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SPE6046
@
TheUseofTracersinDiagnosingInterwellReservoirHeterogeneitiesFieldResults
0.R.Wagner,
SPE.AIME,AmocoProductionCo.
Introduction
Influidinjectionprojects,thechannelingorby-passingofinjectedfluidsthroughfracturesandhighpermeabilitystringersresultsinpoorreservoirsweepefficiencyandlowoilrecovery,Whentheinjectedfluidiswater,chan-nelingproblemshavealesssevereimpactonthefloodeconomicsbecausewaterisrelativelyinexpensiveandcanberecoveredandrecycledthroughthereservoirtorecoveradditionaloil.However,manyoftheimprovedoilrecoveryprocessesemployexpensivefluids,suchassurfactants,miceliarfluids,andsolventsthatmustpro-duceoilduringasinglepassofarelativelysmallvolumethroughthereservoir.Itisimportanttoidentifyandcorrectanyseriousreservoirheterogeneitiesthatwouldleadtochannelingandinefficientuseofexpensiveim-provedrecoveryfluids.Someknowledgeofthene-rwellborereservoirheterogeneityescanbederivedfromwelllogsandcorepermeabilitydata.Pressuretransientandpressurepulsetestsareusefulindetectinginterwellfracturesandindetermininginterwellcommunication.Otherinformationsometimesisavailablefrompriorwaterfloodperformance,Asupportivemethodtodeter-minereservoirinterwellanatomyandhowareservoirwouldperforminanimprovedrecoveryprocessistotracetheinterwellflow
of
injectedwaterduringaninitialwaterflood,Forthepastseveralyears,theresultsof20tracerprogramsconductedinreservoirsundergoingwater-flood,gasdrives,andalternatewater-solventinjectionhavebecomeavailabletotheauthor.Thesexacerpro-gramsprovidedaprovinggroundandopponunitytoscreentheperformiinceofnumerouswaterandgastracermaterials.Theresultsalsohelpedarriveatasuiteof‘opreferred**tracersforwaterfloodsandgasdrives.Thispaperdiscussestheuseofchemicalandradioac-tivetracerstoidentifysweepproblemsinatertiarymisci-blepilotareainWestTexas,twopotentialmicellarpilotareasinWyoming,aWyomingwaterflood.andahydro-carbonmiscibleprojectinAlberta,Canada.
Discussion
InformationObtainableFromhterwellTracing
Specificinformationobtainedfromtracingtheinterwellflowofinjectedfluidsthroughasubterraneanformationandhowthisinformationisderivedfromthetracerdataisdiscussed.Thistypeofinformationistheobjectivec.,everyoilfieldtracingprogramandisusefulinthedesign,control,andinterpretationofsubsequenttertiaryoilre-coveryprocessesappliedinthatfield.1.VolumetricSweep:Thevolumeoffluidinjectedataninjectionwell10
breukrhrough
ofthetracedfluidatanoffsetproducerisindicativeofthevohimetricsweepefficiencybe-tweenthatpairofwells.Verysmallinjectedvolumestobreakthrough(relativetotheinterwellporevol-ume)wouldindicatetheexistenceofaninterwellopenfracture(oraverythinhighpermeabilitystringer)andwouldgiveanideaofthevolumeofthatchannel.Knowledgeofchannelvolumeisimportanttothesizingofaremedialtreatment.
Asuiteof‘preferredgasandwatertracersisverifiedforfielduseinidetitijjinginterwellsweepproblemsandprovidinginformationusefultothedesign,control,andinterpretationofatertiaryoilrecoveryprocess.-
1410JOURNALOFPETROLEUMTECHNOLOGY
 
2.3.4,5,6.
1
dentificationofOffendingInjectors:Probleminjectionwellscanbeidentifiedbyassociat-ingthebreakthroughofaspecifictracertoitspintofinjection,anditisatthiswellthataremedialtreat-menttosealachannelnormallywouldbe~pplied.DirectionalFlowTrends:Whenfluidsareinjectedinaregularpattern(five-spot,nine-spot,linedrive,etc.)andthefluidsin-jectedateachwelltaggedwithadifferenttracer,.anydirectionalflowtrendswillbeobviousfromthere-peatedearlytracerbreakthroughatproducerslocatedinapreferentialdirectionfromtheinjectors.Wheredirectionalflowtrendsareprevalent,theinterwellsweepefficiencyoftencanbeimprovedbyalteringtheinjectionpatternand/ortheinjectionandwith-drawalratesatselectedwells.DelineationofFlowBarriers:Faultswithlargedisplacementalongthefaultplaneandpermeabilitypinchoutscanrepresentbarrierstotheflowoffluidsperpendiculartotheiraxis.Nor-mally,suchbarriersaredetectedbybottom-holepres-surebuild-upsurveysruninwellslocatedinthevicin-ity,However,thecourseofthesebarrierscanbedelineatedfurtherfromtheproducingwellsre-sponse,orlackofresponse,totracedwaterinjectionatanarrayofwellssurroundingtheproducer.RelativeVelcicitiesofInjectedFluids:Whendifferentfluidsareinjectedsimultaneously,alternately,orsequentiallyinthesamewell,eachfluidbeingtaggedwithadifferentnon-adsorbingtracer,therelativevelocitiesofthesefluidscanbemeasuredfromtheindividualtracerarrivaltimesatoffsetproducers.Forexample,assumethattracedsolventandtracedwaterwerebeinginjectedalter-natelyinthesamewell.lleearlyarrivalofoneofthetracedfluidsattheproducingwellwouldindicatethattheearlyarrivingfluidhadcontactedlessofthereser-voirthanthelateamivingfluid.Thiswouldshowaneedtoalteroneofthefluidinjectioncyclestoachievemoreuniformsweepofthereservoir.Simi.lady,inamicellarfloodwhereawaterpreflush,rnicellarfluid,polymer,andchasewaterareinjectedsequentially,theoverrunning
or
fingeringofonein-jectedfluidthroughanotherwouldpointouttheneedforbetterfluidmobilitycontroltoachievemoreuni-formsweepbythevariousinjectedfluids.EvaluationofSweepImprovementl%%tmen~s:Remedialtreatmenitocorrectsweepproblemscanbeevaluatedbycomparingthebefore-and-aftertreatmentinterwellvolumetricsweepasdeterminedbytracing.
