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Fractional-Flow Theory

of Foam Displacements With Oil


E. Ashoori, T.L.M. van der Heijden, and W.R. Rossen, Delft University of Technology

Summary (Zhou and Rossen 1994, 1995; Rossen et al. 1999; Shrivastava
Fractional-flow theory provides key insights into complex foam et al. 1999; Shan and Rossen 2004; Mayberry and Kam 2008;
enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) displacements and acts as a bench- Namdar Zanganeh et al. 2009) and for better understanding of
mark for foam simulators. In some cases with mobile oil present, foam simulation models and their artifacts (Rossen et al. 1999;
the process can be represented as a two-phase displacement. We Dong and Rossen 2007). Most applications of MOC to foam have
examine three such cases. been limited to two-phase flow of gas and water; in some cases, it
A first-contact-miscible (FCM) gasflood with foam injection is assumed that oil is present but immobile at its residual saturation.
includes a chemical shock defining the surfactant front and a mis- Application of MOC for three-phase flow for foam is limited to a
cible shock defining the gas front. The optimal water fraction for few recent works. Mayberry and Kam (2008) apply this method
the foam, that which gives the fastest oil recovery in 1D, maintains to an immiscible displacement of gas and oil, where foam strength
the gas front slightly ahead of the foam (surfactant) front. does not depend on oil or water saturation. Namdar Zanganeh
The success of a foam process with FCM CO2 and surfactant et al. (2009) extend this approach to cases where foam strength is
dissolved in the (supercritical) CO2 depends on the strength of a function of water or oil saturation or both.
foam at very low water fractional flow, such as for a surfactant- In some idealized cases, one can model foam flow in the
alternating-gas (SAG) process with surfactant dissolved in water. presence of mobile oil by two-phase fractional-flow methods.
The speed of propagation of the foam front depends on surfactant Walsh and Lake (1989) show that an FCM solvent flood can
adsorption on rock and on the partitioning of surfactant between be represented as a two-phase displacement (aqueous phase and
water and CO2 but is always less than the velocity of the foam nonaqueous phase). Where the nonaqueous phase is solvent, a
front in a SAG flood with surfactant ahead of the gas. A foam with solvent/water fractional-flow curve applies; where it is oil, an
surfactant that partitions preferentially into water rather than into oil/water fractional-flow curve applies. They investigate the opti-
CO2 would propagate slowly, regardless of the surfactants absolute mal solvent-/water-injection ratio that gives the fastest advance
solubility or the level of adsorption on rock. An aqueous surfactant of miscible front. They show that the method can be extended
preflush can speed the advance of foam, however. to allow for a residual-oil saturation behind the miscible front
An idealized model of a surfactant flood pushed by foam sug- and partitioning of solvent in the residual oil and injected water.
gests that it is best to inject a relatively high water content into Walsh (1989, 1991) investigates miscible-flood design strategies
the foam to ensure that the gas front remains behind the surfactant for chase-water, chase-gas, and chase-gas/water injection including
front as the flood proceeds. Any gas that passes ahead of the sur- interference caused by small solvent-slug sizes.
factant front would finger through the oil and be wasted. In the following, after a brief review of the fractional-flow
We present simulations to verify the solutions obtained with method, we evaluate foam-process efficiency in 1D for three
fractional-flow methods and illustrate the challenges of accurate examples:
simulation of these processes. An FCM gasflood with foam injection, where oil may or
may not destroy foam. We use this model as a simpler representa-
Introduction tion of the more-common case of multicontact-miscible (MCM)
Miscible flooding is an attractive method to displace the residual displacement. If multicontact miscibility occurs, an MCM process
oil in a reservoir after primary- and secondary-recovery methods. proceeds in 1D (in the absence of dispersion) much as an FCM
It can, in principle, recover all oil in the reservoir. But the low process (Walsh and Lake 1989).
viscosity and density of the gas phase causes instability and inef- An FCM gasflood with foam, with surfactant dissolved in
ficiency in the displacement front because of gravity override, gas supercritical CO2.
channeling, and viscous fingering (Lake 1989). Gas sweep can An idealized surfactant flood using immiscible gas for mobil-
be improved by water-alternating-gas (WAG) injection. However, ity control.
gravity segregation and low injectivity tends to impair the advan- For each of these cases, we derive the fractional-flow solution
tages of this injection strategy (Le et al. 2008). This has inspired for the foam displacement and find the water-saturation distribu-
the application of foam as an effective way to increase the sweep tion. We investigate what controls the mobility and velocity of the
efficiency of CO2 flooding. foam bank and propose optimal process designs (in the context of
Foam can improve sweep efficiency in gas-injection EOR idealized 1D displacements). We compare the solutions obtained
(Schramm 1994; Rossen 1996) and surfactant EOR (Li et al. against fine-grid numerical simulations using the same models.
2008), redirect acid flow in matrix acid stimulation (Gdanski 1993; Fractional-Flow Method
Nguyen et al. 2003), and increase the efficiency of remediation of
aquifers (Hirasaki et al. 2000; Mamun et al. 2002). Foam in porous Fractional-flow theory has been used to model water/oil or water/
media can be defined as a dispersion of gas phase in liquid phase gas immiscible flooding since 1941 (Buckley and Leverett 1942).
such that the liquid phase is connected and at least some gas paths Its applications to various EOR processes are described by Pope
are blocked by thin liquid films (Rossen 1996). (1980), Lake (1989), and Walsh and Lake (1989), among others.
The fractional-flow method, or the method of characteristics Assumptions include incompressible phases; Newtonian mobili-
(MOC), is useful in analyzing foam and other EOR processes ties; 1D displacement; absence of dispersion, gradients of capillary
pressure, and viscous fingering; and immediate attainment of local
steady state. In spite of these simplifying assumptions, fractional-
flow theory is reported to be accurate and useful in analysis of
Copyright 2010 Society of Petroleum Engineers
field data in the foam field test at the Snorre field (Vassenden et al.
This paper (SPE 121579) was accepted for presentation at the SPE International Symposium 1999). The application of fractional-flow theory to foam displace-
on Oilfield Chemistry, The Woodlands, Texas, USA, 2022 April 2009, and revised for
publication. Original manuscript received for review 02 March 2009. Revised manuscript ments is discussed more fully elsewhere (Zhou and Rossen 1995;
received for review 11 November 2009. Paper peer approved 11 September 2009. Rossen et al. 1999; Shan and Rossen 2004).

