Development of methodology for optimization and design of chemical flooding

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Ghorbani, Davood, 1967-

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Chemical flooding is one of the most difficult enhanced oil recovery methods and was considered a high-risk process in the past. Some reasons are low and uncertain oil price, high chemical prices, lack of confidence in performance of the chemical flooding process, long project life, and reservoir and process uncertainties. However, with significant improvement in simulation and optimization tools and high oil price, chemical flooding is feasible in terms of economical and carefully implemented design. Optimization of chemical floods requires complex integration of reservoir, chemical, economics properties and also drilling and production strategies. Many of these variables are uncertain parameters and many simulations are required to capture the effect of the uncertain and decision variables. These simulations could become very expensive and may not be feasible to consider all of the required simulation models. The goal of this research is the development of a methodology for optimization and design of chemical flooding of candidate oil reservoirs. We performed a comprehensive sensitivity study of reservoir and fluid properties that have significant influence on the oil production during the chemical flooding by performing a series of reservoir simulation runs. For performing the reservoir simulation runs, this study used the UT_IRSP platform and the multiphase, multicomponent, chemical flooding simulator called UTCHEM. During the study, UT_IRSP and UTCHEM have been modified by adding new modules, functions and variables. For example, a deviated well module was implemented in UTCHEM to study deviated wells. Deviated well module allows the users to introduce deviated wells in reservoir and import the well locations similar to Eclipse or CMG simulators. A time-dependent well schedule module was implemented in the UT_IRSP framework. This enhancement allows the well placement optimization studies to find the best time to add new wells, and change the status of the well for example from a producer to an injector in order to have an optimum development plan. An advanced post processing module was added to UT_IRSP in order to design, screen, and optimize complex cases for chemical enhanced oil recovery processes such as investigating the well patterns, well spacing, and type of the well (horizontal vs. vertical wells). An experimental design and response surface methodology with integrated economic model were utilized in this study to obtain the optimum design under uncertainties and have an optimal combination of the decision variables. This methodology is based on applying multi-regression analysis and ANOVA (analysis of variance) between the objective function (i.e. dependent variable, which is net present value (NPV) in chemical flooding) and other uncertain and process variables (independent variables). The economic analysis model used the discounted cash flow method to calculate net present value at the economic life of process, internal rate of return, and growth rate of return for each simulation case. Also the optimizer, OptQuest, is launched with a goal of maximizing the mean NPV. The range and the risk associated with the optimum design was studied using Monte Carlo simulation of objective function of the response variable and other independent variables. This methodology was applied for complex chemical flood cases such as well placement, change of status of wells as a function of time or well pattern and well spacing to investigate the best well scenario from recovery and economics point of view.