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Magnetic

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l

Resonance Imaging, Vol. 14, Nos. 7/8, pp. 951-953, 1996
Copyright 0 1996 Elsevier Science Inc.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved
0730-725X/96 $15.00 + .OO

PII SO730-725X( 96)00192-S

Short Communication
THE APPLICATION
OF NMR IMAGING
ENHANCED
OIL RECOVERY

TO THE STUDIES
IN CHINA

OF

LANG DONGJIANG,
AND LIU WEI
Institute of Porous Flow CNPC, Lang Fang 102801, P.O. Box 44 P.R. China
WANG

WEIMIN,

The advantages of the application of NMR imaging to the studies of enhanched oil recovery methods that
include polymer slug flooding, combination slug flooding, and thermal soaking are described. Copyright

0 1996 Elsevier Science Inc.

Keywords:

NMR imaging; Enhanced oil recovery.

permeability ratio for the three layers was 3:2:1. The
size of the core moulds was 3.4 cm in diameter and
28 cm in length Two sand-packed cores with two
layers were used in the combination slug flooding experiments. The permeability ratios of the two layers
were 3:l for one sand-packed core and 1O:l for the
other sand-packed core. The size of the two moulds
was 14.5 cm in length, 4.5 cm in width, and 1 cm in
thickness. We have used natural cores from the Liaohe
oil field in thermal soaking experiments. The size of
the cores was 2.5 cm in diameter and 7 cm in length.
The cores were held on a special core holder made of
Teflon. After every thermal soaking conducted outside
the MRI system, the core holder was covered with
cotton, put inside the magnet, and imaged immediately.
The steam soakings were conducted at steam temperature of 230°C. The thermal chemical soakings were
conducted at 80°C. The displacing fluid in all experiments was 500 ppm MnCl, aqueous solution.
All experiments were carried out on a Bruker Biospec 47/40 NMR imaging/spectroscopy
system. Different kinds of gradient coils and probes have been
used for the different size of cores used in the experiments. All images were acquired using a standard twodimensional Fourier Transform spin-echo sequence.
The echo time TE was 4 ms. The recovery time TR
was 500 ms. The time interval between two imaging

INTRODUCTION
Chinese oil production reaches a high water mark in
the next decade, and the problem of the natural falloff in oil production thereafter must be addressed.
Therefore, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods will
play an important role in the Chinese petroleum industry. Several EOR pilot tests that include polymer slug
flooding, combination slug flooding, and thermal soaking have been conducted in Chinese oil fields in recent
years. However, it is important to evaluate EOR effects
accurately for the reason of economy. MRI is a powerful tool for investigating multiphase flow in porous
media.‘-4 This paper presents some research work
about MRI applied to the EOR studies in the Chinese
oil fields.
MATERIALS

AND METHODS

The three techniques of polyacrylamide slug optimisation, thermal soaking evaluation, and combination slug
( polyacrylamide+alkali+surfactant)
flooding evaluation
have been studied by MRl. All experimental cores were
selected according to the nature of the experiments, and
the geological structure of the reservoirs.
The cores used for the polymer slug flooding experiment were sand-packed cores with three layers. The

P.R. China.

Address correspondence to W. Weimin, Institute of
Porous Flow CNPC, Lang Fang 102801, P. 0. Box 44
951

However. acquisitions was 5 s in both the polymer slug flooding and the combination slug flooding experiments.4. The main reason for the decrease in the steam soaking efficiency after four periods of soaking is that the condensed water back drained and broke through the oil bank formed by the injected steam. 2. 3.0. the polymer slug was broken through by the water injected behind at 8 cm away from the influx later in step 3 and step 4. The optimum size of polymer slug was 0.2 pv polymer slug. The residual oil distributions four steam soaking periods.5 pv. The behaviour of the 0. In the beginning (i. and resulted in a very low sweep efficiency when the polymer slug size was less than 0.5. Fig. Its effectiveness lasted longer.2 pv polymer slug. 1. The MRI results suggest that a profile control process should be done before combination slug flooding begins in reservoir engineering even though some mobility control material has been added to the combination agent. We can observe strong back and forth movement of oil.0. Polymer slug size has a large influence on the stability of the polymer front and the swept efficiency of the polymer. 1996 Fig. the polymer slug shows a piston-like displacement. The typical features displayed by the NMR images in combination slug flooding were that an oil bank was formed in front of the combination agent slug and region of high water content was formed between the combination agent and the oil bank.0.6 pv were monitored by NMR kinetic imaging. at the end of the first Figure 2 shows four stages of combination slug flooding in the core mould with a permeability ratio of 10: 1. Combination slug flooding in the core of permeability ratio 10: 1.e. if we take the economic factors into account. NMR imaging technology is useful in the design and evaluation of EOR.2. However. and no apparent back and forth movement of residual oil was observed. The kinetic NMR images showed that the swept efficiency of the combination agent in 3:l core mould was much better than that of 10: 1 core mould. Most of the combination agent penetrates into the high permeability layer. thermal chemical soaking acted more homogeneously. CONCLUSIONS Fig. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Several polymer slug sizes 0. NMR kinetic images showed that the water injected behind the polymer slug broke through at an early stage of flooding in the high and medium permeability zones. step 1 and step 2). The combination flooding .. Numbers 7/8. Figure 3 shows the residual oil distribution at the end of the first four periods of soaking during the steam soaking experiment.952 Magnetic Resonance Imaging l Volume 14. Figure 1 shows the behavior of the 0. caused by the reduction of interfacial tension and irreducible water saturation.5 pv.

J.S.. SPE 24809 presented at the 67nd Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition of SPE. G. WEIMIN ETAL. W. MRI studies of permeability control using biopolymers.. T. Enwere. 953 2. An oil bank was clearly observed during combination slug flooding.J. Petrophysical applications of NMR imaging. REFERENCES 1. Vinegar.M. Taylor. L.. Poston..M.. thermal chemical soaking acted more homogeneously. S. Reson. Modara. Archer. W. Patz... D..D. 1992. Optics 24:3969.M. 3. Dias. 61( 13):1489-1492. H. Maddinelli. Appl. Chen. Visualization of fluid displacement in rock cores by NMR imaging.L. J.. 1991. . P.S. DC. Perez. Imaging 9:767773. Barrufet. S. Schwartz.A.NMR imaging and enhancedoil recovery in China 0 agent is more likely to get into lower permeability zone. Magn. Phys. Magnetic resonance imaging of immiscible fluid displacement in porous media. Rothwell. 1985.G. J.... However. Washington. M. 1988. 4. A strong back and forth movement of residual oil was observed in steam soaking.P. S. Williams. Lett. Rev.W. M.