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1S T

PLACE A Case Study of Foamy Oil

Recovery in the Patos-Marinza
Reservoir, Driza Sand, Albania

20 0 Hycal Energy Research
Laboratories Ltd. M.L. MOUSTAKIS

Anglo-Albanian Petroleum Ltd.




Preussag Energie

Development to the north continued with drilling of over 2,300

Abstract wells, reaching the boundaries of the field in the late 1980s.
With a current recovery of only 5%, Albanias largest oil- The main sandstone reservoirs dip at 8 to 13 from an outcrop
field, Patos-Marinza, (first commercially produced in 1939) still in the South containing mineable tar sands to the original oil water
contains potentially more than 100 MMbbl of reserves of 10 to contacts at 1,800 m in the north. There are multiple stacked sand
12 API oil at a depth of 1,600 m. A consortium consisting of reservoirs of Upper Miocene (Messinian) age, the most important
Albpetrol Albania, Preussag Energie (Germany), Premier Oil ones being the Gorani, Driza, and Marinza (top to bottom). The
(Britain), and the IFC (the private sector arm of the World Bank) Driza reservoir contains the majority of the OOIP and reserves. It
are making plans to improve oil recovery in the area. consists of up to six sand layers numbered from top to bottom,
Test wells producing 1 to 2 m3/d yielded large rate improve- with D1 being the main sand continuous throughout the field. The
ments to over 30 m3/d using progressive cavity pumps up to Driza is a suite of unconsolidated sandstones with porosity of 25
30 m3/d with producing sand cuts around 10 to 35%. PVT analy- 28% and net pay varying areally from 7 to 95 m (south to north).
sis of the oil, with a relatively high solution GOR of 31 m3/m3, Oil gravity also varies throughout the field depending on the
shows a strong tendency to foam (gas in microbubbles without depth of the reservoir and the type of formation. The Marinza oil
forming a continuous gas phase) below the bubble point, near (north) has a gravity up to 825 kg/m3 (40 API) due to greater
the initial reservoir pressure. Core tests with different depletion depths and a closer position areally to the source rock. The oil
rates resulted in primary oil recoveries of greater than 30%. gravity in the Patos area (southern half of the field) is about 998
This paper discusses the detailed suite of laboratory measure- kg/m3 (11 API) with dead oil viscosity over 9,000 mPas under
ments used to examine the Driza crude oil, in the context of pre- reservoir conditions.
sent theories of foamy oil and cold heavy oil production with Due to the unfavourable fluid properties, oil recovery to date in
sand (CHOPS). the entire reservoir amounts to less than 5% under depletion drive.
The wells with a 2.5 acre spacing generally produce less than 1
Introduction m3/d of oil with tubing insert pumps landed halfway to bottom
due to equipment limitations. Anglo-Albanian Petroleum Ltd., the
The Patos-Marinza oilfield is an onshore field located east of operator of the consortium, performed tests with progressive cavi-
the city of Fier in South Central Albania (Figure 1). It occupies an ty pumps (PCP) to improve the oil recovery.
area of approximately 24,000 hectares and was discovered in Setting the pumps below the perforated D1-sand resulted in
1926, with commercial oil production starting in the early 1930s. production rates of up to 30 m3/d of heavy oil together with 15 to
35% sand cut, greatly exceeding calculated values. The tests pro-
vided initial rates and sand production, but were not long enough
to establish any declines. With the experience of Canadian oil-
fields(1), an analogy was drawn to the cold heavy oil production
with sand mechanism (CHOPS) currently being investigated.

Foamy Oil PVT Studies

Foamy oil behaviour is a unique phenomenon associated with
low temperature production of viscous crude oils. It is believed
that this mechanism contributes significantly to the abnormally
high production rate of viscous crude oils observed in many heavy
oil production applications. This portion of the paper describes the
equipment and procedures used in the laboratory program con-
ducted to characterize the Driza oil and also presents some of the
salient test results.
The basic mechanism of foamy oil behaviour is related to the
FIGURE 1: Oilfields in Albania. existence of what is commonly termed a pseudo bubble point.
The true thermodynamic bubble point is the pressure at which (at

