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Offshore Oil & Gas Technology

• Gas injection in secondary recovery is currently and
usually only applied to reservoirs which have a gas cap
where gas drive can use the effects of gravity (the
density difference between the gas and the oil.
• Injection gas may come from the produced oil after
separation. But this gas is a marketable product and gas
injection may be costly in terms of deferred revenue, as
well as the required equipment costs. On the other hand,
a powerful incentive for gas injection is if they is gas
stranded from market due to absence of an export route,
or the available pipeline already has full capacity, and
when flaring is not permitted. Gas injection is also an
effective way of disposing of produced gas while
conserving it for future recovery. This is particularly so
for gas injection offshore or in other remote locations.
Improve Oil Recovery
• Immiscible gas injection – uses gases that will not mix
with the oil – this includes natural gas, flue gas, and
nitrogen. The natural gas produced with the oil can be
reinjected into the well to maintain formation pressure.
Immiscible gas injected into the well behaves in a manner
to that of a gas-cap drive. Gas injection requires the use of
compressors to raise the pressure of the gas so that it will
enter the formation.
• Miscible gas injection in Enhanced Oil Recovery – uses
gas which are miscible with the oil produced – includes
propane, methane under high pressure, methane enriched
with liquid hydrocarbons, nitrogen under high pressure and
carbon dioxide used alone or followed by water. All of
these are effective in displacing most of the trapped
reservoir oil. However certain economic consideration and
practical field application problems may restrict the use of
• The injection gas should be inexpensive, do not corrode
metal equipment in the well and should not mix with natural
gas in the reservoir to form an explosive combination.
Gas Injection
Miscible Gas flooding
• The principle of miscible displacement is to reduce or
eliminate the interfacial tension forces between the
displacing and displaced fluids, so that the residual oil
saturation in the swept zone can be reduced.
• In the 1970s, carbon dioxide began to be used frequently
as an injection gas. During a carbon dioxide flood, CO2
is usually brought to the in by pipeline from CO2 wells or
trucked in as a liquid. It is also available as a byproduct of
power, chemical and fertilizer plants and coal gasification.
When CO2 is injected into the reservoir, it is miscible with
oil, making the oil more fluid. The CO2 gas then pushes
the fluid oil through the reservoir toward producing wells. It
can often recover about 35% of the remaining oil.
• Because of the very low viscosity of the CO2, it tends to
finger and break through to producing well leaving
unswept areas in the reservoir. To prevent this, alternating
volume of water and gas can into the reservoir in a Water-
alternating-gas (WAG) process.

Chemical Flood
• A chemical flood is a process in which different fluids are
injected into the depleted reservoir in separate batches
(slugs). The fluids, each serving a different purpose,
move as separate fronts from the injection wells, through
the reservoir rock toward the producing wells.
– In a micellar-polymer flood, a slug of reservoir water is first
injected to condition the reservoir as it moves ahead of other slugs
of injected chemicals.
– Next, a slug of surfactant solution is injection into the reservoir
called a surfactant flood. It acts as a detergent, reducing the
surface tension of the oil and washing the oil out of the reservoir
pore spaces. The oil forms droplets suspended in the water called
a microemulsion. The next slug is water thickened by polymers.
Pressure on the polymer water from the injected well drives the
surfactant and oil microemulsion front ahead through the reservoir
rock toward producing well.
– A chemical flood can be used only for sandstone reservoirs
because carbonates absorb the surfactants. It can recovers about
40% of the remaining oil but is an expensive process.
Chemical flood
Source: N. Hyne, Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum geology, Exploration, Drilling & Production
Thermal Recovery
• Thermal recovery technique utilize heat to make heavy
oil (<20 °API) more fluid for recovery. Cyclic steam
injection of huff and puff method uses single well to
inject steam into the heavy oil reservoir for a period of
time such as two weeks during the injection period.
During the following soak period, the well is shut in for
several days to allow the steam to heat the heavy oil and
make it more fluid. The same well is then used to
produce the heated oil with a sucker-rod pump during
the production. Steam injection and pumping are
alternated for up to 20 cycles until it becomes ineffective.

