Discerning in-situ performance of an EOR agent in the midst of geological uncertainty I: Layer cake reservoir model

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Abstract

An enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) pilot test has multiple goals, among them to demonstrate oil recovery, verify the properties of the EOR agent in-situ, and provide the information needed for scale-up to an economic process. Given the complexity of EOR processes and the inherent uncertainty in the reservoir description, it is a challenge to discern the properties of the EOR agent in-situ in the midst of geological uncertainty. We propose a general workflow and present a case study to illustrate this challenge: a polymer EOR process in a 2D layer-cake reservoir. The polymer is designed to have a viscosity of 60 cp in-situ. There is uncertainty in the reservoir description, represented here by a range of values of Dykstra Parsons coefficient and different spatial arrangements of layers. We allow that the polymer process might fail in-situ and viscosity could be 20% of that intended. We test whether the signals of this difference at injection and production wells would be statistically significant in the midst of the geological uncertainty. Specifically, we compare the deviation caused by loss of polymer viscosity to the scatter caused by the geological uncertainty using the statistical 95% confidence interval. Among the signals considered, the ‘rate of rise in injection pressure with polymer injection’ and ‘maximum injection pressure in the injector’ give the most reliable indications of whether a polymer viscosity was maintained in-situ. If unintended and uncontrolled fracturing of the injection well is considered likely during polymer injection, however, injection pressure may be an unreliable indicator of in-situ polymer viscosity. In that case a diagnostic fracture-injection/falloff test could produce the needed indication of polymer viscosity in-situ. ‘Polymer breakthrough time’ and ‘cumulative oil production at the end of process’ give indications of polymer in-situ loss in some of the cases. With a more severe viscosity loss, e.g. 90% or worse, these signals give a statistically significant indication of loss of polymer viscosity in all of the cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-65
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Volume158
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Chemical flood
  • EOR performance uncertainty
  • Geological uncertainty
  • Reservoir simulation
  • Uncertainty analysis

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