260 June 2010 SPE Journal


Assuming local steady state means that surfactant is always upper-right corner ( fw = 1, Sw = 1) of the fractional-flow diagram
present in both water and gas at concentrations in equilibrium (see Appendix B for derivation of this condition). Walsh and Lake
with each other. In a process of surfactant injection in CO2, in the (1989) show how the model can be extended to allow for leaving
absence of dispersion, surfactant concentration can take only one residual-oil saturation behind in the gas bank and for allowing
of two values in each phase: either zero in both water and gas solvent solubility in the water and in the residual oil behind the
phase, or the injected-surfactant concentration in the gas and the gas front.
concentration in water that is in equilibrium with that concentration For a case of foam injection with FCM gas, there are, therefore,
in the gas. In addition, we assume first-contact miscibility between four fractional-flow curves. Where surfactant is present in water
gas and oil for our first two examples. Like Walsh and Lake and gas is the nonaqueous phase, the foam fractional-flow curve
(1989), we allow for a uniform residual-oil saturation left behind applies. If gas advances ahead of the foam bank, the gas/water frac-
the miscible shock and illustrate with one example. For the ideal- tional-flow curve applies. Ahead of the point where gas miscibly
ized surfactant flood, we assume that surfactant reduces oil/water displaces oil, the oil/water fractional-flow curve controls behavior.
interfacial tension so effectively that, in effect, water displaces oil If surfactant advances faster than gas, then the oil/water fractional-
miscibly. For an FCM displacement in the absence of dispersion, flow curve may be altered by the presence of surfactant (i.e., by
there is only one mobile nonaqueous phase present at any loca- a large reduction in interfacial tension between oil and water).
tion, which is either oil or gas. For the idealized surfactant flood, We assume here that the surfactant has been chosen for foaming
in the absence of dispersion, there are only two phases present at properties, not for ultralow interfacial tension (Li et al. 2008);
any location: an aqueous phase with or without surfactant and a therefore, we assume that the oil/water fractional-flow curve is
nonaqueous phase that is either gas or oil. unaffected by surfactant and there are three fractional-flow curves
The fractional-flow method proceeds as follows. First, one to be considered. See Table A-1 and Appendix A for a description
identifies the injection condition, point J, and the initial condition of the foam model and parameter values used here.
of the reservoir, represented by point I, on their respective frac- The surfactant front is governed by a chemical shock (strictly
tional-flow curves. Saturations advance through the medium with an indifferent wave, not a shock) that is determined by material
dimensionless velocities equal to the slope of the fractional-flow balances on surfactant and water. If there is no adsorption, this
curve at that saturation. A valid, single-valued solution must have condition is represented graphically by a line drawn between the
monotonically increasing slope (velocity) from J to I. Buckley- saturations on either side of the jump on the fractional-flow curves
Leverett shocks, discontinuities in saturation along a single frac- for gas/water flow with and without foam, where the line must
tional-flow curve, occur where rearward waves overtake forward pass through ( fw = 0, Sw = 0). If there is adsorption, the line must
waves of lower velocity. To jump from one fractional-flow curve to pass through a point D at coordinates (Sw = d < 0, fw = 0) (Eq.
the other (e.g., at the boundary between surfactant at the injected B-7), where d is the pore volumes of surfactant solution required
concentration and zero concentration), material balances on water to satisfy adsorption in one pore volume of rock. Lake (1989)
and surfactant or gas give algebraic conditions that must be satis- calls d the frontal advance loss. See material balance for different
fied at the jump. In the cases here, those conditions are equivalent shocks in Appendix B.
to a graphical condition that the jump velocity be equal to the By assuming an FCM displacement with no residual oil behind
slope of the line linking points upstream and downstream of the the miscible front and no dispersion, we avoid the issue of oils
jump and passing though some third fixed point. Jump velocities effect on foam stability. Where gas and surfactant are present, there
must also satisfy conditions for monotonically increasing velocity is foam and no oil; where oil is present and no gas, there is no
from J to I. foam, regardless of whether surfactant is present. If there were a
Details of the foam model, which is based on data of Alvarez uniform immobile oil saturation behind the front, as in Walsh and
et al. (2001), are provided in Appendix A. Derivation of jump con- Lake (1989), accounting for it would simply mean adjusting the
ditions for the gas/oil miscible shock and surfactant front (chemical gas-mobility reduction with foam for the effect of residual oil.
shock) for our three examples is given in Appendix B. Fig. 1 shows the solution for one example, with injection of
foam at water fractional flow fwJ = 0.2 into a medium with no sur-
FCM Gasflood With Foam factant and oil initially at its waterflood-residual saturation. This
We assume complete mutual solubility between gas and oil and example corresponds to a case where surfactant is soluble only in
complete immiscibility of both with water. Therefore, gas mis- water, surfactant concentration in water is 4 kg/m3 (0.4 wt%), and
cibly displaces oil in a jump (indifferent wave) that is governed surfactant adsorption on the rock is 0.096 g/kg of rock. Assuming a
by a material balance on water and gas at the jump. This jump is larger value of adsorption would shift point D to the left and reduce
represented graphically by joining the compositions on either side the velocity of the foam bank. The injection point J is on the foam
of the jump on the two fractional-flow curves by a line from the fractional-flow curve at fw = fwJ = 0.2, and the initial condition I is

I
1
Foam 1
0.9 Gas/water Gas GB1 I
0.9 Oil
0.8 Oil/water 439 200
0.8
0.7
Miscible shock 0.7
0.6
0.6
OB
fw

0.5
Sw

0.5 85 82
GB2
GB1
0.4 0.4 23566
J
0.3 0.3
4
J
0.2 0.2
OB Water+surfactant Water without surfactant
0.1 0.1

0 0
D
GB2 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Sw xD
(a) (b)

Fig. 1Displacement of oil at waterflood-residual saturation by foam composed of gas that is FCM with oil. (a) Solution on frac-
tional-flow plot. (b) Saturation profile at tD = 0.4. Numbers are total relative mobility, in (Pas)1. In this and similar figures, boxed
values apply to a whole region of constant state. Unboxed values apply to the leading and trailing edge of a spreading wave.

June 2010 SPE Journal 261


I
1
Foam 1
0.9 Gas/water GB I
0.9 Gas
0.8 Oil/water GB 240 200
Oil
0.8
0.7
Miscible shock 0.7
0.6
0.6
OB
fw

0.5

Sw
0.5 82
85
0.4 0.4
J J
0.3 0.3 Water without surfactant
3
0.2 0.2
OB Water+surfactant
0.1 0.1

0 0
D 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
Sw xD
(a) (b)

Fig. 2Displacement of oil at waterflood-residual saturation by foam composed of gas that is FCM with oil, for a case with greater
water fraction in the foam than in Fig. 1. In this case, for simplicity, the plot assumes no adsorption of surfactant. (a) Solution
on fractional-flow plot. (b) Saturation profile at tD = 0.4.

on the oil/water fractional-flow curve at Sw = 1Sor. In this case, injectivity. One could, of course, use a weaker foam, with greater
gas travels faster than surfactant and there is a gas bank ahead of mobility in bank J. SAG injection is an alternative to continuous
the foam, both because of adsorption and because the gas fraction foam injection that maintains good injectivity with relatively low
in the injected foam is greater than the gas saturation in the foam mobility at the displacement front (Shan and Rossen 2004); using
bank. Therefore, the displacement proceeds as shown in Fig. 1. surfactant dissolved in the injected gas is another such process. We
The leading edge of the foam bank J is a chemical shock to the use this example to illustrate the fractional-flow technique, which
foam-free gas/water fractional-flow curve at GB1. Ahead of this can be applied to a foam of greater or lesser strength, and to illus-
bank, there must be a miscible shock to the oil fractional-flow trate the determination of an optimal foam quality for a process of
curve. There occurs first, though, a shock along the gas/water frac- continuous foam injection in 1D, as in the next subsection.
tional-flow curve to a second gas bank GB2, with nearly zero water
fractional flow, and then a miscible shock to a point of tangency Effect of Foam Quality. If one increases the water fraction of
on the oil/water fractional-flow curve at point OB. Ahead of OB, the injected foam, the velocity of the foam bank and of the mis-
there is a spreading wave of increasing water saturation and a final cible shock approach each other. In the plots to follow, we assume
shock along the oil/water fractional-flow curve to I. adsorption is zero [point D is at (0, 0)], but the extension to cases
In the displacement, there are constant states J, GB1, and GB2; with adsorption is straightforward. As fwJ increases, rst the sec-
ahead of GB2 is a jump to OB and a narrow spreading wave ahead ond gas bank disappears (Fig. 2) when point GB, determined by
of it and then a shock to initial condition I. In 1D flow with no a material balance on surfactant, also lies on the material-balance
dispersion or fingering, all oil is displaced with the velocity of the line from (1, 1) that is tangent to point OB, which determines the
miscible shock between GB2 and OB. The total relative mobilities gas/oil front. With adsorption, point D moves toward the left and
of J, GB1, GB2, OB, and I are 4, 439, 23 566, 85, and 200 (Pas)1, fwJ would have to be larger to keep GB in this location. At some
respectively. Thus, in 2D or 3D, the displacement of oil by gas sufciently high water fractional ow (Fig. 3), the miscible-shock
ahead of the foam would be unstable to fingering, but the foam and chemical-shock velocities are equal; the gas bank ahead of
front would be stable. This suggests that, because of fingering at foam disappears. In this case D, J, and (1, 1) lie on the same
the unstable front, the actual velocity of oil displacement would line, and therefore so do points GB and OB. At still higher water
be the velocity of the foam bank. fractional ow (Fig. 4), it is no longer surfactant propagation that
The low mobility of foam bank J in this example (more than limits the velocity of the foam bank, rather it is gas propagation.
10 times lower than the oil bank ahead of it) may make continu- In this case, too much surfactant has been injected. We assume
ous injection of this foam impractical in the field because of low that the surfactant does not stabilize a foam of oil with water, so