March 2003, Volume 42, No. 3 21

reservoir temperature) the first small bubbles of free gas evolve gas is evolved from the oil. The location of the pseudo bub-
from solution in the oil and nucleate as a distinct free gas phase. ble point can also be determined from the inflection point
For most conventional oil, having relatively low viscosity, the gas where the tangent slope of the formation volume factor
rapidly coalesces into large bubbles and evolves almost immedi- (FVF) curve begins to decline, indicating the liberation of
ately from the oil to form a separate and distinct gas phase. In free gas from the oil phase.
many reservoirs, this forms a secondary gascap during depletion 3. Density. Foamy oil density performance inversely mirrors
operations and results in high gas-oil ratios at production wells the formation volume factor performance described previ-
due to the high mobility of a free gas phase in the porous media in ously. Above the true bubble point, both foamy and non-
comparison to the more viscous oil. For this reason, for conven- foamy oils behave the same. Once the true Bubble Point
tional or non-foamy oils, the bubble point and the pseudo bubble Pressure is passed for a conventional oil, density increases
point have the same, or very close to the same, values. due to the evolution of gas from the oil phase. Conversely,
For foamy oils, due to the high viscosity of the oil, the gas bub- for a foamy oil, due to the entrapment of the extremely light
bles cannot immediately coalesce together to form bubbles large gas phase in the oil, density declines, sometimes radically, as
enough to allow gravitational forces to separate gas from the oil. the pressure is reduced. Once again, the location of the pseu-
For this reason, the gas phase remains as a continuous dispersed do bubble point can be ascertained by a slope tangent analy-
gas-oil emulsion with a higher and higher concentration of sis of the configuration of the resulting density-pressure
increasingly larger bubbles trapped in a milkshake-like format curve.
within the oil as the pressure is reduced. The point at which the 4. Gas-Oil Ratio. For conventional oil, the gas-oil ratio (GOR)
bubbles of free gas can finally start to escape from solution as a obviously declines under the true bubble point due to evolu-
distinct free gas phase is known as the pseudo bubble point. tion of a free gas phase from the oil. Foamy oils, however,
It is worthwhile to note the differences that foamy oil behav- result in a situation where the GOR remains nearly constant
iour may cause in some key transport properties of crude oils until the pseudo bubble point is reached. The pseudo Bubble
below the bubble point. These are: Point Pressure can be easily defined by this method (usually
1. Above the True Bubble Point. Both foamy and non-foamy the easiest measurement to conduct).
oil behave in a similar fashion as all gas is solubilized in 5. Viscosity. For conventional oil, under the true bubble point,
solution in the oil and no free gas phase exists. the viscosity increases as gas freely evolves from the oil. For
2. Formation Volume Factor. This is one of the properties a foamy oil, conventional wisdom is that the viscosity
affected most strongly by foamy oil behaviour and is should remain relatively constant, or perhaps decline slightly
believed to be one of the major contributing causes to between the true and pseudo bubble points, and then
enhanced productivity. Conventional oil shrinks under the increase to the dead oil value between the pseudo bubble
true bubble point, due to the evolution of gas from the oil. point and zero pressure. However, it is a well-known fact
Foamy oils, however, can expand rapidly between the true that gas-liquid foam rheology often results in increases in
bubble point and the pseudo bubble point. This is because viscosity (this being evident to anyone familiar with foam-
highly compressible (and expandable) gas is liberated from based drilling or fracture fluids). The major difference here
solution, but remains as a trapped phase in the oil, lending is the extreme viscosity of the base fluid phase for foamy oil
an artificially high compressibility to the oil that is more and how this interacts with the gas phase. The results appear
gas-like than liquid in nature. Since the free gas phase to be very oil-specific in this area and are also a strong func-
motion is retarded, oil (with the trapped gas inside) is the tion of how rapidly pressure is depleted in the given system.
only phase that can be mobilized from the porous media Significant differences in viscosity have been calculated in
until the pseudo Bubble Point Pressure is reached and free open cells or capillary tubes vs. in situ in porous media.
6. Effects of Depletion Rate. Foamy oil behaviour not only
varies with oil type, viscosity, temperature, and gas type, but
is also strongly related to depletion rate. Rapid reductions in
pressure allow little time for the gas bubbles to nucleate and
promote more foaming and lower pseudo Bubble Point
Pressures. Slower depletion rates allow more time for gravi-
ty and IFT forces to coalesce the liberated gas phase and for
gradual evolution to occur. Theoretically, if a foamy oil is
depleted infinitely slowly, performance should approximate
that of a conventional crude oil.