“Referred”WaterandGasTracersThe
“preferredwaterandgastracerslistedinTable1werescreenedfromalargerlistofpotentialtracermateri-alsbasedontheirsatisfactoryperformanceinfieldfluidtracingprograms.Manyofthesesametracermaterialshavebeenusedbyotheroperatorsintheindustryi-swithvariedreportedsuccess,Thesetracermaterialsmaybeclassifiedasfollows:1.RadioisotopesTritiumasagas,orincombinationwithwaterorotherhydrocarbongases,maybeusedfortracingputposes.Inanyform,itemits100percentbetaradiationatrelativelylowenergies.Tritiumis=
NOVEMBER,1977=w
2.3,
4,probablythe
bestperforming
and
mostwidelyused
singletracerintheindustry.Itiseasilydetectableinlowconcentrationsduringits12.4yearhalf-life,isrelativelyinexpensive,requiresverythinshieldingtocontainitslowenergyradiation,andpresentsnoprac-ticalhealthhazard.Tntium’sbetaemissionsarenotdetectablebyagammarayloggingtool;therefore,itspresencewillnotinterferewithwellloggingopera-tions.‘thehandlingandinjectionofradioactivemate-rialsmustbedonebyafirmlicensedbytheNationalRegulatoryCommission(formerlytheAtomicEn-ergyCommission).Krypton”6isaninertgashavingaha[f-lifeof~bout10,7years.Krypton”sradiationis99,5percentbeta,althoughsomegammaemissionoccurs.Loggingtoolswillpickupthegammaradiationwherekryptonufiispresentinlargequantities.Beinginert,kryptonhaslowadsorptiononreservoirrockanddoesnotenterintotheanimalbiologicalprocesses.Thismaterialhasadensityaboutfivetimesthatofmethaneandshouldbeinjectedinacarriergassuchasargon.Promethiumi’A*7njectedinasequesteringagentdidnotperformsatisfactorilyintwofieldprojectsnotdiscussedinthispaper.Saltswithdetectablecationsoranionsfieldexperi-encehasindicatedthatcations,whetherradioactiveornon-radioactive,donotpropagatethroughreservoirrockasreadilyasdoestheanionportionofasalt.Theammonium,potassium,orsodiumformsofthesaltsnormallyareusedbecauseoftheirhighvolubilityinwater,Backgroundconcentrationsofiodideandbromideoftenarefoundinoilfieldbrinesandtheiruseastracersshouldbcavoidedifthebackgroundcon-centrationsexceedabout20ppm.Fluorescentdyestwopotentiallyusefulsolubledyesaremarketedasuranineandrhodamine-b.‘I%esedyescanbedetectedinconcentrationsdowntopartsperbillionunderultravioletlight.However,thesedyesarehighlyadsorbedonreservoirrock,andcer-tainionsinreservoirwaters!sndtoquenchtheirfluorescence.Theyarenotrecommendedastracerswhentheirexpectedresidencetimeinthereservoirexceedsabout5days.Dyescaremostusefuliniden-tifyinginterwellfractureswhereresidencetimesareshortandlossesduetoadsorptionareminimal.Watersolublealcoholstheloweralcohols;i.e.,methyl,ethyl,andisopropyl,arepreferentiallywatersoluble,canbetransportedinwatersolution,andaredetectablechromatographicallyinlowconcentra-tions.Althoughisopropylalcoholappearstobeunaf-fected,aerobicbacteriawillbiodegradebothmethylandethylalcohols.Specialwelltreatmentsmayberequiredtoovercomethisdegradation5.Anoxygenscavengerorbactericideusuallyisinjected(incon-centrationsofabout50ppm)withthesetracers.Further,approximatelythesamebactericideconcen-trationshouldbeaddedtoproducedwatersamplestopreventthealcoholdegradationduringstorageorwhileintransittoananalyticallaboratory.
