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SPE-191205-MS

A New Kind of EOR for Trinidad

Eric Delamaide, IFP Technologies Canada Inc. and the EOR Alliance

Copyright 2018, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Trinidad and Tobago Section Energy Resources Conference held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 25-26
June 2018.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents
of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect
any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written
consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may
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Abstract
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) has been utilized in Trinidad and Tobago for over 50 years. Most projects
so far have focused on thermal as well as gas injection along with the more conventional waterfloods. In
spite of that, recovery factors are still relatively low and the country's oil production has been declining for
some time. Surprisingly, given the progress in chemical EOR and in particular polymer flooding in the last
10 years, these processes have not been used in Trinidad and we suggest that it might be time to consider
their application. Similarly, foam has been used extensively worldwide to improve performances of gas and
steam injection but has not yet been used in the country.
The situation of EOR in Trinidad will be first reviewed along with the characteristics of the main
reservoirs. Then the potential for the application of chemical-based EOR methods such as polymer,
surfactant and foams will be studied by comparing the characteristics of Trinidad's reservoirs to others
worldwide which have seen the applications of chemical-based EOR methods.
This review and screening suggests that there is no technical barrier to the application of all these EOR
methods in Trinidad. Most reservoirs produce heavy oil and are heavily faulted, but polymer injection has
been widely applied in heavy oil reservoirs as well as in faulted reservoirs before, and suitable examples
will be provided in the paper. Similarly, these characteristics do not present any specific difficulty for foam-
enhanced gas or steam injection. The main issue appears to be the identification of suitable water sources
for the projects.
This paper proposes a new look at EOR opportunities in Trinidad using conventional methods which
have not been used in the country. This will help reservoir engineers who are considering such applications
in the country and hopefully will eventually result in an increase in the oil production in the future.

Introduction
The petroleum industry in Trinidad and Tobago1 is over a hundred years old, as evidenced by one of the first
papers on the topic, presented in 1920 and republished in 1921 (Macready, 1921); Ramkhalawan and co-
workers suggest that the first commercial oil production in the country started in 1901 (Ramkhalawan, Khan,
& Bainey, 1995). Not surprisingly after such a long production history, many of the old oil fields are depleted
and have required some kind of Improved/Enhanced Oil Recovery scheme to increase production and
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recovery. As a result, many EOR schemes have already been implemented in the country (Sinanan, Evans, &
Budri, 2016). However, EOR applications have so far focused mostly on steam injection, gas injection and
water injection. These methods are all recognized but mostly suffer from the same limitation: their efficiency
is limited by an unfavorable mobility ratio due to the viscous nature of the crude oil produced in Trinidad.
As a result, each of these processes could benefit significantly from methods that target improvements in the
mobility ratio: polymer injection for water, gas foam for gas injection and steam foam for steam injection.
These processes have long been known and applied successfully in the industry (Delamaide, 2014), (Enick,
Olsen, Ammer, & Schuller, 2012), (Delamaide, Cuenca, & Chabert, 2016). The aim of this paper is to
establish whether these processes could be applied successfully in Trinidad and how they could contribute
to increasing the country's oil production and reserves.
The paper is organized as follows: we will first review the EOR situation in Trinidad; then we will try
to establish the main characteristics of the Trinidad oil fields. In a third section we will briefly describe
the potential processes that could be used to improve the mobility ratios for water, gas and steam injection
respectively and some of their applications in field cases. We will then evaluate their applicability in Trinidad
and finish with a discussion and some conclusions.

IOR/EOR situation in Trinidad


An excellent review of the IOR/EOR situation in Trinidad was presented recently by Sinanan and co-workers
(Sinanan, Evans, & Budri, 2016) and we will rely largely on their work in this section.
Figure 1 shows a summary of the IOR/EOR projects conducted in Trinidad since the 1940s (Sinanan,
Evans, & Budri, 2016). As can be seen from the figure, initially most projects involved gas and water
injection. During the late 1960s, produced gas re-injection was the most employed IOR process but once
internal gas demand began to increase in the country, gas became a precious commodity and by the end of
the 1970s gas injection had stopped altogether.

