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SIGNIFICANCE OF FOAMY-OIL BEHAVIOUR IN PRIMARY

PRODUCTION OF HEAVY OILS


B.B. MAINI H.K. SARMA A.E. GEORGE
this article begins on the next page F F
-i C-P T673 - 0,F- 0 7 Significance of Foamy-oil Behaviour in Primary Production of Heavy Oils B.B. MAINI, H.K. SARMA* Petroleum Recovery Institute A.E. GEORGE Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology now with Japan National Oil Corporation Abstract This paper examines the effect of in situ formation of a non- aqu,eous foam on flow of oil-gas mixtures in porous media. A laboratory technique to investigate the role of foamy-oil behav- iour in solution gas dfive is described and experimental verifica- tion of the in situ fo ation of non-aqueous foams under solu- tion
gas dnve conditions i sented. T'he experimental result show that the in situ formation of non-aqueous foam reta ds the formation of a continuous gas phase and dramatically increases the apparent trapped gas satu- ration. Th'ts provides a natural pressure maintenance mechanism and leads to recovery of a much higher fraction of the original oil in place under solution gas drive. Introduction Sevei-;il he@ivy oit i-esei-voii.@ iii AlheilLi @iii(I Saskatc[ic@A,,Ili, show "I-oaiiiv-oil licti@iviolir iii wol[li@i(i sitiiiples pi-o(luccd iiiidei ,;oltitioti ,as -
drivc. 'Fhe oil is pi-o(iticell iii the l'oriii ot' @iti oil coil tillt]OLI@ toaiii which lias the ot chocolate mousse @ill(i contains ii [iigli vo]Ullle f'[-@ictioll @)t' ,@is, 'lhis to@iiii c@iii bc quite stahle @iti(I iii;iy persist foi- seveiiil iii ol)eii vessels. 'i-lic t'ield liroC[L[L:IiOtl li-oiii itiese resei-v()ii-" [li@it the prodtictioii fliecli@iiiisilis li-e Colilf)]CX @IIILI iiitv he (iiiiic (Iil'l'eretit t'rotii tlit)se ciico[iiitercd in coiivclltioll@il ,,oltitioii (Iiic i-esei-voit-s. high pi-oductioii
Sever@il ot'these reserv(iii-s slioA, @tii Both ilic rate (it pi -odL[Ctioii aii(i ilic lol;il jecovei-v Lindei soltiti ,,@is Lirixc zti-c 111LICh Iii,,Iiei- ili@iii @Nli;tt ,)kilti be expected fi-oiii I tilc@isui-eci i-esci-),;oii- p@tr@iiiielet-s. Iii@lol-ill:ttcllill Llie priiiiai-v f)]-o dL[Clii)ll li)t- these Wel[S k)t'tell I-CLILlit-C" @11IT-c@ilistic ,idjL]@tIllCilt 01' II]C@ISL[i-ed ptitiiietei-,,, SLICII IS tIlC @th,,,OILI(C perilic@ihiiilv @iii order ol' ili@igiiitude. In @l I,Ct@cilt I)titiiic@itioii, L,ougheaLl itiLI ti@ liavc describe(i
tll(' LI]IIISLI@ll pt-iiiii -v prol L (@tioll bCll@IN iOL11- 4,11' Celtic t-'ield rel)oitillu tll@ll IIIL' i'@tic ot pioductioii ill ,;oiii(, i@ iiloi,c th@iii ten tiiiik-,, ti)(, pseltdo-ste@l(lv st@itc k)il t'](iw r@ite under r@idi,,il tlt)coiiclitl()Ils. [,o obtitiii @i @itis- t@ictoi-N, history iilLil(:Ii ot' the piiiii@iiy I)t@)(Iklk'tiOll bell@iViOLII-. IIIL'V li@1(i @ISSLIII]E @'erv uiiiisti@il ics(,i 'These iiicltideti hot onlv @iii it-lit'ici@ill@ fii-li ;Il@Solill(' bL]t @IISO @l IILII)I)C(,l
@@IS Si)ILII-@ttiOll of, ;ilicl @iii Illii@tl@ll t)il i-el:itive lieitll@ @illililN, ckii."c, productivity I'i-oin uiict)iisolidtic(i iiii(i @i voluiiic ol i@ I)Iodtl(-e(I @Nith tlie ()il. _ (;eiiei-@tllv, :iiiv Itteiiipt to Stop s@ill(I i-
cslilts iti cir,.i.,,tic;il II.C(ltlcc,(i I)T-ii(Iiicti-)ii. Aiiotht-i P:iit ll [Ill//Ie i,; tti,,It w@ti 5() ol' tho@ w,2]ls, which @ire prolific in primary pro(luctioll. silow Vtl['Y 1)(lor r,.-,Spollse to stcain stimulation. St-%;k-r@)i I)ossible @iliscs of this anomalous pi-odl]ction behav- iOL11 becti sLIg.@ICSt (I ,ind are being ijivcstigated. 'These incILi(](- foriii@itioti ol' ),oriii hales around the well which increase the WC]i riciiiis(@). S@iiid dil@ition d(le to removal
