Flow visualization of fingering phenomenon and its impact on waterflood oil recovery

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    10 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Oil recovery prediction and field pilot implementations require basic understanding and estimation of displacement efficiency at the microscopic level. Glass micromodels are commonly used to determine microscopic sweep efficiency and to visualize the flow behavior. In this paper, we investigate the fingering phenomena during immiscible displacements as well as the relationship between capillary number, oil recovery, and wave characteristics of developed fingers. An etched glass micromodel with three layers of large permeability contrasts was used in this work. The fluids used include a filtered deionized water and two field oil samples. Waterflood recovery to residual oil saturation was measured through image tool analysis techniques. The results showed that the low-permeability layer resulted in higher displacement efficiency compared to the medium- and high-permeability layers. At the microscopic level, fingering phenomena are attributed for the latter finding. An early occurrence and growth of multiple fingers were observed for high-permeable layers, whereas finger growth was delayed in layers with low permeability. Peter and Flock equation was used to draw a relation between oil recovery and finger characteristics, where the increase in capillary numbers leads to a decrease in both instability scaling index and incremental oil recovery. Moreover, the limitations of Peter and Flock equation were also highlighted for strongly water-wet systems. This paper helps field operators to gain more insight into microheterogeneity and fingering phenomena and their impact on waterflood recovery estimation.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)217-228
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
    Volume8
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018

    Keywords

    • Conformance control
    • Fingering phenomena
    • Glass micromodels
    • Micro-heterogeneity
    • Waterflood recovery

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