I
1
Foam 1
0.9 Gas/water GB I
Oil/water 0.9 Oil
0.8 200
Gas
Miscible shock 0.8
0.7 OB OB
0.7
96
0.6
0.6
fw

0.5
Sw

0.5
0.4
0.4
J J Water without surfactant
0.3 0.3
3
0.2 0.2
Water+surfactant
0.1 0.1

0 0
D 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Sw
xD
(a) (b)

Fig. 3Optimal water fraction of foam for displacement of oil at waterflood-residual saturation by foam composed of gas that
is FCM with oil. In this case, for simplicity, the plot assumes no adsorption of surfactant. (a) Solution on fractional-flow plot. (b)
Saturation profile at tD = 0.4.

262 June 2010 SPE Journal


I
1
Foam
0.9 1
Gas/water
Oil I
Oil/water 0.9
0.8 Miscible shock 200
OB 0.8 Gas OB
0.7
0.7 102
0.6
0.6
fw

0.5

Sw
0.5
J
0.4
0.4
J Water without surfactant
0.3 0.3
3
0.2 0.2
Water+surfactant
0.1 0.1

0 0
D 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
(a) Sw (b) xD

Fig. 4Displacement of oil at waterflood-residual saturation by foam composed of gas that is FCM with oil, with higher injected-
water fraction than in Fig. 3. (a) Solution on fractional-flow plot. (b) Saturation profile at tD = 0.4. In this case, the propagation of
foam is limited by propagation of gas, not surfactant. This condition is satisfied as long as point D lies to the right of the exten-
sion of the line joining J and (1, 1) (i.e., the line representing the material balances that determine the gas/oil front).

foam collapses at the point where oil is displaced by gas; surfactant be injected dissolved in gas or, more precisely, in supercritical CO2,
travels ahead of this front but (by assumption) makes no difference both the problems of sweeping low-permeability layers with foam
to the oil/water fractional-ow curve. and maintaining high injectivity could be overcome.
In this sequence of increasing water content of foam, the veloc- Foam can be generated by injection of surfactant dissolved in
ity of the miscible shock decreases. If this is the front at which oil the CO2 phase (Kuhlman et al. 1994; Le et al. 2008). If surfactant
is displaced (as it is in 1D displacements without fingering or dis- is injected dissolved in the CO2 phase, then injection of water is
persion), then there is no advantage to increasing the water content not required because water is available in the reservoir. Therefore,
of the foam. If, however, the adverse mobility contrast between the injectivity remains high, with advantages in overcoming gravity
gas bank and the oil bank ahead of it causes gas to finger through segregation (Shan and Rossen 2004; Jamshidnezhad et al. 2008;
oil rather than displacing it, the effective velocity of oil recovery Kloet et al. 2009). In addition, in principle, surfactant goes wher-
would be that provided by the foam bank. This velocity increases ever gas goes, though (as shown later) sometimes at lower velocity
up to the point where the miscible-shock and chemical-shock than gas. Lower-molecular-weight nonpolar compounds are among
velocities are equal (Fig. 3) and decreases beyond this point. This the most soluble in CO2. Liu et al. (2001, 2002a, 2002b) report the
suggests a criterion for an optimal water fraction in foam for an solubility of nonionic surfactants in CO2 at different temperatures
FCM flood based on the rate of foam propagation in 1D. In such and pressures; see also Fan (2006). Their results indicate that the
a process, foam delivers gas with good sweep because of its favor- solubility of several surfactants in CO2 is high. Du et al. (2008)
able mobility ratio. There is a small gas bank ahead of the foam, note that CO2 dissolved in water can reduce the solubility of sur-
too small to allow fingering to develop, that miscibly displaces the factant in water.
oil ahead of it. As long as this displacement is efficient enough to Kuhlman et al. (1994) show that oil can form foam with gas in
remove oil ahead of the foam bank, it would not matter whether the absence of water as a result of surfactant transport in CO2 and
oil destabilizes foam or not. This determination of an optimal subsequent partitioning into oil. However, for simplicity, we ignore
water/gas ratio for foam is similar to the optimal WAG ratio of oil/gas foam here. Le et al. (2008) compare WAG (a SAG process
Walsh and Lake (1989), except that the optimum ratio depends on with surfactant injected in the CO2), conventional SAG injection,
a material balance on surfactant as well as water and gas. and CO2 injection (without water) with dissolved surfactant; the
latter process gives higher recovery in their experiments. They
Foam With Surfactant Dissolved in Gas report that this injection strategy has the benefits of lower injection
SAG foam processes have several advantages over the process of pressure and a significant delay of CO2-breakthrough time.
continuous foam injection examined in the preceding section. For We assume that the injected stream is 100% gas with dissolved
CO2 foam projects, SAG reduces corrosion in surface facilities and surfactant; surfactant is soluble in both water and gas; and the
pipe (Heller 1994). The SAG process also increases gas injectivity. medium is initially at waterflood-residual-oil saturation with no
When gas is injected, water is displaced from the near-well region, surfactant present. We assume FCM displacement of oil by gas.
weakening foam near the well. As a result, gas mobility in the near- Similar to Walsh and Lake (1989), we allow for a residual-oil
well region rises and injectivity increases (Shan and Rossen 2004). saturation behind the gas bank and surfactant partitioning into this
Increasing injectivity can reduce gravity segregation in cases where residual oil, but we neglect gas solubility in the aqueous phase
injection pressure is constrained (Jamshidnezhad et al. 2008). for simplicity here. According to Appendix B, the velocity of the
Two major issues in the SAG process are placement of surfac- surfactant front is
tant uniformly in the reservoir (Renkema and Rossen 2007; Kloet
et al. 2009) and maximizing injectivity (Rossen et al. 2006; Rossen x D
and Shen 2007; Jamshidnezhad et al. 2008). In a homogeneous res- s =
t D
ervoir, a one-cycle SAG process, where one big slug of surfactant
is followed by one big slug of gas, gives better sweep and higher Csg
fwu +
injectivity than multiple-cycle SAG processes; sweep efficiency Csw Csg f u fwd
= = wu . . . . . . . . . (1)
is higher, the process proceeds faster, and gravity segregation is Csg (1 SOM ) + Csa + Cso SOM Sw Swd
mitigated (Shan and Rossen 2004). However, a single-slug SAG Sw +
u

process suffers from inability to place sufficient surfactant into Csw Csg
low-permeability layers in heterogeneous reservoirs, while mul-
tiple-slug SAG processes suffer from poor injectivity during liquid Here, Csg, Csw, and Cso are mass concentrations of surfactant in gas,
injection (Kloet et al. 2009). This suggests that, if surfactant could water, and gasflood-residual oil, respectively. Csa represents mass