Figure 1—Summary of IOR/EOR recovery projects in Trinidad & Tobago (reproduced from (Sinanan, Evans, & Budri, 2016))
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On the contrary, water injection has remained in steady use over the years since the first project in 1953;
however, many of these projects eventually became uneconomic due to high water-cut among other factors
and had to be abandoned (Sinanan, Evans, & Budri, 2016). Clearly, these projects would have benefited
from some form of conformance control/mobility control method such as polymer or ASP injection.
Steam injection also started very early in the country, with the first project starting in 1962 (Sinanan,
Evans, & Budri, 2016); others followed shortly thereafter (Khan & Parag, 1992). Although steam injection
volumes peaked during the 1980s, several steam injection projects are still ongoing. It is relatively difficult
to get a good understanding of the efficiency of the various steam injection projects due to a lack of published
data. A review of 10 projects published in 1995 (Ramkhalawan, Khan, & Bainey, 1995) shows cumulative
steam-oil ratios (cSOR) between 1.0 to 5.2, with an average of 3.3; these are mostly good numbers. On
the other hand, Ramial (Ramial, 2004) suggested that in the Cruse ‘E’ steam flood several patterns were
suffering from poor areal sweep efficiency and poor vertical conformance.
CO2 injection started in 1973 and has been ongoing since then but the number of projects has been
relatively small and the results modest (Sinanan, Evans, & Budri, 2016), (Mohammed-Singh & Singhal,
2005). As usual for CO2 injection, one of the main limitations is the need for a reliable CO2 source in relative
proximity of the project area. Due to low reservoir pressure, injection has taken place under immiscible
conditions, a less-than optimum process. However, the injection has been conducted in a gravity-stable mode
thanks to the formation dip, which has made the projects more efficient even if significant channeling of
injection gas caused by excessive injection rates have been observed (Mohammed-Singh & Singhal, 2005).
Other methods such as polymer injection and in-situ combustion have also been piloted in the country,
but efforts in that regard have been limited (Sinanan, Evans, & Budri, 2016).
In conclusion EOR efforts in Trinidad have been exclusively focused on a few methods while largely
ignoring other possibilities. It remains to be seen whether other EOR methods could be applied in the
country, a question on which we will focus in the rest of the paper.

Main characteristics of the oilfields in Trinidad


The main characteristics of the oilfields in Trinidad have been gathered from various publications which
will be referenced accordingly.
Figure 2 presents a map of the oil producing areas in Trinidad (Petroleum Economist, 2017), focused on
the onshore portion, which is the primary target for IOR/EOR. As can be seen from the figure, most of the
onshore oil fields are located in the southern portion of the island.
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Figure 2—Energy map of Trinidad and Tobago, centered on the onshore area (modified from (Petroleum Economist, 2017))

Geology
Trinidad geology is complex (Hosein, Bertrand, & Dawe, 2011) and we will only present a short description
of the relevant elements here.
The main onshore reservoirs are located in the Southern Basin and are from the Late Tertiary (Miocene/
Pliocene): the Lower Cruse, Cruse, Forest and Morne l'Enfer formations (Figure 3).
SPE-191205-MS 5

Figure 3—Trinidad stratigraphy (reproduced from (Hosein, Bertrand, & Dawe, 2011))

As explained by Hosein and co-workers (Hosein, Bertrand, & Dawe, 2011), the reservoirs are mainly
composed of highly faulted anticlines resulting from strong tectonic activity during the Miocene/Pliocene.
A network of faults (both thrust and normal) break the reservoirs into separate accumulations as illustrated
in Figure 4. This heavy faulting is one of the main components of the Trinidad geology that could have a
significant impact on the EOR potential and will be addressed below.

Figure 4—Example of heavily faulted reservoir (reproduced from (Simpson, 1976))


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Reservoir properties of the main onshore fields in Trinidad


Table 1 presents the properties of some of the main oil fields, gathered from various papers (Wattley, 1976),
(Ramkissoon, 1977), (Khan, Lewis, & Maharajh, 1994), (Ramkhalawan, Khan, & Bainey, 1995), (Ramial
& Lewis, 1996), (Ramial, 2004), (Mohammed-Singh & Singhal, 2005), (Jupiter, 2010).

Table 1—Properties of the main onshore oil fields

As can be seen from the table, the reservoirs are usually rather shallow and fairly thick, with low reservoir
temperatures. Porosities are good, but permeability is not very high; however, the similarities between the
average permeability numbers suggest that core material may not be available in large quantity, so these
permeability data should be taken with caution. Oil viscosity is variable with some light crudes and a
majority of more viscous crudes. In addition, as discussed in the geology section, the reservoirs are heavily
faulted. These parameters will next be used to identify what other EOR methods could be applied in Trinidad.

