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SPE 105785-PP Utilizing the Effect of Nitrogen to Implement Light Oil Air Injection in Malaysian Oil Fields
Zeeshan Mohiuddin, SPE, D.M Anwar Raja, SPE, Ismail Mohd Saaid, SPE, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
Copyright 2007, Society of Petroleum Engineers This paper was prepared for presentation at the 15th SPE Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference held in Bahrain International Exhibition Centre, Kingdom of Bahrain, 11–14 March 2007. This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper for commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.
Abstract Air injection has been used as one of the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques especially to extract the heavy oil. Nevertheless, a number of applications of in-situ combustion (ISC) for light oil reservoirs have been also reported successful. In light oil reservoirs, the thermal method of EOR is known as light oil air injection (LOAI). This paper discusses the research work carried out to find the potentials of LOAI in Malaysian light oil reservoirs. Screening criteria has been developed from which Dulang E12-14 reservoirs were short listed for further study. In research study, combustion was assumed to occur in low temperature oxidation (LTO) to eliminate the complexities of combustion process. In simulation studies, effect of nitrogen was utilized in place of air, as nitrogen has various common properties with air due to the higher percentage in it. By this assumption, the early potentials of LOAI can be identified without performing experimental studies. This method could provide an easy alternative to assess the potential application of the LOAI technique for depleting Malaysian light oil reservoirs. Experimental studies may need to be carried out if simulation results show the significant amount of incremental oil. Results of the simulation work seemed to suggest that the LOAI could significantly increase the oil recovery factor from the depleting Malaysian light-oil reservoirs. The EOR screening software PRIze also reflected this trend. Besides this incremental recovery, the volume of produced gas also increased. Introduction After natural depletion and water flooding, Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques are implemented to recover the remaining oil from a reservoir. These EOR techniques include thermal methods, miscible gas injection, immiscible gas injection, chemical flooding, polymer flooding and microbial flooding. The contribution from thermal methods is nearly 41% of all EOR techniques . Unlike other EOR methods that require special and possibly non-available injecting fluids, the thermal method (e.g. air injection and insitu combustion) utilizes the readily available air. In the past, EOR using thermal methods had been commercially applied to non carbonate heavy-oil reservoirs . Main oil recovery mechanism of thermal EOR methods is reduction of oil viscosity through in-situ generation of heat and steam. Presently, the scope of thermal methods has extended from heavy-oil to light-oil reservoirs. This thermal method in light-oil reservoir is known as Light Oil Air Injection (LOAI). The LOAI contributes not only to the viscosity reduction as in ISC, it also provides additional driving mechanisms . In the LOAI, air is injected into the deep, hot and high pressure reservoir where combustion occurs which consumes about 5-10% of the residual oil. The resulting flue gas, which is primarily nitrogen and carbon oxides provides the mobilizing force to the downstream reaction region, sweeping it to production wells. Crude oil combustion is made-up of two types of reactions: Low Temperature Oxidation (LTO) and High Temperature Oxidation (HTO) . In light oils, LTO extends from the ignition temperature to approximately 150°C and then followed by HTO until the temperature reaches 300°C . Several studies reported that LTO in light-oil reservoir at temperature of 80 - 130 oC [2, 4] can be sufficient to consume all oxygen in the injecting air. This temperature range in LTO is considered safe whereby thermal effects are no longer significant [2, 5].