June 2010 SPE Journal 263


Foam D
1.2
Gas/water 1
Oil/water GB1 I
I 0.9
1 386 Gas Oil 200
0.8

0.8 0.7
Gas+surfactant
Miscible shock 0.6
fw

OB

Sw
0.6 0.5 82
GB2 85

GB1 0.4 23566


0.4 Foam bank
0.3
43
0.2
0.2 OB 573
0.1 J Water without surfactant
J Water+surfactant
0 0
GB2
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
Sw xD
(a) (b)

Fig. 5Displacement of oil initially at waterflood-residual saturation by foam composed of gas that is FCM with oil, with sur-
factant injected in the gas, for a case of surfactant that partitions preferentially into gas. (a) Solution on fractional-flow plot. (b)
Saturation profile at tD = 0.4. Numbers are the total relative mobilities in (Pas)1.

of surfactant adsorbed on the rock per unit volume of pore space foam injection in the preceding section. The mobility of both gas
[see Lake (1989)], and SOM represents miscible-flood-residual-oil banks ahead of the foam is much greater than that of the oil bank
saturation. Superscripts u and d represent conditions upstream of in front of them. We contend that, in two or three dimensions, these
the jump and conditions downstream of the jump, respectively. high-mobility banks would finger through the oil and the actual
Eq. 1 indicates that the velocity of the surfactant front depends on oil-bank velocity would be only slightly greater than the velocity
surfactant adsorption on rock and also on the partitioning of sur- of the foam bank.
factant between water, CO2, and gasflood-residual oil. We consider As Csg/Csw increases, point D approaches (1, 1); the chemi-
a medium initially at waterflood-residual-oil saturation, and two cal-shock velocity increases until the second gas bank, with its
cases reflecting the partitioning of surfactant into water and CO2: enormous mobility, disappears, as in Fig. 6. This happens as the
Csg > Csw and Csw >Csg. chemical shock and the miscible shock cross at point GB on the
gas/water fractional-flow curve. In this figure, surfactant concen-
Case Csg > Csw. Assuming complete miscibility of oil and gas (SOM = tration is 43 times greater in gas than in water; if surfactant con-
0), Eq. 1 indicates that the jump representing the surfactant front centration in water Csw is 0.4 wt%, then concentration of surfactant
C + Csa Csg in the gas is 17.2 wt%, and surfactant adsorption on the rock is
should pass through a point D, at (Sw, fw) = sg , . approximately 0.4 g/kg rock. We present this and the following
C sw C sg C sw Csg case to illustrate the effect of partitioning of surfactant between
For Csg > Csw, this point is located above and to the right of (1, water and gas phases on the displacement.
1), between the lines representing fw = Sw and fw = 1. If Csw is Fig. 7 shows the case for Csg/Csw , with no adsorption. In
negligible in comparison with Csg, point D lies on the line fw = 1; this case, surfactant partitions exclusively into gas; if adsorption
when adsorption is negligible, it is on the line fw = Sw; and if both is also negligible, surfactant advances at the same velocity as gas.
conditions apply, it is at (Sw, fw) = (1, 1). As Csw approaches Csg The chemical-shock and miscible-shock velocities are equal, and
from below (i.e., as partitioning of surfactant into water increases), the gas bank ahead of the foam disappears. At this point, in the
point D moves farther from (1, 1). presence of dispersion, the effect of oil on foam may affect the
Fig. 5 shows the fractional-flow solution and displacement velocity and mobility of the foam bank. If, in all these cases (Figs.
banks for a case with point D far from (1, 1); specifically, this 5 through 7), as we argue, the foam-bank velocity would be the
corresponds to a case where surfactant concentration in gas is effective velocity of oil displacement rather than the velocities of
approximately 5.5 times higher than in water, concentration of high-mobility gas banks likely to finger through the oil, then this
surfactant in water is 2 kg/m3 (0.2 wt%), and surfactant adsorption is the optimal case. Like the miscible gasflood with foam created
is 0.7 g/kg rock. by surfactant dissolved in water, described in a previous section,
The leading edge of the foam bank has relatively low mobility, the optimal case has the greatest velocity of the foam bank, with a
but mobility is high at the injection point, as in a SAG process slight gas bank ahead to displace oil and keep oil from the foam. It
(Shan and Rossen 2004). Mobility at J should be much greater, but also has a slightly lower mobility at the leading edge of the foam
we have used here a foam model in which foam does not collapse bank, arising from a point of tangency at slightly greater fw. For
fully even at Swr; see Appendix A. Also, as in SAG processes, the a gasflood with surfactant dissolved in gas, the optimum requires
mobility at the leading edge of the foam bank is not nearly as low a surfactant that partitions nearly exclusively into gas, as well as
as with foam injection with significant water fraction (see Fig. 1) minimal adsorption. Whether one could create a stable foam with
because the chemical shock seeks a point of tangency at very low minimal surfactant affinity for the water phase would need to be
water fractional flow (in this case, 0.012), where foam has dried determined in the laboratory.
out and weakened considerably. In particular, the process success Like Walsh and Lake (1989), one can extend this model to a case
depends on whether foam collapses completely or only partially at with gasflood-residual oil behind the miscible shock. According to
the limiting capillary pressure [see Zhou and Rossen (1995) and C (1 SOM ) + Csa + Cso SOM Csg
Dong and Rossen (2007)]. If foam collapses completely at the Eq. 1, point D moves to sg ,
limiting capillary pressure, then mobility is high throughout the Csw Csg Csw Csg
foam bank; there is no mobility control anywhere in the process. and the miscible shock occurs on a line through [(1SOM), 1]
At the leading edge of the foam bank is a chemical shock to the instead of (1, 1). Fig. 8 is the fractional-flow solution for a case
first gas bank; ahead of that, another Buckley-Leverett shock to a like Fig. 7 (Csg/Csw and no adsorption) and where we assume
second gas bank; and ahead of that, a miscible shock (the gas/oil that the foam fractional-flow curve is unaffected by the presence
front) to a point of tangency at point OB. Ahead of OB, there is of residual oil (SOM = 0.05). In practice, it is likely that residual oil
a small spreading wave (oil bank) of increasing water saturation would weaken the foam, shifting the foam fractional-flow curve
and a final shock along the oil/water fractional-flow curve to I. toward the right, accelerating the foam bank but raising the mobil-
Ahead of the foam bank, the displacement is similar to that for ity of the foam bank.

264 June 2010 SPE Journal


I D
1 1 Gas
Foam GB I
0.9
Gas/water 240 200
0.8 Oil/water 0.8 Oil
GB
0.7
Miscible shock Gas+surfactant
0.6 0.6
fw

Sw
0.5 OB 82
85
0.4 0.4
Foam bank
0.3
33
0.2 0.2 573 Water without surfactant
OB Water+surfactant
0.1
J J
0 0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
Sw xD
(a) (b)

Fig. 6Displacement of oil initially at waterflood-residual saturation by foam composed of gas that is FCM with oil, with surfactant
injected in the gas, for a case with greater partitioning of surfactant into gas than in Fig. 5. (a) Solution on fractional-flow plot.
(b) Saturation profile at tD = 0.4.

I D 1
1
Foam I
0.9
Gas/water Oil 200
0.8 GB 0.8
Oil/water
0.7 Gas+surfactant
OB
0.6 83
0.6
Miscible shock
Sw

0.5
fw

OB
0.4 0.4

0.3 Foam bank


33
0.2 0.2
573
0.1 J Water without surfactant

0 0
J 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
xD
0.2
Sw
(b )
(a)

Fig. 7Optimal displacement of oil initially at waterflood-residual saturation by foam composed of gas that is FCM with oil, with
surfactant injected in the gas. Surfactant partitions completely from water into gas, without adsorption on rock. (a) Solution on
fractional-flow plot. (b) Saturation profile at tD = 0.4.

