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Water-alternating-gas (WAG)

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Water-alternating-gas (WAG)
The WAG injection process aims to squeeze more oil out of a reservoir.
It w as originally intended to improve sw eep efficiency during gas flooding, w ith intermittent slugs of w ater and gas designed by and large to follow the same route through the reservoir. Variants include injecting gas as a supplement to w ater or vice versa, primarily to reach other parts of the reservoir. In the case of supplementary w ater injection, it also saves on valuable injection gas. A distinction can often be draw n betw een miscible and immiscible WAG injection, and the w ater and gas can be injected simultaneously (SWAG) rather than intermittently. Adding a foaming agent to the injection w ater can also improve the gas sw eep.

Segregated flow during up-dip WAG injection.

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20/05/13

Water-alternating-gas (WAG)

Present position
WAG injection has been w idely applied since the late 1950s. Statoil has used it to varying degrees on quite a few fields, including most of the larger developments operated by the group on the Norw egian continental shelf. These include Snorre, Statfjord, Gullfaks, Heidrun, Norne, Veslefrikk and Siri. The group has also been pursuing research and development activities for many years to improve understanding of relevant mechanisms and to improve predictive capability. WAG injection accordingly represents a w ell-established technology in Statoil today. The typical improved oil recovery (IOR) potential for WAG injection w hen compared w ith w ater injection is quoted in the literature at 5-10%. Gas represents a large fraction of the total cost, making WAG injection a fairly expensive method except in cases w here a gas surplus is available. Challenges related to WAG injection being addressed in Statoils R&D w ork primarily concern: Mechanisms: understanding microscopic effects, particularly in cases w here three-phase flow and hysteresis are important for the IOR effect. Capillary phenomena and w ettability are important properties for low permeable rock and may be taken advantage of or manipulated for IOR gains. Predictions. Use of foam (foam-assisted WAG or FAWAG). Gas costs: gas injection is usually seen as supplementary to an on-going w aterflood, and finding technical and commercial w ays to reduce gas costs w ould prove beneficial. The WAG injection process aims to squeeze more oil out of the reservoirs. It is w ell know n that remaining (residual) oil in the flooded rock may be low est w hen three phases oil, w ater and gas have been achieved in this volume. Water injection alone tends to sw eep the low er parts of a reservoir, w hile gas injected alone sw eeps more of the upper parts of a reservoir ow ing to gravitational forces. Three-phase gas, oil and w ater flow is better at displacing residual oil in the pore system than tw o-phase flow . WAG and SWAG thus improve the efficiency of both microscopic and macroscopic displacement. The challenge is to achieve sufficient sw eep in the reservoirs. A consistent three-phase model for capillary pressure and relative permeability has been implemented in compositional eclipse in an effort to improve the ability to model hysteresis and miscibility effects. The model permits the use of primary drainage, imbibition and secondary drainage data for both gas-oil and oil-w ater systems.
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Water-alternating-gas (WAG)

Carbon dioxide is usually injected in a WAG mode. Although carbon injection is treated as a separate technology in this strategy w ork, all the above-mentioned challenges are also relevant for the greenhouse gas. These technologies are key to optimising WAG injection procedures and to improving forecasts, and thereby to creating value by improving oil recovery.

Published 2008-01-11, 13:25 CET. Updated 2009-09-23, 15:43 CET.

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