ol' sub- li@illti@ll V(@[Litlles ol' s,,ind with the ()il, reSLIlting in increased @ibsoltite p,-,t-ineability. appears to be anothei- possible mecha- iiisiii I @ I ti(- eiihancenient of oil mobility bv nucle@ition ot' @t large ,ikiiiil,(@r ol' iriicrohl[bbles has heen sug,esteci @is zitiothei [)ossillilitv( Another possible cause of the anomalous hehtviotil- is th(@ ii) ;uti foriii@itioii (it'an oil-continuous loaiii. It is likeiv
ttiat several ot' these niechanis[iis nii-ht be involve(I mi, @] I e,, , Tees iii different rescrvoirs. Iii this paper, we ex@iiii- ille ili@@ cl-ll,.Ct ot, iii ;itti formation ol' -,tn oil-contintiOLIS loaiii ori I'l@)W )@ lic;tvv oi]S Lliidcr SOIL[tion g,,is drive. Although such non- lo illis @irc eiicoLIntered in several chemical inanLIf@icturino, @LICH @i@ [)i'o(]Liction of c llular plastics tnd distillation t)t llJl-oc@ii-bons, tlik,v hii,,e received little attention iti reservoil- literallire. ()tilv i-
ecentlv, the iiiobilitv control poteii li@tl i,l extct-n@tl]N, ititi-o(luced non-aqueous to@iiii@ has been reco,- iiize(Il' 1)) aid ttie possibility of theii- in situ lorili@itioii li@is been iilecl( @. lii a recent publication, Hanssen et al.,, describe the Li@ (-i @i lo,,v density iioii-itqueous foaming @tgeiit solution lor con- tiolliTIL coiiitig. 'Fl)cy showed that fluorinated well-Stil]IL]Iation dis@olved iii alcohols can produce tlie s@title type of -as bloL'killl4 efl'ecl is oht@iiiied with @iqLleOUS I,,as blocking foams. li@iiii 1, disclose(i the LISC ot'slirl'actants and
cosolvents dissolved iii di-ive t'Itiids, such as supercritical CO,, lor contro]- till(,' II)t, lll(,bilitv ot'the di-ive t']Llid. His method relies on the inter- @ictiilll Of . tile SLII-I'act,@ifil with ("()senate water to pro(Iticc a loani oi- i(@iti, likk, (lispei-sioii, Non-aqueous Foams in Primary Production of Heavy Oils A, iiienlioned e@it-liei, heavy oil produced by SO]LltiOn (,as drive olicii (lisp] ivs iiiarkc(i t'oainiiiess iii wellhead samples. 'This is not ce the two kev factors needed ior iion-@iqUeOLIS foam st@ibilil y ;11--, pl,csent ili the'he@ivy
oil svsteiyi: the viscosity ot' the liLiLliki (lieanv oil) is high enough to retard drainage ol'liquid l'illil, I)v cipillitrv l'orce@: ancl piistic surface l'ilins. inost likely ,Iztllil /C(i hv lii',,h lill)[eCLII',Il- @veight poi-phvrins, havc becti ol)'.,Cl@eLl ill ;LIC[i cilicic oil s@'stetiis. Ttie choCOI',Ite mousse-like I'll@till is @iefici-@ite(i by tlie liber,'ItiOll Ot'(IiSSL)Ived ,as, dL]C ik) I'L-@ltice(i Pr@@til-e. wiiicli t'Lii]s to coalesce @iii(i esc@ipe ttie liquid. Salt, ol the i-e(itictioii OCCLII-S within the reservoir
The Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology



i';
_____________________
Significance of Foamy-oil Behaviour in
Primary Production of Heavy Oils
B.B. MAINI, H.K. SARMA'
Petroleum Recovery Institute
A.E. GEORGE
Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology
now with Japan National Oil Corporation
Abstract
This paper examine .. the etfec[ of in situ formation of a non-
:tqueous foam on flow of oil-gas mixtures In porous media. A
laboratory technique to investigate the role of foamy-oil behav-
iour in '!'oluLion gas dri\'e is described and experimental verifica-
tion of [he in situ formation of non-aqueous foams under solu-
tion gas. drive condition .. is presented.