002406 |1.051 | |ft3/lbm | | | |Acentric Factor |-0.9672 | Table 2 shows the effect of varying pressure on the compressibility factor of air and nitrogen at a fixed temperature of 302 oF (approximate temperature after combustion in LTO range). Table 3 summarizes the basic requirement of the candidate reservoir for the process of LOAI. Reservoir Screening In the present study. the detailed simulation study in the present research work was based on nitrogen as an injectant.1 |-346 | |Critical Pressure |534 |478 | |psi | | | |Critical Temperature|-221.0372 | |Specific Gravity |1 |0.8 |-320 | |Freezing Point oF |-353. in which nitrogen varies from 78% to 80 % of its composition.03296 |1800 |1.038405 |2000 |1.000054 |1.013926 |1000 |1.022546 |1.5 | |oF | | | |Critical Volume |0.001016 |1.0517 |0.006315 |600 |1.027772 |1600 |1.9625 |28.022858 |1400 |1. Physical properties of nitrogen and air are almost similar.018237 |1200 |1. Two assumptions were made which were LTO-combustion mode and nitrogen injection in place of air.1 software of| |Bhavya-Tech) | |Property |Air |Nitrogen | |Molecular Weight |28. which was developed by evaluating successful LOAI projects around the world and consulting industry experts . It also shows that the difference of compressibility factors between air and nitrogen is almost negligible. Since nitrogen is a major component in air and physical properties of air are close to that of nitrogen.011862 |1.1 |software of Bhavya-Tech) |Pressure (psi) |Compressibility |Compressibility | |Factor (Air) |Factor | | |(Nitrogen) |0 |1.The purpose of the present study is to determine technically. identification of suitable Malaysian reservoirs for the LOAI project was done with the help of screening criteria.0134 | |Boiling Point (oF) |-317. |Table 2: Comparison of compressibility factor of |air andN2 at 302 oF (Source : Fluidprops1.01511 |1.3 |-232. These assumptions were used to avoid complex thermal studies and to identify the early potential of the LOAI method. Table 1 compares physical properties of air and nitrogen at atmospheric conditions.000194 |200 |1. LTO Air Injection Vs Nitrogen Injection Air is a mixture of gases. the success level of LOAI in Malaysia by utilizing optimal resources.00187 |0. . One of the tests consisted of 2 nitrogen injection cases and one air injection case using sandstone cores saturated with stock tank oil.009945 |800 |1.006391 |1.008949 |1.004203 |1. Results from the experiment showed that difference of approximately 3% to 4% oil recovery was obtained when nitrogen is injected in place of air in consolidated porous medium with light oil under reservoir conditions . The research work involved screening of potential reservoirs for the LOAI project and black oil simulation of identified reservoirs.003058 |400 |1. |Table 1: Comparison of physical properties of | |air and N2. (Source : Fluidprops1.044091 | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | Sakthikumar performed a series of tests in his studies for air injection .026701 |1.018677 |1.
This is in agreement with a reported study which suggests that immiscible gas displacement needs to be evaluated when miscibility with nitrogen could not be achieved . . falling reservoir pressures coupled with decreasing production rates had led to the implementation of a peripheral water injection scheme through down-dip wells in year 1996. The initial depletion strategy for Dulang S3 block was by natural depletion. These two modes were immiscible nitrogen gas injection with and without water effect of WAG. Miscibility Studies In Dulang E12-14 reservoirs.Based on the availability of the data of 22 Malaysian light oil reservoirs. Verification of Screening Criteria The selection of Dulang E12-14 as candidate reservoirs for the LOAI was further verified using PRIze. E12-14 reservoirs of Dulang field were selected for further simulation study. It represents the application of air injection as an immiscible gas displacement EOR method. Feasibility studies in year 2002 identified re-injection of the produced gas as an EOR option . an EOR screening software by Alberta Research Council. Two different modes were tested in prediction studies. |Table 3: Screening Criteria of LOAI to Select |Candidate Reservoir |Required Parameter |Criteria developed |Current Reservoir Pressure |Moderate (1200-2500 |(P) |psi) |Current reservoir |Higher than 100 oC |Temperature (T) | |Current Oil Saturation (So)|Minimum 30% |Pay thickness (t) |Not less than 8m |Formation Depth (d) |Minimum 200 m |Porosity (?) |Minimum 20% |Vertical Permeability |Maximum 0. In addition. The first production from the block started in year 1991. for a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Nitrogen miscibility pressure in oil is higher than carbon dioxide [9. 10]. to evaluate its suitability as future EOR process for the rest of Dulang field.4 |/Horizontal Permeability | |(kv/kh) | |Oil Gravity |Minimum 30o API |Current Water Saturation |Maximum 60% |(So) | |Homogeneity |Preferred | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | Production History of Dulang E12-14 Reservoirs Dulang E12-14 reservoirs lie in S3 fault block. The single cell model in PRIze was developed by assigning detailed information of required parameters of selected E12/13 and E14 reservoirs. Pilot project of Water Alternating Gas (WAG) was initiated in year 2002 with an attempt to improve recovery from the E12/13 and E14 reservoirs in S3 fault block and also. the present study considered an immiscible effect.Therefore. Subsequently. miscibility is difficult to achieve for carbon dioxide gas injection . miscibility is difficult to achieve if the percentage of carbon dioxide is less than 30% . This block was developed with a total of 6 wells which includes two down-dip water injectors.
