Comparison of models for numerical simulation of low salinity waterflood

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Santra, Ritabrata

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Accurately modeling Low Salinity Water Injection (LSWI) is essential for reliable predictions of oil recovery which affects exploration project planning and investment decisions. During LSWI, we modify the ions present in water before injection into an oil reservoir which helps maintain reservoir pressure and recover more oil from the reservoir, as compared to untreated regular water injection. Thus, understanding the primary mechanism and their effect of improved oil recovery due to wettability alteration during LSWI, and accurately modeling it, is essential to reliably predict and maximize oil recovery. However, there are several proposed models for numerical simulation of this novel method of LSWI and there exists no comparison for choosing the best model for an accurate simulation study. This study uses two simulators: (1) coupled reservoir simulator with geochemistry capabilities, UTCOMP-IPhreeqc and (2) commercial simulator, CMG’s GEM. We compare three models for numerical simulation of LSWI: (1) calcite dissolution, (2) total ionic strength, and (3) Extended Derjaguin, Landau, Verwey, and Overbeek (EDLVO). Most importantly, we also perform comparisons at both field and core scale. We describe the modeling capabilities of the two simulators and perform literature review to summarize the proposed mechanisms and the theory behind existing models. Finally, we simulate on (1) a synthetic carbonate field case, (2) a sandstone coreflood from a published literature, and (3) another sandstone coreflood, each with distinct mineralogy and petrophysical properties, to compare the three models. Results show that only the EDLVO model implemented in UTCOMP-Iphreeqc was able to accurately model the wettability alteration by estimating the change in contact angle during LSWI for all cases. While predicted recoveries from some of the models were similar, further investigation into the results uncovered the shortcomings of the other two models which resulted in incorrect calculation of the interpolating parameter. We concluded that the EDLVO model in UTCOMP-IPhreeqc works for all minerology while the other two models are scale, mineralogy, and case dependent. In future, we aim to develop a screening guide to choose model depending on the case, for simulating LSWI in commercial simulators which lack some of the mechanistic modeling capabilities of UTCOMP-IPhreeqc.


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