Identification of new EOR methods that could be applied in Trinidad


Review of new EOR methods
In this section we will focus on field-proven EOR methods that have not yet been applied in Trinidad.
Field experience in Trinidad has already confirmed the suitability of reservoirs for steam and CO2
injection; thus, we will focus on 4 methods: polymer, Alkali-Surfactant-Polymer (ASP), gas foam and steam
foam.
Polymer flooding. Polymer injection is an enhanced oil recovery method which aims at improving the
mobility ratio between the water and the oil (by increasing the viscosity of the injected water) and improving
the volumetric sweep efficiency (Green & Willhite, 1998). Polymer injection has been used extensively in
light oil - the best example being the Daqing field in China (Delamaide, Corlay, & Wang, 1994), (Chang, et
al., 2006) which has an oil viscosity of 9.5 cp. Polymer flooding has also been applied successfully in more
viscous oils up to several thousand cp (Delamaide, 2014): this is the most interesting potential application
in Trinidad in view of the large accumulations of heavy oil in the country.
Table 2 presents a summary of some of the most relevant polymer flood projects in heavy oil.
SPE-191205-MS 7

Table 2—Polymer flood projects in heavy oil (modified from (Delamaide, 2017))

The Pelican Lake polymer flood in Canada was the precursor of these developments (Delamaide, Zaitoun,
Renard, & Tabary, 2014) and contains some of the highest viscosity oil under polymer flood (Delamaide,
2018); Figure 5 shows the example of a response in a horizontal well under secondary polymer flood in the
field (oil viscosity in that area is 1,500 cp). As can be seen from the figure, the well responded to polymer
injection by increasing its oil rate from 10 bopd to over 300 bopd. After more than 10 years of injection
the well is still producing over 200 bopd. Following these results polymer injection has been expanded to
other parts of the field and there are now over 600 wells injecting polymer (Canadian Natural Resources
Ltd., 2016), (Cenovus Energy, 2017). As a result of the injection, incremental recovery is expected to reach
over 30% OOIP in some patterns, compared to 5-10% with primary production.

Figure 5—Example of secondary polymer flood response in a


horizontal well in Pelican Lake (reproduced from (Delamaide, 2016))

All the wells in Pelican Lake are horizontal so it may not be the most relevant example for Trinidad. The
Cactus Lake field (again in Canada) on the other hand is a polymer flood which uses mostly vertical and
deviated wells. Very little has been published on the field but Figure 6 shows a map of the development and
Figure 7 shows a comparison of the performances of primary production, waterflood and polymer flood
in the field.
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Figure 6—Map of the Cactus Lake polymer flood in Canada, color coded with the dates corresponding to the beginning
of polymer injection (reproduced from (Northern Blizzard, 2016)). For scale, each square represents 1 mile × 1 mile.

Figure 7—Comparison of primary production, waterflood and polymer flood


performances in Cactus Lake, Canada (reproduced from (Northern Blizzard, 2016))

In the Tambaredjo heavy oil field in Suriname, a polymer flood pilot with vertical wells has been ongoing
since 2008 and has given good results; Figure 8 shows the response to polymer injection in one of the wells
in the pilot (Delamaide, Moe Soe Let, Bhoendie, Jong-A-Pin, & Paidin, 2016).
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Figure 8—Response of a well in the Tambaredjo polymer pilot in Suriname (reproduced from
(Delamaide, Moe Soe Let, Bhoendie, Jong-A-Pin, & Paidin, 2016)). The oil rate is the green curve.

As shown in the figure, the oil rate in that well increased from 2-4 bopd to almost 27 bopd and remained
over its baseline for several years thereafter. Incremental recovery was expected to exceed 11.3% OOIP
(Delamaide, Moe Soe Let, Bhoendie, Paidin, & Jong-A-Pin, 2016).
Polymer flooding has also been applied in heavily faulted reservoirs; an example of such an application
is the Edesse-Nord field in Germany where polymer was injected in 2 wells (Kleinitz & Littmann, 1995).
Figure 9 below shows the structural map of the pilot area, illustrating the heavy faulting. The pilot was
successful with an incremental recovery of 5-7% OOIP.