FIGURE 2: Conventional oil and foamy oil PVT apparatus. FIGURE 3: Photographic illustration of foamy oil PVT apparatus.

22 Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology

Foamy Oil Test Methodology (PVT) oil being examined. If foamy oil tendencies are observed, addi-
tional tests are then conducted at slower depletion rates to note the
Clean de-gassed Driza reservoir crude oil (11 API) was effect on pseudo Bubble Point Pressure and oil properties. For this
recombined with pure methane gas at the reservoir temperature of program, we conducted four complete PVT studies, with the only
43 C to yield live recombined reservoir oil with a gas-oil ratio variation being the speed of the pressure reduction during the dif-
of approximately 31 m3/m3 for use in the laboratory program. This ferential liberation experiments. These tests were classified as
oil was a common feedstock for all of the PVT and coreflood tests rapid (120 minutes per depletion step), mid-rate (24 hours for
conducted. each depletion step), slow (seven days for each depletion step)
Due to the fact that foamy oil tendencies are more pronounced and equilibrium (30 45 days per depletion step).
at rapid depletion rates, the rapid depletion test is conducted first The foamy oil PVT studies provided the following data at each
to ascertain if the oil exhibits any foamy oil tendencies. If no depletion rate level:
foaming tendencies are observed, further lower rate depletion tests
are not required, and the data from the first test will provide a Formation volume factor as a function of depletion rate and
suite of conventional black oil differential liberation data for the pressure;

FIGURE 4: Pressure vs. oil formation volume factor for various FIGURE 5: Pressure vs. solution gas-oil ratio at various depletion
depletion rates. rates.

FIGURE 6: Pressure vs. in situ density for various depletion rates. FIGURE 7: Pressure vs. in situ viscosity.

March 2003, Volume 42, No. 3 23

Oil viscosity (capillary viscometer) as a function of deple- Tables 1 to 4 summarize the volumetric properties of the four
tion rate and pressure; different rate depletion studies. The formation volume factor data,
Oil density as a function of depletion rate and pressure; gas-oil ratio, density and viscosity data from all four depletion
Gas-oil ratio as a function of depletion rate and pressure; rate sets of data have been plotted and appear as Figures 4 to 7.
Conventional properties for the liberated free gas phase (vis- Examination of the data indicates the expected foamy oil volu-
cosity, density, compressibility factor, gas formation volume metric behaviour with pronounced increases in formation volume
factor, etc.); factor and the accompanying stability of GOR. Reductions in
Oil single-phase compressibility above the bubble point and apparent density are observed in the rapid rate depletion tests in
between the bubble point and pseudo bubble point; and, comparison to the slower rate and equilibrium rate experiments. In
Location of the pseudo bubble point as a function of deple- general, the results of low rate and equilibrium rate tests are
tion rate. not too dissimilar, indicating that by the end of the seven-day
Figure 2 illustrates the configuration of the PVT equipment equilibration period, a relatively equilibrated depletion condition
used to conduct the studies with a photographic illustration appears to be in effect for this oil. The viscosity profile did not
appearing as Figure 3. A 70,000 kPa rated, 110 cc internal vol- appear to be strongly affected by the depletion rate for the oil.
ume, optical cell with an internal volumetric accuracy of 0.01 cc The results clearly indicate that the proposed multi-rate
is at the heart of the measurement apparatus. Density is measured depletion test method is a valuable one for illustrating foamy oil
using a PAAR digital density meter, and viscosity is measured by properties and tendencies and approximate optimum pressure
a capillary tube viscometer. depletion rates to promote foamy oil behaviour.

TABLE 1: Rapid depletion PVT test results.