I D
1
Foam
0.9 1
Gas/water
I
Oil/water 0.9 Oil
0.8 200
0.8
0.7
Miscible shock Gas+Surfactant OB
0.7
0.6 87
OB 0.6
fw

0.5
Sw

0.5
0.4
0.4
0.3 0.3 Foam bank
31
0.2 0.2
573 Water without surfactant
0.1 0.1 J
J Trapped oil+surfactant
0 0
0.0 0.2 0.4 S 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
w
(b ) xD
(a)

Fig. 8Displacement of oil initially at waterflood-residual saturation by foam composed of gas that is partially miscible with
oil, with surfactant injection in the gas. Surfactant partitions completely from water into gas, and there is no adsorption. For
simplicity, we assume remaining oil has no effect on foam. (a) Solution on fractional-flow plot. (b) Saturation profile at tD = 0.4.
SOM and Cso are 0.05 and 0.2, respectively.
June 2010 SPE Journal 265
1 I 1
GB1 I
Foam 0.9
0.8 386 Oil 200
Gas/water Gas
0.8
Oil/water 0.6 GB1
0.7
Gas+surfactant
0.4
0.6

fw
OB OB
0.2

Sw
0.5 85 82
J GB2
0 0.4
GB2 23566
1.2 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 Foam bank
0.2 Sw 0.3
43
0.4 0.2
573
0.1 J Water without Surfactant
0.6 Water+surfactant
0
0.8 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
1 xD
D (b)
1.2

(a)

Fig. 9Displacement of oil initially at waterflood-residual saturation by foam composed of gas that is FCM with oil, with sur-
factant injection in the gas, for greater partitioning of surfactant into water than into gas. (a) Solution on fractional-flow plot.
(b) Saturation profile at tD = 0.4.

Case Csw > Csg. According to Eq. 1, for Csw > Csg, point D is located surfactant. We assume no miscibility between oil and gas. There
below and to the left of (0, 0), between the lines representing are three phases in the displacement, but this idealized process
fw = Sw and fw = 0. If Csg is negligible compared to Csw, point D can be designed so that only two are present at any location:
lies on fw = 0; when adsorption is negligible, it is on fw = Sw; and water and gas or water and oil. We include surfactant adsorption
when both conditions apply, it is at (0, 0). As Csg approaches Csw in this example in part to distinguish the chemical shock from the
from below, point D moves further from (0, 0). Fig. 9 shows one oil/surfactant-solution fractional-flow curve. With adsorption of
example in which Csw > Csg. This example corresponds to a case surfactant, as for foam injection in the FCM flood with surfactant
where surfactant concentration in water is approximately twice dissolved in water (Fig. 1), the chemical shock is drawn through
that in gas, surfactant concentration in water is 4 kg/m3 (0.4 wt%), point D at position (Sw = d, fw = 0); d is the number of pore
and surfactant adsorption rate is quite low, approximately 0.004 volumes of surfactant solution required to satisfy adsorption in one
g/kg rock. A larger value for adsorption would move point D to pore volume of formation. See Appendix B for material balances
the left and reduce foam-bank velocity from that given here. For on the shocks.
Csw > Csg, the chemical shock is always slower than the miscible Our solution requires that the foam bank be designed so that gas
shock because of the position of point D relative to the point of propagates more slowly than surfactant. Otherwise, there are three
tangency on the foam fractional-ow curve. In other words, there mobile phases ahead of the surfactant front (oil, water, and gas),
are always one or more gas banks ahead of the foam. and the analysis of the displacement is much more complex (May-
Apart from any effect on foam stability, greater partitioning of berry and Kam 2008; Namdar Zanganeh et al. 2009). Moreover,
surfactant from the gas to the aqueous phase is disadvantageous any gas traveling ahead of the foam bank would finger through oil
because of reduced velocity of the foam bank. As Csw/Csg and water with no beneficial effect. One design where surfactant
(i.e., a foam with surfactant that partitions almost entirely into travels ahead of gas is shown in Fig. 10. The initial condition I is
water rather than CO2) point D moves toward (0, 0) or to the line at residual-oil saturation with no surfactant present. The injection
representing fw = 0, depending on the level of adsorption. The condition is foam, injected with a fixed water fractional flow. If the
foam bank propagates with near-zero velocity, regardless of the water fraction of the foam is large enough, then gas propagation
surfactants absolute solubility in gas or level of adsorption on rock limits the foam-front velocity rather than surfactant propagation.
(though a high level of adsorption also slows the front). In this case, the material balance on gas at the foam front [long-
One could increase the velocity of slow-moving foam in this dashed diagonal line from (1, 1) on the phase diagram] gives a
case by initially injecting an aqueous surfactant slug, followed by lower velocity than a material balance on surfactant [line from
gas injection with dissolved surfactant. In this case, at first the foam points D to J (not shown)]; hence, it is the propagation of gas that
bank would move with the velocity of gas, as in a conventional controls the velocity of the foam bank. Ahead of this jump, there
SAG process with a large slug of surfactant [see Shan and Ros- is no gas; the jump is to a point on the oil/water (with surfactant)
sen (2004)]. Once gas advances beyond the position of surfactant fractional-flow curve, which is a straight line representing fw =
previously injected with water, the process would proceed as Sw. This point ahead of the jump is at (Sw = 1, fw = 1), giving a
described here. surfactant bank SB. The next jump, to the oil/water fractional-flow
curve (without surfactant), is determined by the material balance
Foam for Mobility Control in Idealized on surfactant, and it occurs along a line drawn from SB to point D.
Surfactant Flood Ahead of this jump is oil bank OB. Ahead of this bank is a shock
We consider an idealized surfactant flood in which surfactant on the oil/water fractional-flow curve to initial condition I. There
reduces oil/water interfacial tension to zero, allowing, in effect, are four regions of constant state: foam J, surfactant bank SB, oil
miscible displacement of oil by water. The fractional-flow curve bank OB, and initial condition I, separated by the three jumps or
for oil and water with dissolved surfactant is then a diagonal line shocks with velocities given by the lines in Fig. 10. Foam bank
from (Sw = 0, fw = 0) to (1, 1). In contrast to the preceding cases, J has lower mobility than surfactant bank SB, which has higher
we assume that the surfactant has been optimized for ultralow mobility than the oil bank OB. Therefore, in 2D or 3D, one might
interfacial tension between water and oil and yet still forms a foam expect fingering of the surfactant bank through the oil bank ahead
of sufficient strength for mobility control (Li et al. 2008). For this of it; this fingering would be especially problematic to a process
case, we assume there is no solubility of surfactant in the gas. There that relies on an orderly gradient of salinity or other properties
are, in principle, four fractional-flow curves here: foam (water/gas (Nelson 1982; Liu et al. 2008) to obtain ultralow interfacial tension
with surfactant); gas/water without surfactant; oil/water without and mobilize oil with the surfactant bank. To minimize fingering,
surfactant; and oil/water with surfactant. Which three play a part one might choose to minimize the size of the surfactant bank
in the displacement depends on whether gas propagates faster than ahead of the foam.

266 June 2010 SPE Journal


I SB
1
Foam
0.9 Gas/water SB
Oil/water 1
0.8 328 Oil I
Oil/surfactant OB 0.9
0.7 200
0.8 OB
0.6 Gas 104
0.7
J 0.6
fw

0.5

Sw
0.5
0.4
0.4
0.3 J
0.3 2 Water without surfactant
0.2 0.2
Water+surfactant
0.1 0.1

0 0
D
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
(a) Sw (b) xD

Fig. 10Displacement of oil by foam in idealized surfactant flood. (a) Solution on fractional-flow plot. (b) Saturation profile at
tD = 0.4.

