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Simulation and Economic Screening of Improved Oil Recovery Methods with Emphasis on Injection Profile Control Including Waterflooding, Polymer Flooding and a Thermally Activated Deep Diverting Gel

By Tobenna Okeke


The large volume of water produced during the extraction of oil presents a significant problem due to the high cost of disposal in an environmentally friendly manner. On average, an estimated seven barrels of water is produced per barrel of oil in the US alone and the associated treatment and disposal cost is an estimated $5-10 billion. Besides making oil-water separation more complex, produced water also causes problems such as corrosion in the wellbore, decline in production rate and ultimate recovery of hydrocarbons and premature well or field abandonment. Water production can be more problematic during waterflooding in a highly heterogeneous reservoir with vertical communication between layers leading to unevenness in the flood front, cross-flow between high and low permeability layers and early water breakthrough from high permeability layers. Some of the different technologies that can be used to counteract this involve reducing the mobility of water or using a permeability block in the higher permeability, swept zones. This research was initiated to evaluate the potential effectiveness of the latter method, known as deep diverting gels (DDG) to plug thief zones deep within the reservoir and far from the injection well. To evaluate the performance of DDG, its injection was modeled, sensitivities run for a range of reservoir characteristics and conditions and an economic analysis was also performed. The performance of the DDG was then compared to other recovery methods, specifically waterflooding and polymer flooding from a technical and economic perspective. A literature review was performed on the background of injection profile control methods, their respective designs and technical capabilities. For the methods selected, Schlumberger's Eclipse software was used to simulate their behavior in a reservoir using realistic and simplified assumptions of reservoir characteristics and fluid properties. The simulation results obtained were then used to carry out economic analyses upon which conclusions and recommendations are based. These results show that the factor with the largest impact on the economic success of this method versus a polymer flood was the amount of incremental oil produced. By comparing net present values of the different methods, it was found that the polymer flood was the most successful with the highest NPV for each configuration followed by DDG

Topics: Reservoir simulation, in-depth profile modification, water production
Year: 2012
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