Pressure Pressure GOR Bo* Viscosity* Density*

(psig) (kPag) (m3/m3) (m3/m3) (cp) (g/cc)
2,524 17,403 31.17 1.0697 1,195 0.9719
2,300 15,859 31.17 1.0727 900 0.9692
2,150 14,824 31.17 1.1297 876 0.9203
2,000 13,790 31.17 1.1437 974 0.9090
1,850 12,756 30.89 1.1467 1,067 0.9064
1,700 11,722 28.79 1.1411 1,182 0.9091
1,550 10,687 26.08 1.1134 1,399 0.9298
1,400 9,653 24.24 1.0857 1,582 0.9518
1,250 8,619 21.99 1.0695 1,847 0.9653
1,100 7,585 20.05 1.0625 2,173 0.9705
900 6,206 17.76 1.0539 2,614 0.9770
700 4,827 14.81 1.0447 3,087 0.9846
500 3,448 12.05 1.0367 3,690 0.9897
300 2,069 8.27 1.0280 4,286 0.9969
200 1,379 6.24 1.0238 4,692 0.9990
100 690 3.49 1.0213 5,655 0.9997
50 345 2.11 1.0193 6,800 1.0007
0 0 0.00 1.0180 8,129 1.0006
* Of the foamy oil phase where present.

TABLE 2: Intermediate depletion PVT test result.

Pressure Pressure GOR Bo* Viscosity* Density*

(psig) (kPag) (m3/m3) (m3/m3) (cp) (g/cc)
2,791 19,244 32.27 1.0642 1,195 0.9783
2,300 15,859 32.27 1.0691 900 0.9738
2,150 14,824 31.91 1.0958 991 0.9499
2,000 13,790 31.79 1.1119 1,056 0.9361
1,850 12,756 31.24 1.1110 1,152 0.9365
1,700 11,722 29.80 1.1060 1,210 0.9398
1,550 10,687 27.31 1.0987 1,328 0.9442
1,400 9,653 25.00 1.0854 1,479 0.9538
1,250 8,619 22.62 1.0735 1,650 0.9631
1,100 7,585 19.98 1.0637 1,900 0.9710
900 6,206 16.80 1.0522 2,411 0.9795
700 4,827 12.64 1.0404 2,932 0.9879
500 3,448 9.32 1.0329 3,826 0.9929
300 2,069 6.26 1.0256 4,722 0.9980
200 1,379 4.50 1.0223 5,483 0.9997
100 690 2.67 1.0195 6,271 1.0016
50 345 1.30 1.0183 7,052 1.0020
0 0 0.00 1.0167 8,161 1.0026
* Of the foamy oil phase where present.

24 Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology

TABLE 3: Slow depletion PVT test results.

Pressure Pressure Rs Bo* Viscosity* Density*

(psig) (kPag) (m3/m3) (m3/m3) (cp) (g/cc)
2,600 17,927 31.93 1.0664 1,055 0.9746
2,300 15,859 31.71 1.0644 1,105 0.9763
2,150 14,824 31.34 1.0625 1,237 0.9778
2,000 13,790 28.82 1.0603 1,271 0.9794
1,850 12,756 26.88 1.0582 1,281 0.9811
1,700 11,722 24.54 1.0540 1,354 0.9826
1,550 10,687 22.25 1.0511 1,443 0.9845
1,100 7,585 16.18 1.0407 2,253 0.9897
500 3,448 7.33 1.0281 3,698 0.9960
0 0 0.00 1.0169 8,099 1.0021
* Of the foamy oil phase where present.

TABLE 4: Differential liberation oil properties at 43 C (equilibrium PVT test).

Oil Formation
Gauge Pressure Oil Density Volume Relative Total Solution Liberated
(psig) (kPag) (g/cc) Factor (1) Volume (2) GOR (3) GOR (4)
4,000 2,7579 0.9810 1.0597 1.0597 31.88 0.00
2,470 17,030 0.9746 1.0667 1.0667 31.88 0.00
2,100 14,479 0.9781 1.0603 1.0829 28.38 3.50
1,600 11,032 0.9836 1.0496 1.1342 22.07 9.81
1,200 8.274 0.9875 1.0414 1.2162 17.04 14.84
800 5,516 0.9915 1.0335 1.3990 11.80 20.08
500 3,447 0.9942 1.0275 1.7554 7.40 24.48
300 2,068 0.9959 1.0235 2.4053 4.11 27.77
100 689 0.9983 1.0190 5.3584 1.05 30.83
0 0 0.9999 1.0170 40.5587 0.00 31.88
Density of residual oil = 1.0180 g/cc @ 15.5 C.
API Gravity of residual oil = 7.5.
1. Cubic metres of oil at indicated pressure and temperature per cubic metre of residual oil at 15 C.
2. Total cubic metres of oil and liberated gas at the indicated pressure and temperature per cubic metre of residual oil at 15 C.
3. Cubic metres of gas at 101.325 kPa (abs) per cubic metre of residual oil at 15 C.
4. Cubic metres of liberated gas at 101.325 kPa (abs) per cubic metre of residual oil at 15 C.