Figure 9—Structural map of the Edesse-Nord polymer pilot area (modified from (Kleinitz & Littmann, 1995))

These few examples have shown the potential of polymer injection in various oil fields, based on actual
field results. We will evaluate its potential applicability in Trinidad later in the paper.
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Alkali-Surfactant-Polymer (ASP) flooding. ASP has long been considered the only viable chemical EOR
method to reduce the oil saturation below its residual value. ASP covers two different processes: surfactant
allows to reduce the interfacial tension between water and oil, thereby reducing the residual oil saturation,
while alkali has the advantage of reducing surfactant adsorption and also - especially with heavy oil - of
combining with acid components from the oil to generate surfactants in-situ.
Many successful projects have been conducted in low viscosity oil reservoirs in particular in China (Guo,
Li, Kong, Li, & Wang, 2017) but also in India (Pandey, Koduru, Stanley, Pope, & Weerasooriya, 2016).
On the other hand, although several authors have worked on developing ASP or SP solutions for heavy oil
reservoirs (Kumar & Mohanty, 2010), (Zhang, Ravikiran, Freiberg, & Thomas, 2012), (Hocine, Magnan,
Degre, Rousseau, & Rousseau, 2014), (Rodriguez, et al., 2016) there are few field applications so far, mostly
in Canada.
McInnis (McInnis, Hunter, Ellis-Toddington, & Grawbarger, 2013) and Delamaide (Delamaide, Bazin,
Rousseau, & Degre, 2014) and their co-workers discussed the Taber ASP project which was successful in
a 19 API gravity oil (oil viscosity was 120 cp). Figure 10 shows the response to ASP injection in the field
which uses vertical injectors and producers: a clear increase in oil production from 250 bopd to over 1,300
bopd together with a reduction in water-cut.

Figure 10—Response to ASP injection in the Taber field (reproduced from (Delamaide, Bazin, Rousseau, & Degre, 2014))

Watson (Watson, Trahan, & Sorensen, 2014), Delamaide (Delamaide, Bazin, Rousseau, & Degre, 2014),
(Delamaide, 2017) and their co-workers discussed the Mooney ASP flood in Canada, which produces a 17
API oil with a viscosity of 300-600 cp. ASP injection started in 2011 and the response can be seen in Figure
11. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine what part of the response is due to the fluid injection, to the
polymer or to the alkali-surfactant respectively, although the increase in fluid rate that occurred at the same
time as the oil response suggests that it is in a large part due to the pressure effect. There was no obvious
reduction in water-cut which would be expected if an oil bank had been generated by the chemicals.
SPE-191205-MS 11

Figure 11—Response to ASP injection in the Mooney field (reproduced from (Delamaide, 2017))

In conclusion, ASP may have some good potential in Trinidad, but the technology is not as mature as
polymer flood.
Steam foam. Steam injection is the most commonly used and the most efficient EOR process to recover
heavy oil; however, it can suffer greatly from viscous fingering, gravity override and the presence of thief
zones. This can result in premature breakthrough of the steam in the production wells and loss of efficiency
in the form of an increase in Steam Oil Ratio. In order to prevent or reduce these effects, steam foam has
long been considered for mobility control and used in the field. The principle of steam foam is rather simple:
as described for instance by Hirasaki (Hirasaki, 1989), foam reduces the mobility of steam and improves
sweep efficiency. In addition, the higher the permeability the higher the mobility reduction which improves
the overall efficiency of the process.
Delamaide and co-workers (Delamaide, Cuenca, & Chabert, 2016) recently presented a review of steam
foam and its field applications. Over 30 mostly successful field tests have been published both for cyclic
steam injection and steam flood. Table 3 presents a summary of the main steam foam field tests for steam
flood, from the cited paper.
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Table 3—Summary of steam flood foam field tests (modified from (Delamaide, Cuenca, & Chabert, 2016))

The Winkleman Dome Nugget field located in Wyoming is a good example with features similar to
some of the Trinidad oil fields: permeability, depth, thickness. It was producing from a formation located
approximately at a depth of 1,230 ft. The field had been producing a 14 API crude with a viscosity of 800
to 1,100 cp using steam drive; however, the flood suffered from early steam breakthrough and channeling
due to high permeability channels or fractures.
A steam foam pilot was conducted (Yannimaras & Kobbe, 1988) in 2 inverted 5-spot patterns; the first
pattern responded favorably with reductions in wellhead temperatures in some wells and a general increase
in oil rate. In total 15,000 incremental bbl of oil were produced. The second pattern did not respond much
to injection. Figure 12 shows the oil production response in one of the producers in the pilot.
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Figure 12—Well response to steam foam injection in Winkleman Dome Nugget pilot (reproduced
from (Yannimaras & Kobbe, 1988)). The white arrow corresponds to the beginning of foam injection.

