Visualisation of residual oil recovery by near-miscible gas and SWAG injection using high-pressure micromodels

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    Abstract

    We present results of high-pressure micromodel visualizations of pore-scale fluid distribution and displacement mechanisms during the recovery of residual oil by near-miscible hydrocarbon gas and SWAG (simultaneous water and gas) injection under conditions of very low gas - oil IFT (interfacial tension), negligible gravity forces and water-wet porous medium. We demonstrate that a significant amount of residual oil left behind after waterflooding can be recovered by both near-miscible gas and SWAG injection. In particular, we show that in both processes, the recovery of the contacted residual oil continues behind the main gas front and ultimately all of the oil that can be contacted by the gas will be recovered. This oil is recovered by a microscopic mechanism, which is strongly linked to the low IFT between the oil and gas and to the perfect spreading of the oil over water, both of which occur as the critical point of the gas - oil system is approached. Ultimate oil recovery by near-miscible SWAG injection was as high as near-miscible gas injection with SWAG injection using much less gas compared to gas injection. Comparison of the results of SWAG experiments with two different gas fractional flow values (SWAG ratio) of 0.5 and 0.2 shows that fractional flow of the near-miscible gas injected simultaneously with water is not a crucial factor for ultimate oil recovery. This makes SWAG injection an attractive IOR (improved oil recovery) process especially for reservoirs, where continuous and high-rate gas injection is not possible (e.g. due to supply constraint). © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)239-257
    Number of pages19
    JournalTransport in Porous Media
    Volume74
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

    Keywords

    • Gas injection
    • Micromodel
    • Near-miscible
    • Pore-scale mechanisms
    • SWAG injection

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