Fig. 11 illustrates the minimum water fraction in the foam results obtained with fractional-flow theory and illustrate the difficulty
that prevents formation of a gas bank ahead of the foam; this also in obtaining accurate solutions with simulation. The assumptions of
gives the minimum size of the surfactant bank ahead of foam our simulations match those of fractional-flow theory to the extent
while still maintaining that bank intact. The velocity of the foam possible. Specifically, a large backpressure (14 MPa) and very low
bank is maximized at this water fraction. At lower water fractions injection rates are employed; as a result, pressure difference (less than
than this, it is surfactant propagation that limits the propagation of 200 kPa) across the medium is insignificant compared to backpres-
foam; gas passes ahead of the foam bank, and the velocity of the sure, and compressibility effects are insignificant. Capillary pressure
foam bank is less than in Fig. 11. If gas fingers ahead of the foam is neglected. Numerical dispersion (Stalkup 1990) of the surfactant
bank, one would expect that oil at high oil saturation, which may front and the gas/oil front is minimized by increasing the number of
destabilize foam, is directly in contact with the leading edge of the gridblocks. Numerical dispersion has two effects: It spreads the sur-
foam bank; this may destabilize the foam and slow propagation factant front over many gridblocks, making foam strength vary near
of the foam front. the foam front, and it spreads the gas/oil displacement front, reducing
This representation of a surfactant (or alkaline/surfactant) pro- oil-phase viscosity near that front because of a large fraction of light
cess is simplified in several ways. In reality, some residual oil is components and increasing gas-phase viscosity just behind the front
left behind the surfactant front, though one may hope that it does because of a large fraction of heavy components.
not destabilize foam at the relatively low saturation present. Even We address the effect of surfactant dispersion by making the
in a perfect application of this process, oil is mobilized by ultralow onset of foam abrupt at one-half the injected-surfactant concentra-
interfacial tension within a portion of a gradient of salinity or other tion [Table A-1; see Rossen et al. (1999)]. This makes the foam
properties (Nelson 1982; Liu et al. 2008), which represents another front sharp. Dispersion disperses surfactant around this shock in
wave displacement to be considered in this process. An extrapola- asymmetric ways, however, and, as a result, dispersion still shifts
tion from the idealized case would suggest that the gas content of the position of the foam front by a modest amount (Cheng 2002).
the foam should be selected so that the gas velocity is lower than One can adjust the position of the front at any given time by
the velocity of the ultralow-interfacial-tension condition. adjusting parameter fmsurf (Cheng 2002), but, because dispersion
continues through the displacement, any given adjustment would
Simulations match the correct foam front at only one time.
Fine-grid 1D numerical simulations carried out with the STARS In principle, in a similar way, one could reduce the effect of
simulator (Computer Modeling Group 2006; Cheng 2002) verify the dispersion of the oil/gas front by making oil and gas viscosities

I SB
1
Foam
0.9 Gas/water 1
0.8 Oil/water OB Oil I
0.9
Oil/surfactant 200
0.7 0.8 OB
0.7 104
0.6 Gas
0.6
fw

0.5
J
Sw

0.5
0.4
0.4 Water without surfactant
J
0.3 0.3
2
0.2 0.2
0.1 Water+surfactant
0.1
0
D 0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 xD
(a) Sw (b)

Fig. 11Condition for minimum water fraction in foam that would give no gas bank ahead of the foam in an idealized surfactant
flood. This design also minimizes the size of the surfactant bank ahead of the foam. (a) Solution on fractional-flow plot. (b)
Saturation profile at tD = 0.4.

June 2010 SPE Journal 267


1
GB1 Gas Oil I
0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6 OB

Sw
0.5 GB2
0.4

0.3 J
0.2
Sw simulations 400gb
0.1
Surfactant No surfactant Sw simulations 1000gb
0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
xD

Fig. 12Comparison of water-saturation profiles at tD = 0.4 from fractional-flow solution and simulations with 400 and 1,000
gridblocks for case of foam injection (fwJ = 0.2) with gas that is FCM with oil; similar to Fig. 1, but with zero adsorption.

abrupt functions of composition: an abrupt change from oil viscos- components in each gridblock plotted also. The surfactant front
ity to gas viscosity at 50% fraction of light components in the given is spread over approximately 45 gridblocks and the gas/oil front
phase, for instance. We did not attempt this adjustment. over approximately 100 gridblocks. Fig. 12 shows the effect of this
Fig. 12 shows a comparison of fractional-flow solution and dispersion of the gas/oil front on the displacement. Fig. 15 shows
numerical simulation for a case of injection of foam ( fwJ = 0.2) com- the effect of the dispersion of surfactant concentration if foam
posed of FCM gas with surfactant that is soluble only in water. This strength is made a linear function of surfactant concentration in the
corresponds to Fig. 1 but without adsorption. The fit is better with water (i.e., with fmsurf = injected concentration and epsurf = 1).
1,000 gridblocks than with 400, as expected. The foam front in the The shock at the foam front is accelerated artificially and smeared
simulations trails that in the fractional-flow solution, which Cheng over a large distance.
(2002) showed to be a result of asymmetric numerical dispersion of Fig. 16 shows the same case as Fig. 12 but simulated with
surfactant concentration. The variation of oil-phase viscosity in the 100 gridblocks. The distortions seen with 400 gridblocks in
oil bank is evident from the shift in oil saturation in the oil bank. Fig. 12 are greater still. In a 3D simulation, however, it would
This shift, relative to the fractional-flow solution, is qualitatively as be difficult to include even as many as 100 gridblocks in each
one would expect from fractional-flow theory if viscosity of the oil direction.
phase were reduced toward the rear of the oil bank. Fig. 17 compares the fractional-flow solution with numerical
Fig. 13 compares simulations to the fractional-flow solution simulation for the displacement in Fig. 5: surfactant injected in the
for the case in Fig. 2 (i.e., disappearance of the second gas bank gas, with surfactant that partitions preferentially into gas. All five
at fw = 0.2877). As in Fig. 12, dispersion slows the foam bank, predicted banks are present, though the position of the some of the
which requires the reappearance of the second gas bank as though banks differs from the fractional-flow solution. The differences are
adsorption were greater than it is and reduces the velocity of the smaller for 1,000 gridblocks.
foam bank. The size of the spurious second gas bank decreases
with 1,000 gridblocks instead of 400. Conclusions
Fig. 14 shows the same simulation as in Fig. 12 but with surfac- For an FCM gasflood with foam, the water/gas/oil displace-
tant concentration in the water and total mole fraction of heavy (oil) ment can be represented as a two-phase displacement, with the

1
Gas Oil
GB I
0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6
OB
Sw

0.5

0.4
J
0.3

0.2
Sw simulations 400gb
0.1
Surfactant No surfactant Sw simulations 1000gb
0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
xD

Fig. 13Comparison of water-saturation profiles at tD = 0.4 from fractional-flow solution and simulations with 400 and 1,000
gridblocks for case of foam injection with gas that is FCM with oil at onset of disappearance of second gas bank (fwJ = 0.2877).
Compare to Fig. 2.

268 June 2010 SPE Journal


1
0.9
5105

Water mole fraction (surfactant)


0.8

Sw ;Oil/gas mole fraction


0.7 4105
0.6
0.5 3105

0.4
2105
0.3
0.2 1105
0.1
0 0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
xD
Sw simulations 400gb CO2 mole fraction in gas phase
Oil-component mole fraction in gas phase Oil-component mole fraction in oil phase
CO2 mole fraction in oil phase Simulated surfactant front

Fig. 14Simulation with 400 gridblocks from Fig. 12 showing dispersion of surfactant and gas/oil fronts.

1
GB1 I
0.9
Gas Gas Oil
0.8

0.7

0.6 OB
Sw

0.5 GB2
0.4

0.3 J No surfactant
0.2 Surfactant
0.1
S w simulations 400gb
0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
xD

Fig. 15Simulation of case from Fig. 12 with 400 gridblocks with gas-mobility reduction a linear function of surfactant
concentration.
1
GB1 Gas Oil I
0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6 OB
Sw

0.5 GB2
0.4

0.3 J
0.2

0.1
Surfactant No surfactant Sw simulations 100gb
0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
xD

Fig. 16Simulation of case from Fig. 12 with 100 gridblocks.