Figure 13 shows the increase in oil production in another pilot, in the South Belridge field in California
(Djabbarah, et al., 1990). The reservoir is probably more permeable than reservoirs in Trinidad.

Figure 13—Response to foam injection during the South Belridge


steam foam field pilot (reproduced from (Djabbarah, et al., 1990))

There are many examples of improvement in the vertical injection profile using steam foam; such an
example from the Dome-Tumbador field is showed in Figure 14 (Mohammadi & Tenzer, 1990).
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Figure 14—Improvement in injection profile due to foam during the Dome-


Tumbador field pilot (reproduced from (Mohammadi & Tenzer, 1990))

Gas foams. Similarly to the use of foam to improve the performances of steam floods, foam can also be
used in gas injection projects. The idea dates back from the 1950s (Dellinger, Patton, & Holbrook, 1984)
and the first test took place in the Siggins field in Illinois in 1955 (Holm, 1970). Since then, several other
field tests have taken place and the successful ones are summarized in Table 4. As can be seen from the
table, foam can be used with any kind of gas.

Table 4—Summary of successful gas foam field tests

Chabert and co-workers (Chabert, et al., 2016) described a recent CO2 foam field test in the USA; oil
gravity was 22°API, slightly higher than in Trinidad; on the other hand, the sandstone reservoir temperature
was 151°F and average permeability was 300 md, fairly similar to Trinidad reservoirs. In addition, the test
took place in a fault block which, as discussed above, is the case for many reservoirs in Trinidad (see Figure
15 for a map of the pilot pattern). During the pilot 3 slugs of foaming solution alternating with gas were
injected; as can be seen in Figure 16, GOR and CO2 injection were clearly reduced during the foam treatment
SPE-191205-MS 15

and the injection profile was modified considerably (Figure 17), confirming that the foam had successfully
diverted gas from the most permeable to less permeable reservoir intervals.

Figure 15—Pattern map for US Gulf Coast gas foam field test (reproduced from (Chabert, et al., 2016))

Figure 16—Injection and production data for the Gulf Coast foam pilot test (reproduced from (Chabert, et al., 2016))
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Figure 17—Injection profile before and after the foam injection test (reproduced from (Chabert, et al., 2016))

Applicability of selected methods to Trinidad onshore oil reservoirs: EOR


pre-screening
The first step in the application of an EOR method is the pre-screening of a given field to assess its suitability;
it consists in a review of basic reservoir properties to select the EOR methods that could be applicable.
This phase is based on simple screening criteria derived from laboratory and field experience. Several
standard screening guidelines exist, the most used being the work of Taber and co-workers (Taber, Martin,
& Seright, 1997). The main issue with their work is its age: technology has progressed since it was published
- remember the times when shale was a cap-rock instead of a reservoir? In particular, Taber's work was
published before the development of polymer flooding for viscous oil and new screening criteria have been
developed since then for heavy oil (Delamaide, 2014), (Delamaide, 2017).