API Gravity =


. .
Cyclic steam injection
Source: N. Hyne, Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum geology, Exploration, Drilling & Production
Thermal Recovery
• A steamflood or steam drive uses both injection and
production wells. The superheated steam is pumped
down the injection wells into the a heavy oil reservoir.
The steam heats the heavy oil to greatly reduce its
viscosity. As the steam gives up its heat, it condenses
into hot water that drives the oil toward the producing
wells. The pattern of injection and producing wells in a
steam flood is similar to that of a waterflood but are very
closely spaced. The recovery will vary between 25 to
65% of the oil in place.
• Fireflooding, or in situ combustion, generates heat in
a reservoir by injecting air into the well and starting a fire
in the formation close to the injection well. The fire and
the air flow move simultaneously toward the production
Source: N. Hyne, Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum geology, Exploration, Drilling & Production
• The most common fireflood is forward combustion in
which the fire and injected air originate at the injected well.
The oil flows toward the producing wells. In dry
combustion, only air is injected. In wet combustion or
combination of forward combustion and waterflooding
(COFCAW), water and air are injected either together or
alternately. The generated steam from water helps drive
the oil.
• The recovery from a fireflood can be 30 to 40% of the oil in
place. Corrosion of equipment is a problem because of the
high temperatures and corrosive gases that are generated.
Time-lapse seismic methods can be used to trace the
movement of the subsurface fire front.
Thermal Recovery
Floating Production Systems
• FPS (Floating Production Systems) such as semi-
submersibles and tension leg platforms do not in general
have oil storage capacity and hence require FSU
(Floating Storage Units) if employed in remoter
offshore areas where export of products by pipeline is
not economical.
• Spars and FPSO (Floating Production Storage and
Offloading) vessels posses storage capacity which
makes them more attractive for production in remote
location where no export pipeline is available. This
eliminates the cost of a separate storage facility or an
export pipeline. Oil can be offloaded directly to a shuttle
tanker for onward transportation to the refinery.
• FPSOs are also idea for the exploitation of deepwater
marginal field as well as small field with short production
Offshore production
Deepwater production (water deep up to 600m) in Foinaven using FPSO
NanHai ShengLi FPSO
Schiehallion FPSO – World largest new-built vessel of its type –
capable of 950,000 barrel of oil
Main control room on the Schiehallion FPSO
Texaco’s Captain FPSO

Floating Production Technology, A technology supplement to Hart’s Euroil, 1996
Petrojarl Foinaven FPSO offloading to a FSU vessel
Exploded view
Floating Production Technology, A technology supplement to Hart’s Euroil, 1996
Exploded view
Floating Production Technology, A technology supplement to Hart’s Euroil, 1996
Floating Production Technology, A technology supplement to Hart’s Euroil, 1996
Turret of an FPSO
Surface handling of well fluid
• Oil and gas are not usually merchantable as they come
from the wellhead. Typically, a well stream is a high-
velocity, turbulent, constantly expanding mixture of
hydrocarbon liquid and gases mixed with water and
water vapour, solids such as sand and shale sediments,
and sometimes contaminants such as carbon dioxide
and hydrogen sulfide. Several step are necessary to get
oil and gas ready to transport and its next stop.
• The well stream is first passes through a series of
separating and treating device to remove the sediments
and water, to separate the liquids from the gases, and to
treat the emulsions for further removal of water, solids,
and undesirable contaminants. The oil is then stabilised,
stored, and tested for purity. The gas is tested for
hydrocarbon contents and impurities, and gas pressure
is adjusted to pipeline or other transport specifications.
Surface facilities
Oil and gas processing
Source: Gerding, Fundamentals of Petroleum, 3
Typical process flow diagram
Source: Arnold & Steward, Surface Production Operations, V1, 2