The expcriOlental results show that the In silti fannation of
non-aqueous foam retards the formation of a continuous gas
phase and dramatically increases the apparent lTapped gas saUl-
ration. This rfovides II naturnl pressure mainlenance mechanism
and leads [0 recovery of a much higher fraction of the Original
oil in phlce under .... olution drive,
Introduction
SC\'L'f.d l1ea\'Y-IlIl in Albclla .lIlt] Sa ... k.lldlL'\\an,
"l1u',\ "I'laIllY-llil"' bdla\ iour ill wellhead ... ilI11rlc'- PIOLIUlI:ll Ulldcl
ga" tlli\'c, Till' oil i ... pwtiUl'l'J in thc flmll nf an oil-Lon-
1I1ll1(11I" Ill:Ull whidl h.h Ibl.' appl:arancc 01 chncul.Hl' IIl(lll ... :Iml
Clllliallh ,I \'uluillc Ilaclinll lll- Thi ... roanl call he LJLlILl'
"Iahil' and fill :-l'vcl'al hOlll" ill npe!) ... Till.' lielJ
Pilltlllclil)n dal.1 1IIIIlI Lhl''-e Ihalthc PiotiucLillll
ille C\llTlp\e\ ,111<"\ IIlay hc qUill' dil"iL:re1l1 fllllll IIHI"C
eIlCIIlIIILl'IC...J III e(ll1\ cl1Li'llml dnvc IC"'CI VOII"',
Sl'\clal 01 lhl'''l' 1t!"'I'll'oir'o :-hnw ;.HlUIll:tit1l1:-.ly PIUdliClion,
Blllh lhc lalL' III plllLluL:li(\Il and Ihl' inial rl'c(lv{'IY L1ndl'l "'llll1IiOII
g:I'" JII"I.' ,Ill' 1I1l1l'h hlg.llI:1 llian \\h,11 \\ould he C.\PCllCd rllllll
1l1l'a"UIl'ti 1t:'",cl\nil malching lilt::: primary pIO-
lIUI.:IIOll rill Ihc'l' w.:I" of Len uillcali:-'Iic atijll ... lll1l'lIl of
p'lr'1I1ll.!ICI '0 .... lIdt a ... illclc<L:-.ing. Lhl!
hy an (lnlel III m:lgnilude. In a publication. LULIghead ,lIld
"ialll1ld.lfoglu
ll
, 11:1\'1.':: dt:''''clibell I Ill' 1I1lu!-ouai 11Iilll:uy production
ho.::ha\iour pi CL'\tic Field Icpnrullg lh,1\ Ille l:lIC ul prntilll':Lillll III
"'0111": \\e1'" i ... mllrl' lh'L11 Icn linn;'" lhc calcuh\lcJ
'-I,tI..: oil r,\le lIlIdcl Ia(ha! fltl\\' L:oIIJiLimh, Tn ublalll a \,111"-
fallllI;' [l\'IILh oj Iht:' prim,u)' {lIIIJlILlioll hdla\ inur. Ihc)
II,Id III \Ny Ic\cl\'nir PI(IPl'lhC'" The"e illclndt'11
IWI lllll! ,Ill IlIgh pClIllcahili,y bliL abo a
ga ..... aIUlali!'11 III l;".) ilnd;tll llllLhuaf oil rcfali\'c ptTIllI>
.Ihlll!) Clil \ I.'