Polymer flooding and ASP


In this section we will review the potential application of polymer injection and/or ASP to the oil fields in
Trinidad by focusing on the key technical challenges in view of the reservoir properties from Table 1, as
well as other "softer" factors.
Oil viscosity. The high oil viscosity of many reservoirs in Trinidad may be one of the reasons why polymer
has not been applied extensively in the country. Indeed, up to the last ten years, it was considered that
polymer injection was limited to low to medium oil viscosity as demonstrated by the screening criteria of
Taber and co-workers (Taber, Martin, & Seright, 1997). However, it is important to realize that - as discussed
earlier - this is no longer the case, and polymer flooding in viscous oil has now become fairly routine with
several very large-scale deployments (Table 2) even with an oil viscosity of several thousands of cp.
The limits of viscosity for ASP injection is less clear; in the laboratory, good results can be obtained
even with high viscosity oil (Hocine, Magnan, Degre, Rousseau, & Rousseau, 2014), (Rodriguez, et al.,
2016). However, field tests have so far targeted lower oil viscosities such as in Taber, Suffield and Mooney
in Canada where the oil viscosity is below well 1,000 cp (Delamaide, Bazin, Rousseau, & Degre, 2014),
(Watson, Trahan, & Sorensen, 2014). This range of viscosity appears adequate for many reservoirs in
Trinidad.
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In conclusion, the oil viscosity in Trinidad is well within the range of existing projects (except maybe for
the extreme values) and not a barrier to the implementation of polymer or ASP injection.
Permeability. Available permeability data (Table 1) shows that permeability is in a medium range; this is
not a problem in itself and well within accepted screening criteria; however, this may prove an issue when
combined with high viscosity oil. Delamaide (Delamaide, 2017) and Sabooryian-Jooybari and co-workers
(Saboorian-Jooybari, Dejam, & Chen, 2015) suggest that the key parameter in such a case is the oil mobility
and suggest a cut-off of 0.2-0.3 md/cp. If we consider an average permeability of 200 md for Trinidad
reservoirs, the corresponding limit oil viscosity is 1,000 cp. As a result, this may be a limiting point for the
injection of polymer for the most viscous oils, although there is not a large field experience on this topic.
Heavy faulting. Any displacement process relies on some connectivity between injection and production
wells to function and in this regard heavily faulted reservoirs can be problematic. However, we note that
several successful waterfloods and steam floods have been implemented in reservoirs in Trinidad which
suggests that connectivity is sufficient for displacements to be effective. In addition, as noted above,
successful polymer floods have been conducted in faulted reservoirs in the past, for instance in German
fields (Maitin, 1992), (Kleinitz & Littmann, 1995). As a result, even though faulting should obviously be
considered for the planning of a polymer flood (indeed for any displacement process), it is not considered
a killing factor. The conclusions are similar for ASP flooding.
Water sources/water quality. Water quality is quite important for polymer injection because polymer is
sensitive to salinity and divalent cations content (Levitt, Pope, & Jouenne, 2011), (Gaillard, et al., 2014),
(Divers, Gaillard, Bataille, Thomas, & Favero, 2017). Unfortunately, this information is not readily available
from the literature devoted to Trinidad and will have to be obtained directly from operators. However,
except in special cases (such as extremely high salinity), water quality is usually not a killing factor for
polymer injection, although suitable polymers will have to be identified in the laboratory for each field. In
addition, many steam injection projects have been conducted and are still in progress, which suggests that
adequate fresh water sources are available or that water treatment plants are already in place. As discussed by
Delamaide (Delamaide, 2017), polymer injection does not require as high a water quality as steam injection.
Water quality is also or prime importance for ASP flooding; in particular, the use of alkali will not be
possible if the reservoir or injection water is hard. In addition, surfactant adsorption will be higher with hard
water. However, surfactant formulations can be developed for a wide range of salinities and water hardness
(Tabary, et al., 2012), (Delbos, Tabary, Chevallier, & Moreau, 2014). In addition, specific adsorption-
reducing chemicals have also been developed (Tay, et al., 2015). In conclusion, water is not expected to be
a major issue in Trinidad even if water sources will have to be carefully evaluated for each project.
Formation thickness. Reservoirs in Trinidad are fairly thick; although most polymer floods have been
implemented in thinner pay, some projects have targeted thicker pay such as in Bohai Bay in China. There
the polymer flood target is a thick reservoir (180 ft), (Han, Xiang, Zhang, Jiang, & Sun, 2006). In India the
Mangala polymer flood has also been implemented in a very thick formation (Pandey, et al., 2012). As a
result, we do not consider the thickness of the reservoirs a major issue for a polymer flood.
Vertical wells. Horizontal drilling is not widely used onshore in Trinidad and most fields have been
developed with vertical wells. This, combined with the relatively low permeability of the local reservoirs,
raises some issues for injectivity. However, as showed in Table 2, several polymer floods that use vertical
wells are currently in progress, such as the Cactus Lake polymer flood described above. In most cases
however, the permeability is higher than in Trinidad reservoirs so this point will have to be better assessed.
This is also the conclusions for ASP floods; for instance, the Taber flood in Canada used vertical wells
(McInnis, Hunter, Ellis-Toddington, & Grawbarger, 2013) but average permeability was 1,500 md.
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Oil saturation and residual oil saturation. Polymer injection targets mobile oil (as opposed to residual oil
i.e. oil trapped in the reservoir by capillary mechanisms); as a result, it is not recommended for reservoirs
with already high recovery factor where very little mobile oil remains (Delamaide, 2014). On the contrary,
ASP or SP target the residual oil and can be applied when polymer alone would not be effective. At the
moment, we have not seen any relative permeability data for reservoirs in Trinidad, and recovery factors are
also not very well known from our literature review. As a result, it is difficult to determine whether polymer
or ASP/SP would be the recovery process of choice - this will have to be determined on a case by case basis.
Conclusion. There appears to be no major obstacle to the use of polymer and/or ASP flood in Trinidad, even
if some particular factors such as reservoir permeability and water composition will have to be reviewed
on a case by case basis.