MqjorConsiderationsintheFieidTracerProgramsThe
choiceoftracersusedinthereportedfieldtracingprogramswasbasedonthelevelofbackgroundconcen-trationsofthetracematerialsinthereservoirfluids,
141t
 
bytheircompatibilitywiththefluidtobetraced,bytheirperformanceinpastfieldtests,andbycostconsiderations.‘hequantityoftracermaterialthatwasinjectedde-pendeduponthereservoirvolumetobetracedand,therefore,uponthewellspacing,averagepaythickness,porosity,andfluidsaturations,
Thelossofchemical
tracerbecauseofadsorpticvonareservoirrocksurfaceisnotknownforthosechemicalsaltslistedinTable1.Forthatreason,theamountofchemicaltracerinjectednor-mallywasoverdesignedtocompensateforpossiblead-sorptionlossandtogainsensitivityintheanalysisofproducedsamples,Theobjectivesineachtracerprogramdesignweretoachieveintheproducedfluids:1)achemi-caltracerconcentrationthatwaswellaboveitsminimumdetectablelimitforasustainedperiodand2)asafeupper-levelofradioactivetracerconcentration,onethatrepresentednohazardtooperationspersonnelevertifearlier-than-expectedbreakthroughofthetracedfluidsoccurred,AmodifiedversionsoftheBrigham-Smithmode17forpredictingtracerflowinafive-spotwellpatternprovidedtheguidelinesforachievingthedesiredleveloftracerconcentrationsintheproducedfluids.Tinismathematicalmodelassumeszeroadsorptionofthetracerused,butaccountsforthemanytracerdilutioneffects.TheequationusedforpredictingbothwaterandgastracerflowispresentedintheAppendix,
All
radioactivetracerswereinjectedbyproperlylicensedcommercialfirms.Thechemicaltracersweremixedandinjected,
ushtgnormal
oilfieldpumpingequipmentorapumptruck.Al!tracerswereinjectedasaspike,usuallyrequiringfrom1hourto1day’stimeforinjectionatanyonewell.Tracersshouldnotbeinjecteduntilthepatternareahasbeenpressuredwiththeinjectedfluid.Ifthetracedinjectionfluidisspentincollapsingagasphaseorother-wisepressuringthereservoir,thevolumeinjectedtotracerbreakthrough(whichisindicativeofthevolumetricsweeptobreakthrough)maybesignificantlylargerthanthatdeterminedafterthepatternareahasbeenpressured.Inmultitracerprograms,thetracersinjectedshouldbearrangedsothatadjacentwellsdonotreceivethesametracer.Wherepractical,allproducingwellsinth~immediatetracedareaweresampledonareguhirschedule.Thesamplingfrequencydependedontheinterwelldistances,injectionrates,andbreakthroughexpectancy,‘hefwstsamplefromeachproducingwellusuallywastakenwithin4to7daysaftertracerinjectiontoavoidmissingaseverechannelingproblemsuchasaninterwellfracture.
TABLEl-PFtEFERREDTRACEtlMATERIALSA,
WaterTracers1.Tritiatedwater2.Ammoniumhiocyanate3.Ammoniumnitrate4.Smlumorpotassiumbromide5.Sodium
or
potassiumodide6.Sodiumchloride7.Fluoreaoentdyes8.WatereolubtealcoholsB.GasTraoers1.Tritium(Ila)2.Tritiatedmethane(H3CHJ3.Tritiatedethane(H%H,-CH,J4.Krypton-85KPS)1412
IntheSouthSwanHillsUnittracerprogram(tobedis-cussed),thelargenumberofproducingwells(>200)andthehighwellheadpressuresmadeitimpracticaltosampleeverywellonaregularbasisortocollectwellheadsamples.Formostofthefieldtracingprograms,analysisoftheradioactivegassamplesandthechemicaltraceranalysesweredonein-house,whileacommercialanalyticalcom-panyprovidedthetritiatedwateramdyses.
FieldResults
Fivefieldtracerprogramsarediscussedtodemonstratewhatinformationwasobtainedandhowthisinformationwasused.
LevellandUnitTertiaryMhciblePi)ot
ThisWestTexaspilotareaisdevelopedontwoadjacentfive-spotfloodpatternswithsixinjectors,twocenterproducers,andtwoflankingproducersasshowninFig.1.Thepilotareacomprisesapproximately12acres.Duringthewaterfloodofthisarea,fourtracerswereemployed:6curiesoftritiatedwater(HTO)eachatWells598and601,10,000lbammoniumnitrate(NOI)eachatWells600and603,1,400lbpotassiumio-dide(1-)atWell599,and2,500lbammoniumthio-cyanate(CNS-)atWell602.Fig.1showsthevolumeofwaterinjectedateachwellfromthedateoftracerinjectiontothebreakthroughofthetraceratthenearoffsetproducers.Assumingthatone-fourththevolumeofwaterinjectedateachwellduringthistimeactuallyinvadedthepatternarea,avolumetricsweeptotracerbreakthroughoffrom20to25percentoftheabsoluteporevolumewascalculatedforallquadrantsinthe
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—Tettiarypilotarea,LevellandUnit.JOURNALOFPETROLEUMTECHNOLOGY

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