June 2010 SPE Journal 269


1
Gas Oil
0.9 GB1 I

0.8

0.7

0.6
OB
Sw
0.5 GB2
0.4

0.3 Foam bank

0.2
Sw simulations 400gb
0.1 J
Sw simulations 1000gb
Surfactant No surfactant
0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
xD

Fig. 17Comparison of water-saturation profiles at tD = 0.4 from fractional-flow solution and simulations with 400 and 1,000
gridblocks for case of foam injection with gas that is FCM with oil with surfactant injection in the gas; same as the case in
Fig. 5.

chemical shock defining the surfactant front and a miscible shock d = pore volume of surfactant solution required to
defining the gas front. The optimal water fraction in foam puts satisfy adsorption in one pore volume of rock
the gas front slightly ahead of the foam (surfactant) front. This epdry = parameter in foam model (regulates the slope of krg
process would recover oil efficiently, using foam to maintain curve near fmdry)
mobility control and gas to miscibly displace oil. In this idealized epsurf = parameter in foam model (regulates foam strength
representation, it does not matter if oil destabilizes foam because for surfactant concentrations below fmsurf )
all oil is displaced ahead of the foam front. fmdry = parameter in foam model (critical water saturation
A fractional-flow solution for an FCM gasflood with foam formed for foam collapse)
from surfactant dissolved in injected CO2 shows that mobility of fmmob = parameter in foam model (reference mobility-
foam depends on strength of foam at very low water fractional reduction factor)
flow, as for a SAG process with surfactant dissolved in water. The
fmsurf = parameter in foam model (surfactant concentration
speed of propagation of the surfactant front depends on surfac-
for full-strength foam)
tant adsorption on rock and also on the partitioning of surfactant
between water and CO2. A foam process with surfactant prefer- fw = water fractional ow
entially partitioning into gas has a greater rate of foam propaga- fwJ = water fraction of injected uids
tion than a process with surfactant preferentially partitioning into Fwater = factor to account for effect of water saturation on
water, separate from surfactants absolute solubility in both phases foam strength in foam model
and the level of adsorption on rock. In the latter case, an aqueous krg = gas relative permeability
surfactant preflush can speed the advance of foam. It remains L = medium length, m
to be shown experimentally whether a surfactant that partitions Pc = gas/water capillary pressure, Pa
preferentially into gas over water would produce adequate foam. SOM = gasood-residual-oil saturation behind the miscible
Furthermore, lower surfactant adsorption levels help accelerate shock
foam propagation for a foam with surfactant partially miscible in Sor = residual-oil saturation
both phases, as for conventional foam processes. Sw = water saturation
An idealized model of a surfactant flood can also be represented
Swr = residual-water saturation
as a sequence of two-phase displacements (water/gas in the
foam bank, water/oil in front) with two composition jumps, one t = time, seconds
representing the leading edge of the foam bank and the other the u = total superfacial velocity, m/s
leading edge of the surfactant bank. We derive conditions for an v = dimensionless velocity
optimal water fraction in the foam that keeps the gas front just vo, vs, vw = dimensionless velocity of shock based on material
behind the surfactant front but also minimizes the extent to which balance on oil, surfactant, or water (e.g., Eq. B-5)
surfactant advances ahead of the foam. x = displacement in 1D, m
Simulations confirm the accuracy of the fractional-flow solutions w = viscosity of water, Pas
and illustrate the challenges involved with numerical simulation. = porosity
Simulations conducted on all but very fine grids can be com-
pletely distorted by numerical dispersion. Superscripts and Subscripts
d = downstream of the shock
Nomenclature u = upstream of the shock
SI units are specied below. For equations in this text, it is only Acknowledgments
important that a consistent set of units be employed. In reporting We thank Computer Modeling Group (CMG) for the use of the
simulation results, we have sometimes used English units. STARS simulator and Dennis Coombe of CMG for advice on its
A = cross-sectional area, m2 use. We thank Alexey Andrianov for help and advice on application
Csa = mass of surfactant adsorbed on the rock per unit of STARS. Marco Kloet provided software we used in the analysis
volume of pore space, kg/m3 of first-contact-miscible displacements and surfactant flooding. We
Csg, Csw, Cso = mass concentrations of surfactant in gas, water, and thank Larry W. Lake and Tara LaForce for helpful comments on
gasood-residual oil, kg/m3 aspects of this work.

270 June 2010 SPE Journal


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Pressure on Coalescence and Phase Mobilities in Foams Flowing ous Gas and Liquid Injection Into Homogeneous Reservoirs. Paper
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June 2010 SPE Journal 271


Walsh, M.P. and Lake, L.W. 1989. Applying fractional flow theory to of the shock; Cs is the injected concentration of surfactant in water; and
solvent flooding and chase fluids. Journal of Petroleum Science and Csa represents adsorption, quantified as amount of surfactant adsorbed
Engineering 2 (4): 281303. doi: 10.1016/0920-4105(89)90005-3. on the rock per unit volume of pore space. There is no surfactant down-
Zhou, Z.H. and Rossen, W.R. 1994. Applying Fractional-Flow Theory to stream of the shock. The units (moles, mass) of the various C variables
Foams for Diversion in Matrix Acidization. SPE Prod & Fac 9 (1): are not important as long as they are consistent, although we cite mass
2935; Trans., AIME, 297. SPE-24660-PA. doi: 10.2118/24660-PA. concentrations in the text. The material balance for water is
Zhou, Z.H. and Rossen, W.R. 1995. Applying Fractional-Flow Theory to Foam
Processes at the Limiting Capillary Pressure. SPE Advanced Technology ( Auf u
w ) ( )
Aufwd t = ASwu ASwd x . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-2)
Series 3 (1): 154162. SPE-24180-PA. doi: 10.2118/24180-PA.
In this equation, superscript d represents conditions downstream
Appendix AFoam Model of the shock.
The foam-free fractional-flow functions used here are similar to those We assume rectilinear flow geometry for simplicity. Time and
of Cheng et al. (2000), based on the experiments of Alvarez et al. position, respectively, are dimensionalized as follows:
(2001) for a strong foam in Berea core with no oil present. See Table t x

A-1 for parameter values. Like the STARS foam model (Cheng et al. Audt Adx
2000; Computer Modeling Group 2006), we assume that foam reduces tD = 0
, xD = 0
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-3)
gas relative permeability according to the following relations: LA AL

1 With these definitions, the dimensionless velocity for each satura-


krg = krg0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-1) tion in the displacement, defined as
1 + fmmob Fwater ...
dx D u dx
= = , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-4)
arctan epdry ( Sw fmdry ) dt D dt
Fwater = 0.5 + . . . . . . . . . . . (A-2)
is equal to the slope of the fractional-flow curve at the given
saturation. If one rearranges the material balance on surfactant,
STARS includes additional Fi factors to account for oil saturation, Eq. B-1, into an equation for dxD/dtD and combines it with Eq.
surfactant concentration, capillary number, and other effects, which B-4, one obtains
do not concern us here. The function Fwater is from the 2006 version
fwu
of STARS. Eq. A-2 indicates that foam is weakened but not destroyed s = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-5)
for Sw < fmdry; see Zhou and Rossen (1995). Even at residual-water C
Swu + sau
saturation (Sw = Swr= 0.1), gas mobility is reduced by a factor of 82, a Cs
much smaller reduction than for full-strength foam but still significant.
This is an artifact of Eq. A-2 (Kloet et al. 2009); foam should collapse Similarly, the material balance on water, Eq. B-2, gives
as Sw Swr and Pc (Khatib et al. 1988). fwu fwd
For calculation of the effect of adsorption, we assume porosity w = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-6)
is 0.25 and grain density of the formation is 2500 kg/m3. Swu Swd
The chemical shock (i.e., the jump between the foam and gas/water
Appendix BDerivation of Fractional-Flow Shocks fractional-flow curves) must satisfy both conditions; therefore,
FCM Gasflood With Foam. We assume that surfactant is injected
only in the aqueous phase and has zero solubility in gas. We further fwu f u fwd
= wu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-7)
Swu + sau Sw Sw
assume no volume change on mixing and, for simplicity, that surfac- C d

