremental barrel of oil. The significant drop in cost when using hot water is due to increased residual oil recovery, reduction in polymer concentrations from reduced oil viscosity and reduction of microemulsion viscosity at a fraction of the cost of co-solvent.

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