Displacement Studies level (approx. 17,225 kPag) to 5,510 kPag over a specified
period of time (30 hours for Tests 1 and 2), and from 17,225
Primary Pressure Depletion Tests kPag to 0 kPag over an approximate 13-day period for Test
The objective of this suite of tests is to determine the effect of 3 (full diameter vertical core). Track and record, the pro-
foamy oil production on primary recovery efficiency as a function duced oil and gas volumes on an incremental basis, as a
of depletion rate. The primary depletion tests were designed to function of depletion pressure. From this we can measure:
provide the following information: The incremental stock tank oil produced as a function of
pressure. This will provide an evaluation of the cumula-
Recovery of oil-in-place for each facies type as a function of
tive recovery of the OOIP as a function of pressure deple-
both depletion pressure and rate of pressure depletion;
tion at a given rate; and,
Pressure at which the critical trapped gas saturation begins
to be generated (at different depletion rates); The pseudo bubble point should be observed by tracking
Pressure at which the mobile gas saturation is achieved (at the GOR of the produced oil. Between the true and pseu-
different depletion rates); do bubble points, the evolved gas should remain trapped
The value of the critical gas saturation; and, in the in situ and expelled oil. This means that, even
The value of the residual oil saturation at any level during though oil is being displaced from the matrix by the
pressure depletion at various depletion rates. expansion of in situ gas bubbles trapped as a dispersed
phase inside the oil, the GOR of the produced fluid will
The test procedure was as follows:
not change.
1. Mount a preserved or restored state core stack. Apply net
reservoir overburden pressure, heat to reservoir temperature, Upon reaching the pseudo bubble point, free gas will break out
bring to reservoir pore pressure via dead (de-gassed) oil of the oil and begin to become trapped in the pore system matrix
injection; to build up a trapped gas saturation. This means that the GOR of
2. With reservoir pore pressure set at some value greater than the effluent fluid should actually drop for a period, as the some-
the true bubble point of the oil of interest, saturate the core what depleted oil is forced from the pore system, while the liberat-
stack until effluent GOR matches injection fluid. Determine ed free gas builds up the in situ trapped critical gas saturation.
permeability to live oil above the true bubble point at two Once the critical gas saturation is achieved, free gas becomes
rates; and, mobile. This should be evidenced by an increase in GOR of the
3. Shut-in the injection end of the core. Using a precision produced fluid as free mobile gas is produced. In addition, a mate-
pump, slowly reduce the pressure in the core from the initial rial balance of the deficit in gas production during the gas buildup

March 2003, Volume 42, No. 3 25

FIGURE 8: Idealized gas and recovery profile from a primary
depletion study. FIGURE 9: Primary depletion apparatus.

FIGURE 11: Pressure vs. per cent recovery OOIP for mid-rate
FIGURE 10: Pressure vs. fractional PVT of oil produced. depletion test.

TABLE 5: Upper Driza rapid depletion test production data.

Cumulative Pressure Pressure Fractional PV % Recovery

Time (hrs) (psig) (kPag) of Oil Produced of OOIP
0 2,521 17,382 0 0
1.2 2,176 15,004 0.008 1.14
2 1,921 13,245 0.021 3.00
3.7 1,739 11,990 0.049 7.00
8 1,413 9,743 0.08 11.43
10.9 1,252 8,633 0.1 14.29
15.4 1,072 7,391 0.146 20.86
18.1 988 6,812 0.167 23.86
21 910 6,274 0.18 25.71
23.9 839 5,785 0.255 36.43
29.8 800 5,516 0.284 40.57

phase should allow the calculation of the value of the critical free cores. Table 7 provides the results of a slower rate depletion test
gas saturation required for mobility. conducted over a larger pressure range on a full diameter core
sample. The results (recovery vs. pressure) have been plotted for
Figure 8 provides an idealized type curve of the results of such
a primary depletion experiment. Figure 9 provides a schematic each of the tests and appear as Figures 10 and 11 respectively. For
illustration of the test apparatus used for the primary depletion the rapid depletion rate tests, some pronounced increased produc-
experiment. Tables 5 and 6 provide the results of the two rapid tion can be seen at pressures below 7,000 kPag due to foamy oil
depletion rate tests conducted on small diameter (3.81 cm) plug effects. Results were different for the lower rate depletion study.