tant occupies negligible volume in any phase. For the chemical shock Cs
(surfactant front), the material balance for surfactant is as follows:
This means that the chemical shock occurs along a line joining
input output = accumulation (Swu , fwu) and (Swd , fwd) and passing through (Csa/Csu, 0). We call this
latter point D. Here, with no solubility of surfactant in gas, Csu, the
( Auf u
w ) ( )
Csu 0 t = ASwuCsu + ACsa x . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-1) upstream surfactant concentration, is the surfactant concentration
injected in the aqueous phase, Csw. In the text, we define d as the
Here, A is cross-sectional area, u (not a superscript) is total superficial pore volumes of surfactant solution required to satisfy adsorption
velocity, and is porosity; superscript u represents conditions upstream for one pore volume of formation, which, for this case, is (Csa/Csw).

TABLE A -1PARAMETERS USED IN MODEL CALCULATIONS AND SIMULATIONS


Number of gridblocks 100, 400, or 1,000 1 1
Water viscosity 0.001 Pas
Oil viscosity 0.005 Pas
Gas viscosity 0.00002 Pas
Miscible displacement and surfactant flood*:
4.2
Water relative permeability 0.20 [(Sw0.1)/0.8]
1.3
Gas or oil relative permeability (without foam) 0.94 [(1Sw0.1)/0.8]
fmmob (reference mobility reduction factor) 55,000
fmdry (critical water saturation for foam collapse) 0.316
epdry (regulates the slope of krg curve near fmdry) 1,000
fmsurf (surfactant concentration for full-strength foam) injected concentration**
epsurf (regulates foam strength for surfactant
100**
concentrations below fmsurf)
* Except for oil/water flow with surfactant in the surfactant flood, for which fw = Sw.
** Except in Fig. 15.

272 June 2010 SPE Journal


If Sw = 1, it takes (1+d) pore volumes of surfactant solution to For the miscible shock, the material balance for water does not
satisfy adsorption and fill the pore space with surfactant solution. change, but one term must be added to the oil material balance,
If there is no adsorption, point D is at (0, 0). Eq. B-8, representing gasflood-residual-oil saturation:
Material balances on oil and water determine the miscible-
shock velocity. Given the assumption of complete miscibility of input output = accumulation
oil and gas and absence of dispersion, there is no oil upstream of
this jump. A material balance on oil gives ( ) (
0 1 fwu t D = SOM 1 Swu x D
)
input output = accumulation fw 1 f u fwd
o = = wu , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-12)
Sw (1 SOM ) Sw Swd
( ) (
0 1 fwd t D = 0 1 Swd x D
)
where we have used Eq. B-6 for the water material balance. Eq.
fw 1
o = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-8) B-12 says that the line representing the miscible shock must pass
Sw 1 through point [(1SOM), 1] instead of (1, 1) if oil and gas miscibil-
ity is not complete.
A material balance on water at the same jump again gives Eq. B-6. Walsh and Lake (1989) show how one also can incorporate
The two velocities must be equal, which gives solubility of gas in water.
1 fwd fwu fwd
= . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-9) Foam in an Idealized Surfactant Flood. We consider an idealized
1 Swd Swu Swd miscible displacement of oil by water. To be able to solve the prob-
lem using two-phase fractional-ow methods, gas velocity should
According to Eq. B-9, the miscible shock is defined by a line passing control the foam shock, and surfactant is present in the water on both
through the values of (Sw, fw) upstream of the jump (on the gas/water sides of the jump. Therefore, for the foam shock, besides the material
fractional-flow curve) and downstream of the jump (on the oil/water balance for the water, a material balance for gas is also required.
fractional-flow curve) and also passing through (1, 1). In the next
section, we show how one can find the fractional-flow solution for input output = accumulation
a case with residual oil left behind the miscible front.
(1 fw ) 0 t D = (1 Sw ) x D
Foam With Surfactant Dissolved in Gas. For this case, we con-
sider the following effects: fwu 1
= . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-13)
Surfactant soluble in gas (with value Csg) as well as in water Swu 1
(Csw); Csg is the injected-surfactant concentration in gas, and Csw is
the surfactant concentration in water in equilibrium with gas with
Consequently, the foam shock is a line connecting the upstream
surfactant concentration Csg
saturation point on the foam fractional-flow curve to the oil/water
Gasflood-residual-oil saturation (SOM) behind the miscible shock
fractional-flow curve with surfactant, passing through (1, 1). In
Surfactant partitioning into this gasflood-residual-oil satura-
the solution shown in Figs. 10 and 11, the point on the oil/water
tion at concentration Cso
fractional-flow curve is (1, 1).
Surfactant adsorption on the rock, with value (Csa) in units of
The next shock, to the oil/water fractional-flow curve, is deter-
amount of surfactant adsorbed on rock per unit volume of pore space
mined by material balances on surfactant and water.
In this example, the chemical shock (surfactant front) can be
determined by material balances on water (the same as Eq. B-6)
input output = accumulation
and for surfactant. There is no surfactant downstream of the jump,
but upstream there is surfactant in water, gas, and residual-oil (Csw fw 0 ) t D = (Csw Sw + Csa ) x D
phases, and adsorbed on rock. This material balance is
fw
input output = accumulation = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-14)
C
Sw + sa
{ f C + (1 f )C 0} t
w
u
sw w
u
sg D
Csw

( w
)
= SwuCsw + 1 S u SOM Csg + SOM Cso + Csa x D

Combining Eq. B-14 with Eq. B-6 indicates that the miscible shock
C
occurs along a line through sa , 0 .
Csg Csw
fwu +
Csw Csg
s = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-10)
Swu +
(1 S )
OM Csg + SOM Cso + Csa
Elham Ashoori has been a PhD researcher at Delft University
of Technology since 2008. She holds BS and MS degrees in
Csw Csg chemical engineering from Sharif University of Technology.
Ashooris research interests include foams for EOR and method
The jump must satisfy both Eqs. B-6 and B-10; therefore, of characteristics. She has been an SPE member since 2008.
Thom van der Heijden is working as a reservoir engineer for
Csg Statoil in Bergen, Norway, where he works on the application
fwu + of (gas-based) IOR methods such as WAG and foam injection.
Csw Csg f u fwd
= wu . . . . . . . . . . (B-11) He holds an MS degree in petroleum engineering from Delft
Swu +
(1 SOM )Csg + SOM Cso + Csa Sw Swd University of Technology and has been an SPE member since
Csw Csg 2004. William R. Rossen is professor of reservoir engineering at
Delft University of Technology. From 1989 to 2006, he was on the
faculty of The University of Texas at Austin. He holds BS and PhD
The chemical shock is a line from a point representing the conditions degrees in chemical engineering from MIT and the University
upstream of the jump (on the foam fractional-flow curve) and down- of Minnesota, respectively. His research interests include foams
stream of the shock (on the gas/water fractional-flow curve) through for well simulation and EOR, sweep efficiency in gas EOR, and
modeling complex displacement and flow processes in porous
(1 SOM ) Csg + SOM Cso + Csa Csg media. In 2002, he received the Distinguished Achievement
, . Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty from SPE. He is a
Csw Csg Csw Csg Distinguished Member of SPE.

June 2010 SPE Journal 273