high pl(ldtll:lI\IIY wl'll" produce fllllll t1I1ClllI'-lIlitiaied
"alllh, :tnti a large \lllulllc 01 i" (l1(HluL't'd \\illl Ihe (IIi.
,1IL":llIpl III "IUP \,uld pn,dUl'lion rcqill\ ill dr,lqic,d
I) It.:dll'.:cd prmhh.:linll Alll'II1t::1 pan of rllull' I" lhilL ,,,'\clal
50
\11 Iht':-.c welt.... ""llIell all" pltllillc III primi"), Pll1dlll''''HI.
VI'I)' pllllf Ic ... p(lll ... e III
S,,:\..:rai pn ...... ibk caLl:-l''' 01 LllI" .lllul1lalou .. PIOlhlcllon hl'h:I\'
iour hil\'I:: be..:n 'ougg.t:'-ll'd and .Irt:' Iwing 'IIII'''l'
inclm\l' forlllalilln (\f \\'tllill hiliI.''' ;\1 IlU IILI Lilt:' \\'dl which IIlL'll, .... l
tht! cl/ecti\'e \\'l'II Sand di!ali(ln dllL' III IClllo\'al III .,,,\1.
"'antiai \'Olllll1l''o Ilr ... and wilh IIIL! ,"I. III
ab!-ollluLC p(,llIIt:'abiliIY appt:'ar" 10 be alllllhcI pII,,,ihk' IIll'L'ltil'
ni:-m\ll. Tile cnhallcl!lllcnL III 011 by IIllciealil\ll Iii ;1 1,1I!!e
nUIIlQCI Ilf lIIil.:rllr.uhhlc:-. ha ... hL'l'1I a,- allolhL'1
pn ...... ibilily'; Anutht'l po.,siblo.:: 01 Ihl' bl'lIa\ 111111
lhe lIl ... ilu fl"'lltnallOIl \lraIlUil-L'llllliIllIIHI'" fllilm.
II j\ likely Ihm IIll'chanhlll'" TlIIg.hl he lIl\'lIhL'd
If I v"rying: degree., III t1il'klt:'IIL rC"'l."[\Olh, !lIlhi:-. pil\ll'I. l'\;111I
inc Ihc efkcI 01 in fonnalilltl ul :111 oil-Cllillillllllll' f(l,1111 1111
llpw 01 'Iii ... lInUl'l \Olllllllll dl!\'c, \hhllll!!h "'''L'Il 111111
aqllt:lIl1'" Itlanb ale CIICOlllHCIl'J ill
\lIcll a ... PllldliLlilli1 III cellular pl".,lic" and tii ... LIII,I!II)ll
tlf Ihey II<I\l' IL'CI.'I\'L'd liLlk allL'lIlllll1 ill
ellglill'l'lIng lill'lallllc. (111)' Il'ct:'1l1Iy. till' IIIllhilil)' L'Olllllll p11L1.'1I
Iial (\( eXI"::::llIaliy inlllltillL'cd IlllIHIQIIl."lllh 111;\1"" 11a' hL'L'11
,\lid Ihl' pm:-lbdiLY III tllL'il ill "'1111 1I11'1II,llillll h;h hl'1.'11
l:onlinnl'J'"'. III a ICCl'nl t:! dC ... CII[lLll!l
thl' Ilr a 1(1\\' dt.:ll:--ily lIon-,lqUl:(IlI!>. "(1111111111 1(11 L'I'1I
Hulling ga ... ... ilmwd lh;n lllltllillall'd "e1I',IIIIlLi\<llI'lll
... urfac'illlh ul""II(\'l"d in akohllh call plllducl' Ihl' III !!".,
hlnd,ing dkl'1 a., nhlaillt:d \\'Ilh aqlll'llu ... g:a.,
1i:lIli
u
" Ji..,LI(\ ... cd Ihl' u ... t:' 01 and ill
dli\'[' II1Iid", .,lIc!l ",upl'ICliLicall(),. IIII '--'11111111
ling IIII.' mobililY 411 Lho.:: dl i\'t." IhIlL!, I II ... 1Il1'Ihod Idll''- 11[1 Illl' III1L'I'
,1(':lioll of the 'ourl:II .. I,ull \\'1111 ClliUlilic \\all'l III plt\duL'I' " 111.1111 (II