26 Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology

TABLE 6: Lower Driza rapid depletion test production data.

Cumulative Pressure Pressure Fractional PV % Recovery

Time (hrs) (psig) (kPag) of Oil Produced of OOIP
0 2,617 18,044 0 0
2.3 2,284 15,748 0.012 1.71
8.1 2,178 15,017 0.021 3.00
14.7 1,993 13,742 0.034 4.85
19.7 1,704 11,749 0.068 9.71
22.8 1,544 10,646 0.096 13.71
24.3 1,442 9,943 0.121 17.3
27.4 1,224 8,440 0.156 22.3
30.9 1,004 6,923 0.176 25.1
34.5 849 5,854 0.188 26.8
36.5 796 5,488 0.196 28.0

TABLE 7: Summary of mid-rate depletion coreflood study.

Cuml Gas-Oil
Time Pressure Pressure Delta P Delta P Ratio (m3/m3) % Recovery
(hrs) (psig) (kPag) (psi) (kPa) Inc Cum Sg So Sw OOIP
0 3,333 22,981 0.2 1.4 0 0.689 0.311 0
17.2 3,154 21,747 0.1 0.7 31.94 31.94 0 0.689 0.311 0.075
51.1 2,801 19,313 0.4 2.8 32.68 32.05 0 0.689 0.311 0.235
79.2 2,508 17,293 0.6 4.1 27.66 29.94 0.004 0.684 0.311 1.177
97.0 2,323 16,017 0.3 2.1 26.37 27.18 0.017 0.672 0.311 2.997
114.1 2,136 14,728 0.7 4.8 17.2 24.98 0.021 0.668 0.311 3.586
129.3 1,987 13,700 0.8 5.5 44.43 28.30 0.029 0.660 0.311 4.710
142.6 1,848 12,742 0.7 4.8 38.7 28.60 0.030 0.659 0.311 4.839
150.5 1,766 12,177 0.1 0.7 86.0 31.28 0.032 0.657 0.311 5.160
159.6 1,671 11,522 0.35 2.4 86.0 34.81 0.035 0.654 0.311 5.588
168.7 1,577 10,873 0.45 3.1 77.4 36.70 0.036 0.653 0.311 5.802
179.7 1,462 10,080 0.51 3.5 57.33 37.77 0.038 0.651 0.311 6.016
191.3 1,342 9,253 0.3 2.1 15.48 35.60 0.044 0.645 0.311 6.872
207.4 1,174 8,095 1.5 10.3 8.74 27.04 0.069 0.620 0.311 10.512
227.9 961 6,626 1.58 10.9 25.8 26.09 0.086 0.602 0.311 13.081
262.1 604 4,165 4.4 30.3 54.47 34.67 0.184 0.505 0.311 27.212
286.1 355 2,448 5.5 37.9 266.60 53.60 0.214 0.475 0.311 31.601
306.5 142 979 7.2 49.6 162.44 65.62 0.241 0.448 0.311 35.562
314.9 55 379 7.5 51.7 110.57 70.53 0.257 0.431 0.311 37.917
317.1 23 159 19.8 136.5 20.56 65.52 0.296 0.393 0.311 43.483
320.2 0 0 0 0 3.79 46.26 0.441 0.248 0.311 64.572