Figure 1 also shows that immiscible nitrogen injection without gas injection cannot be continued after 3 years of production. restarting the extrapolated history matched model in year 2006. injection of gas with nitrogen gas density (0. Both cases were configured to inject 4000 Mscf/day of gas. Two different cases were then simulated. nitrogen injection with WAG produces good sweep. These increased number of layers helped in finding the effect of different production parameters (e.g. oil production. GOR etc). in contrast to the oil recovery of almost 8% OOIP without WAG.Figure 1: Results obtained using PRIze for Immiscible N2 gas injection with and without WAG Figure 1 shows that nitrogen injection with WAG could produce oil recovery of almost 18% OOIP. Air is lighter than hydrocarbon gas due to the high percentage of N2 in it. Sensitivity study was carried out to find out the effect of density variation of the injecting gas in the reservoirs. This model was built on a regular 25m x 25m grid oriented in a North South direction. due to density variation of the injected fluid at fine scale. A total of 24 layers used to model the E12/13 and E14 reservoirs. In the second case. In this study the history matched model of 2003 was used. Results from this screening test showed that the water for pressure maintenance achieved a better oil recovery. In the first case.with and without refinement. where it could last for almost 17 years. Sensitivity Analysis WAG is an ongoing EOR method in Dulang E12-14 reservoirs in which produced hydrocarbon gas is reinjected into the reservoir with alternate water injection. injection of gas with hydrocarbon gas density (0. However. However in the sensitivity analysis. Extrapolation of history matched model with WAG was carried out from year 2003 to 2006. Figure 2 represents the comparison of model with 72 and 24 layers. the number of layers in z direction was increased from 24 to 72. This is because of early breakthrough of nitrogen due to its high mobility ratio.07907 lb/ft3) was started in 2006 which was continued to .0815 lb/ ft3) was started in 2006 which was continued to 2020. Figure 2: Side view of the model .
Figure 3: Comparison of Oil production using hydrocarbon and N2 gas density. Results comparison of these two cases clearly indicates that injection of gas with reduced density produced very little effect on oil. 4 and 5 shows the simulation results. Figure 4: Comparison of Water production using hydrocarbon and N2 gas density.2020. water and gas production. . Figures 3.
a base case is required so that performance of the process can be estimated.Figure 5: Comparison of Gas Oil Ratio using hydrocarbon and N2 gas density. restarting of history matched model was carried out from year 2003. two gas injectors 14L and 10L and three up dip producer wells 5S.g. N2) is considered. The Dulang S3 fault block was developed with a total of 7 wells. 3. 2. .e. In the base case. Upper target for the gas injection rate at surface was set 4000Mscf/day with voidage replacement fraction of 0. The target for the water injection at surface was set 10000 stb/day. To compare the results in the simulation studies. 16S and 2L.7. Simulation Studies Figure 6 shows the top view of the simulation model of Dulang E12-14 reservoirs. application of WAG in 2002 after secondary recovery) was chosen as the base case. A29L and A31L. Nitrogen effect is utilized in place of air. black oil simulation was for the following reasons: 1. with no immediate control. Therefore actual production scenario (i.e. Effect of WAG on different production parameters (e. It includes two down-dip water injectors i. Non sensitive behavior. Thermal effects are not considered due to LTO. Immiscible effect of combustion mixture (CO2. oil production. GOR etc) was predicted till year 2020. In the detailed simulation studies. 4. WAG time period was set 90 days to allow alternate cycling of water and gas.
If the produced gas contains large amount of unburned oxygen. the unburned oxygen would create some corrosion related problems. which is considered to be unfavorable. case 2 and case 3 are very close to each other. This might be due to the reservoir heterogeneities and unfavorable mobility ratio between the oil and the injected gas. producing about 10.000stb/day|3500stb/day) |4000Mscf/day)|) | | | | |14L. 5S . 5S . 10G |31L.2% respectively. |Table |Case |No | |1 | | | | |2 | | | | |3 | | | | | |4 | | | | 4: Description of Simulation Cases |Gas Injection|Water |Production |Well(s) |Injection |well(s) | |Well(s) | |14L. Besides this increment in oil recovery. 2 and 3 having ultimate RF of 35. |target = |target = |target = |4000Mscf/day)|10. different configurations were simulated as illustrated in Table 4. 29L |2L. |(Group inj |target = |target = |target = |10.000stb/day|3500stb/day) | |) | |2L. 14L.16S |(Group inj |(Group inj |(Group prod.8% and 35. |target = |target = |target = |4500Mscf/day)|10.16S | |(Group inj |(Group prod.000stb/day|3500stb/day) | |) | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | Figure 7 shows the comparison of total oil production among the simulated case 1. Furthermore.Figure 6: Top view of the simulation model Optimization Studies In optimization studies. 10G |31L. 29L | 5S . 29L | 5S . 10G |31L. 10G |31L. gas oil ratio is also increased as shown in Figure 9. case 2 and case 3 against the base case. These configurations were based on changing injection and production status. Figure 8 also shows the same trend in recovery factor (RF) of case 1.16S |(Group inj |(Group inj |(Group prod.4MMstb.16S |(Group inj |(Group inj |(Group prod. High amount of gas production is considered to be very critical in LOAI. It shows that the ultimate recovery obtained in case 1. 35. This cumulative amount indicates that the increment of gas injection rate or conversion of well 2L into injection well does not produce significant effect on the oil production.6%.000stb/day|3000stb/day) | |) | |14L. . restart of WAG base case was made from April 2006. In all of these configurations. |target = |target = |target = |4000Mscf/day)|13. it would create safety problems at the surface during breakthrough . 29L |2L.