roam-like tli"'pel
Non-aqueous Foams in Primary
Production of Heavy Oils
:\:-. I1lCIllillltcd nil pflldLIIXll "'lliulilin til 1\\'
oflcn rOanllllL' ...... ill \\l'llIlt:'ad -..:1I11pk .... 1111' I" IHII
Mil "'"ICt:: lhc 1\\ II i..t:y faCllll" IIcnkd 1'01 1I111l'illIUL'1I1h Illalll
:-.Iahilily all' ill IIll' pil I ilL' \ "I Lile
IlqUILI (\ll'a,y (111) high t,l Ilqultl
rilm ... hy illld plil.,lil' ..,U!I;Lll' tlillh 111" ... 1
qabillfL'lI hy IUl!h IIlllkcldal \\ 1111 .... 11:1\ L' hL'l'l1
(lb'I.'I\..:d in \Ucll t:llllk' Iii I TilL' eilllniiall' IIHI\I ... IIi..e
\\I.'I1I1\!ad i" gl'nL'lilLcd IIII.' Ilbl.'l,lliOIl III di",phl'd dill'
hl reduced !'IC ... ..,lIll'. \\ilicl! lail"III L'(l,lk",cL' ,1IId I."LapI Ihl' ILqUll1
"lillL:C 11111,1 nl IIlL' 111..: ...... 1\11.' rt:dllL'IIlIIl IiiI.' Il''''l'I\'lIl1
The Journal of Canadian P8lroleum Technology
D
FIGURE 1: Schematic diagram or the equipment.
(i.e. before the oil-gas mixture enters the well). it is likely [hat
similar foam 1S generated widlin the fomliltioll. IL LS well known
thut the flow beha ... jour of an aqueous foam is markedly different
from that of a non-foaming water-gas mixture: the formation of a
foam significantly reduces the mobility of the gas phase without
appreciably changing the water By analogy, it
becomes apparent that rhe flow in porous media of a foam rOml-
ing oil-gas nllxlure is likely to be very different compared to the
flow of a non-foaming oil-gas mixture. It i!-. likely thaL the mobili-
ty of the gilS phase would be significantly reduced by foam forma-
tion while Lhe Oil mobility would nm be affected.
The m;:lln objecti,'e of this study was (0 experimentally deler-
mine whether or not [he formation of a foam was involved in pri-
mary production of heavy oils by solution gas drive. A simple
apparatus was designed to conduct primary depletion experiments
In the labora[Qry. The of foam within the porous matrix
was inferred from the observed production and pre ... sme urop
behaviour of the
Experimental Apparatus and Materials
Apparatus
A schematic diagram of the experimental apparatus is shown in
Figure l. A two metre long sand-pack holder with five intermedi-
ate pressure taps , ... :15 used. These pressure taps (spaced 33 cm
apart from one another) were used for d)'namic monitoring. of the
pressure distnbution dunng the flow. The of the sand
pack and the propertles of the porous medium are li.'iled in
Table I.