Steam foam
Table 5 presents a comparison between the main reservoir and fluid characteristics for steam foam field
tests worldwide (from (Delamaide, Cuenca, & Chabert, 2016)) and for Trinidad reservoirs.

Table 5—Comparison of reservoir and fluid characteristics for steam foam field
tests worldwide (from (Delamaide, Cuenca, & Chabert, 2016)) and Trinidad reservoir

As can be seen from the table, the characteristics of the fields are slightly different but not incompatible.
Probably the greatest disconnect is the permeability, which in Trinidad is on the low side compared to what
has been done in general. Although the lower range of permeability is probably too low for stem foam, as
mentioned above the permeability data for Trinidad is not very solid so far so that will have to be verified
on a field by field basis.
Another less apparent issue is steam temperature, which is related to reservoir pressure. In general,
maximum steam temperature for steam foam is 250°C although new products are being developed for up
to 300°C (Delamaide, Cuenca, & Chabert, 2016), which corresponds to a pressure of 1,250 psi. As fields
in Trinidad are rather depleted we do not expect such high pressures to be an issue but this would have
to be checked.

Gas foam
Table 6 presents a comparison of the most relevant reservoir and fluid characteristics for the application
of gas foam. The main difference between published field tests and the situation in Trinidad is that in
Trinidad CO2 injection has been performed under immiscible conditions while most CO2 injection projects
are performed under miscible conditions (Jarrell, Fox, Stein, & Webb, 2002).
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Table 6—Comparison of reservoir and fluid characteristics for gas foam field tests worldwide and Trinidad reservoirs

However, at least one successful foam pilot for immiscible CO2 injection is reported in the literature for
the heavy oil (13-14 API, 30-80 cp) Wilmington field in California (Holm & Garrisson, 1988). Reservoir
temperature was 130°F, permeability 100 to 1,000 md and thickness 115 ft. As described by Holm and his
co-author, foam was successfully generated during 8 WAG cycles and resulted in the diversion of injected
gas to a less permeable interval. Unfortunately for the project, the foam bank was destroyed by premature
water injection (Holm & Garrisson, 1988).
Nevertheless, it remains that there is no obvious issue for the use of foam to improve gas injection in
Trinidad.

Discussion
Given the characteristics of Trinidad reservoirs, it appears that polymer injection is a process which could
have a significant potential for application in Trinidad. It is a robust, well-proven process with many large-
scale field expansions. Although there are still some uncertainties such as for the reservoir permeability and
water sources, we have not identified any factor that would preclude the application of polymer injection
in Trinidad. The main uncertainty lies with the recovery factor and residual oil saturation in the fields.
Polymer would be a good option for fields where recovery is low and sufficient i.e. (over 20-30%) mobile
oil saturation remains. On the other hand, ASP/SP would be the process of choice for reservoirs with high
recovery factors and low mobile oil saturations. Based on field experience in other countries, incremental
recovery of 10-20% OOIP could potentially be achieved with either of these processes.
Steam and gas foam could also be used as follow-up and improvements for steam injection (cyclic or
steam flood) or gas injection respectively. Although the potential is not as large as for polymer injection
and ASP/SP, these two processes could also increase recovery factors.

Conclusions
The conclusions of our work are the following:
Trinidad is an old oil-producing country and some EOR methods (mostly steam injection and immiscible
gas injection) have been applied successfully. However, there is still a large potential to improve recovery
and production.
Oil fields in Trinidad are characterized by low to moderate reservoir temperature, low to medium
permeability, thick reservoir intervals and medium to high oil viscosity. They are also heavily faulted and
have been developed with vertical wells.
We have presented field cases for polymer injection, steam foam and gas foam for fields around the world
that exhibit characteristics similar to these of reservoirs in Trinidad.
Based on our review, polymer injection and/or ASP/SP would be the obvious method of choice to apply
in Trinidad oil fields, with a potential for increasing reserves and production; steam foam and gas foam also
have potential but only as improvements over steam or gas injection.
20 SPE-191205-MS

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