7% as shown in Figure 7 and 8 respectively.6 MMstb with a RF of 33. case 2 and case 3. It could be due to the better sweep in the WAG process. however. However. This might also suggest that well 2L contributed to the significant gas production in case 1. The projected cumulative oil production for the base case is about 9. the base case has significantly low and uniform GOR of 0.4% as shown in Figure 7 and Figure 8 respectively. is smaller than that of simulated cases.Figure 7: Comparison of total oil production. Figure 9 shows that shutting of well 2L would decrease the amount of produced gas.5 MSCF/stb as shown in Figure 9. The decrement in the oil production could be due to shutting the production well 2L. In contrast to all simulated cases. obtained in simulated cases Expected recovery obtained from case 4 is 9. Figure 8: Comparison of recovery factor in simulated cases .3 MSCF/stb is still considerably high. This value. the peak GOR of 4.4 MMstb with RF of 32.
Solutions. Mr.” paper SPE 72106 presented at the SPE Asia Pascific Improved Oil Recovery Conference. 11-14 March 1995. Dr. Zahidah Md. et al. Reference 1. Ren.Tech. 13-15 November 2006. Giliham.” paper SPE 29806 presented at the 1995 SPE Middle East Oil Show. Malaysia.”. 6. Sakthikumar. Neve.K. Zeeshan et al. Darrell Davis (Petroleum Development Oman) and Mr. 21-23 November 2005. R. Black oil simulation studies on Dulang E12-14 reservoirs show that incremental recovery could be obtained at the cost of high GOR. San Antonio. S. 7. PETRONAS). Mohiuddin. Preliminary investigation on the potential application of LOAI for Malaysian reservoirs can be determined by using nitrogen modeling in place of air. Doha. T.” Paper presented at International Conference on Environment (ICENV). Penang. Acknowledgments The authors acknowledge Dr. et al.” SPE Journal (March 2002). W. Nasir Haji Darman (Petroleum Management Unit. 2. obtained in simulated cases Conclusions 1. P : “Fault block S3 WAG scheme – Reservoir Simulation Modeling Report. 5.G. Journal of Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (January 2004).: “Challenges and Strategy for Increased Oil Recovery. Bharath Rao (Bhavya Tech.” Platform. et al. 4. USA).” paper SPE 38848 presented at the 1997 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. Myron I Kuhlman (M.. USA) for their consultation.: “Keys to Increasing Production Via Air Injection in Gulf Coast Light Oil Reservoirs. 2. Schulte. Kuala . paper IPTC 10146 presented at the 2005 International Petroleum Engineering Conference. 8.M. et al. Noorisman Maroop (PETRONAS Carigali. Zain.: “Evaluation of CO2 gas injection for major oil production fields in Malaysia – experimental approach case study: Dulang Field. 4.Figure 9: Comparison of GOR. Qatar. et al. Behrain. S.” Study was conducted for PETRONAS Research and Scientific Services in March 2004. Presence of significant amount of unburned oxygen could create safety related problems especially during breakthrough.: “An Investigation of the Feasibility of Air Injection into a Waterflooded Light Oil Reservoir. Moore.: “Potential application of light oil air injection to enhance oil recovery from Malaysian reservoirs.H.: “Air Injection LTO Process: An IOR Technique for Light-Oil Reservoirs.: “Air Injection–Based IOR for Light Oil Reservoirs. A potential field for LOAI could be identified using a set of screening criteria. Nor Aidil Anua (Group Research. 5-8 October 1997. 3. Malaysia).R. Mr. PETRONAS). 3.
588 E-01 = m3 4.: “Reservoir engineering aspects of light oil recovery by air injection. Malaysia.F.Yellig. et al. 8-9 October 2001. Turta.T. 9. et al. A.535 E-01 = Kg 6. W.: “Determination and prediction of CO2 minimum miscibility pressures (MMP).” Journal of Petroleum Technology (January 1980) SI Metric Conversion Factors ft inches bbl lbs psi x x x x x 3.54 E-02 = m 1.048 E-01 = m 2.” SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering (August 2001) 10.Lumpur.894 E+03 = Pa .
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