Recombined oil (also referred to as '"live" oil) was by
saturating the oil with methane gas in recombination equipment
connected to the inlet end of the core holder. Produced tluids were
collected into a graduated cylinder placed on an electronic balance
for measuring the oil production rate. An automated data acquisi-
tion system was employed for recording of the oil production rate
and the differential pressures in each segment during the f1ov,,'
experiment
Heavy Oils
Flow experiments were conducted using two heav)' oilo,;;
Lioydminster heavy oil supplied by fvlobil Oil Canad:t and
Lindbergh heavy 011 supplied by PanCanadian Pelroleum LimiLed.
Relevant properties of these oils are in Table. 2.
Of the t",,'o crude oils used, [he Lindbergh oil was the. more vis-
cous ([0.500 mPa.s). The asphaltene contents of the crude oils
were measured by precipitation with pentane. The Lindbergh
heavy oil contained abol![ one and a half times more asplmllene
than the Lloydminster heavy oil.
Preparation of Recombined (Live) Oil
Prior to the starr of tlow experiment';. each oil !>.ample was
cleaned of its 'iuspended materials. The oil \'>'a<; lhen recombined
November 1993, Volume 32, NO.9
TABLE 1: Properties of the porous medium.
Parameter
Length (m)
Cross-SecLional Area (m2)
Sand Size (Mesh)
Porosity (rraction)
Pore volume (ml)
Permeability (darcy)
Confining Pressure used (MPa)
Value
2.0
16.1E4
140200
0,33
1062
335
14,0
TABLE 2: Properties of gas free oils.
Oil
Lloydminster
lindbergh
Company
Mobil
Pan Canadian
API
Gravity
12.6
11.0
TABLE 3: Live oil properties.
Oil DenslW Viscosity
Asphaltene
(wt %)
14,11
20.67
Viscosity
@20C
(mPa.s)
6580.0
10500,0
Initial50ln. Core Avg. Sg
(kg/m') (mPa,s) GasOIlRatio @Maximum
(Std. m'/m') Drawdown (%)
Lloydminster 966.0 3007,5 14.6 13.8
Lindbergh 978.0 3970,2 14.2 14.8
WILh methane in thc recombination equipmenL at a of
4.83 MPil. During this recombination process. the solution gas-
oil-ratio (SGOR) was monitored penodlcally and once a constant
SGOR was established, tile oil Wit"i considered to be fully saturat-
ed. usually took about five La six days of continuous mixing.
of recombined otis are reponed in Table 3.
Porous Medium
OtLawa sand was med a!>. the porous medIUm for flow experi-
menLs. The porosity and absolute permeability [0 wmer were
determined prior to the start of tlO\V experiments (see Table 1).
and tlte core was then resillUrated with "Iive air' b)' displacing the
water. During the re!-iilturation process almost 98% of the water
was displaced. This valuc of irreducible saturation (2%).
although much lower than [he tield values. is not e'Xceptional in
laboratory tests of thi8 nilture.
Flow Experiments
The ,;equellce of now experiments for eilch oil started ''''ith Lhe
core saturated with live oil al il pressure of 4.83 MPa. The pres-
sure at the inlet end v,,'as alway!>. lIlilintained at 4.83 lvlPa. A back
pressure regulator (BPR) wa!>. used to maintain constanl pressure
at the omlet end and this pressure was reduced in steps of approxi-
maLely 0.34 MPa. slarting from the saturation pressure. At each
setting or the oULlet pressure. the sLeady-slale pressure profile and
[he production r:ILe were mca!>.ured. Therefore. for each oil, 10-12
tlow c,-periments were conducLed. End-poinL average gas satura-
lions were estimated af[cr the flow te!>.t at the highest pressure
drawdown by injccting live oil into the core (with production
valve closed) and measuring the oil volume needed lO attain a
pressure 50% higher than the saturation pressure. These estimated
value ... are presented in Table 3.
Results and Discussion
During eiu;h now expel imen!. the oil producLlon and pressure
drop in each "icgmem of the porous medium were monitored and
recorded as fllnctions of lime to ascertain whether steildy-state
now had been established. and to analyse the now mechanisms in
the porOLIS medium. A constant $lope in the cmTlulati,'e-oil-pro-
duction versus time plot and a constant pressure gradient in all
segment!". over several hours (lWO - lhree hours) ,,'ere considered a
51
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