The lower rate depletion was conducted starting at approxi- very little foamy effect or high pseudo trapped gas saturation
mately 22,740 kPag at a rate of approximately 1,725 kPag per day at high pressures at this fairly slow depletion rate;
over a 13-day period. The results are interesting and are presented 3. The GOR increases in the 15,200 to 10,300 kPag range,
in Table 7. In summary, they are: indicating mobile gas, but then drops again quite substantial-
ly, accompanied by increased oil production in the 10,300 to
1. Overall recovery was almost 65% of the OOIP in the core 7,000 kPag range. This suggests another region of restricted
with a maximum gas saturation of 44.12% at the final zero flow and foamy behaviour, and we then see the same situa-
psi depletion condition. Almost half of this recovery tion again at very low pressure, accompanied by a large slug
occurred under 2,000 kPag in the last 30 hours or so of the of final oil production. These results are somewhat atypical
test. This suggests that the foamy oil behaviour is more sup- from the classic theoretical response expected, but may be
pressed at lower depletion rates until, due to compressibility related to the geometry and pore size distribution of the
effects, the gas volume expands more rapidly and appears to Driza sands; and,
initiate a more pronounced foaming effect. This is also evi-
dent in the pressure drop measured across the core during 4. Material balance closure was good, with almost 100% of the
the depletion with increasing delta P observed under 7,000 OGIP (adjusted for the volume remaining trapped in the
kPag and the most significant under 2,000 kPag; core) being achieved at zero pressure. The core was allowed
to set for about six days at the final zero pressure point to
2. The instantaneous GOR data would suggest a classic pseudo ensure that all of the gas had evolved.
bubble point, which appears to be near the actual bubble
point (point of initial produced oil GOR decline). This sug-
gests relatively small foamy oil effects at high pressures at
this lower depletion rate. The critical gas saturation (point of Conclusions
GOR increase) appears to occur at approximately 15,200
kPag (about 2% gas saturation). This is fairly typical of rock 1. The foamy oil behaviour of Driza oil in porous media
in this permeability range and suggests that we are seeing appears atypical, exhibiting two periods of high production

March 2003, Volume 42, No. 3 27

and increased foaming. The second period occurs at very
low pressures. Authors Biographies
2. The use of a combination of modified multiple depletion rate
PVT studies, as well as newly developed depletion test pro- D. Brant Bennion is Hycals president and
cedures in porous media, allow a much better quantification is a project engineer with over 20 years of
of the mechanism of foamy oil production in the Driza domestic and international technical exper-
sands. tise in the area of formation damage and
fluid flow in porous media. Brant has
NOMENCLATURE authored or co-authored over 170 technical
MM = million papers on a variety of subjects, including
IFC = International Finance Corporation multi-phase flow in porous media, forma-
PVT = pressure/volume/temperature tion damage, underbalanced drilling, fluid
GOR = gas/oil ratio,Rs, m3/m3 phase behavior and enhanced oil recovery.
IFT = interfacial tension Brant received his B.Sc. in chemical and petroleum engineering
OOIP = original oil in place from the University of Calgary with distinction in 1984 and is
OGIP = original gas in place pursuing his Ph.D. degree. He received Best Technical Paper of
FVF = formation volume factor, Bo the Year awards from the Petroleum Society in 1993, 1995, and
Sgc = critical gas saturation 2001. Brant has been a director of the Petroleum Society on both
RF = recovery factor, % the Calgary Section and National Boards for over ten years and
has served in various capacities such as Continuing Education
Subscripts Director, Student Affairs Director, Secretary, ATM Technical
Program Chairman, ATM General Co-Chairman and Chairman,
g = gas Chairman-Elect and 2002 Chairman of the Society. He is a
o = oil Distinguished Lecturer and Past Chairman/Secretary for the
w = water
Petroleum Society of CIM for 2002 2003. Brant is also a mem-
c = critical
ber of SPE, and is married with four children.

Manuel Mastmann, photo and biography unavailable.

The authors wish to thank the consortium of Albpetrol, Michael Moustakis, photo and biography unavailable.
Preussag Energie, Premier Oil, and the IFC, for the permission to
publish the findings of our work, and to Vivian Whiting for her
assistance in the preparation of the manuscript and figures.

1. DUSSEAULT, M.B. and EL-SAYED, S., Heavy Oil Production
Enhancement by Encouraging Sand Production; SPE/DOE 59276
IOR, Tulsa, OK, 2000.
2. YUAN, J.Y., TREMBLAY, B., and BACHIN, A., A
Wormhole/Network Model of Cold Production in Heavy Oil; SPE
ITOHOS, Bakersfield, 1999.

ProvenanceOriginal Petroleum Society manuscript, A Case Study of

Foamy Oil Recovery in the Patos Marinza Reservoir Driaz Sands,
Albania (2001-150) first presented at the Canadian International
Petroleum Conference (the 52 nd Annual Technical Meeting of the
Petroleum Society) June 12-14, 2001, in Calgary, Alberta. Abstract sub-
mitted for review December 12, 2000; editorial comments sent to the
author(s) November 19, 2002; revised manuscript received December 9,
2002; paper approved for pre-press January 24, 2003, final approval
February 27, 2003.

28 Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology