Modeling of Liquid Injectivity in Surfactant-Alternating-Gas Foam Enhanced Oil Recovery

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Surfactant alternating gas (SAG) is often the injection strategy used for injecting foam into a reservoir. However, liquid injectivity can be very poor in SAG, and fracturing of the well can occur. Coreflood studies of liquid injectivity directly following foam injection have been reported. We conducted a series of coreflood experiments to study liquid injectivity under conditions more like those near an injection well in a SAG process in the field (i.e., after a period of gas injection). Our previous experimental results suggest that the injectivity in a SAG process is determined by propagation of several banks. However, there is no consistent approach to modeling liquid injectivity in a SAG process. The Peaceman equation is used in most conventional foam simulators for estimating the wellbore pressure and injectivity.

In this paper, we propose a modeling approach for gas and liquid injectivity in a SAG process on the basis of our experimental findings. The model represents the propagation of various banks during gas and liquid injection. We first compare the model predictions for linear flow with the coreflood results and obtain good agreement. We then propose a radial-flow model for scaling up the core-scale behavior to the field. The comparison between the results of the radial-propagation model and the Peaceman equation shows that a conventional simulator based on the Peaceman equation greatly underestimates both gas and liquid injectivities in a SAG process. The conventional simulator cannot represent the effect of gas injection on the subsequent liquid injectivity, especially the propagation of a relatively small region of collapsed foam near an injection well. The conventional simulator’s results can be brought closer to the radial-flow-model predictions by applying a constant negative skin factor.

The work flow described in this study can be applied to future field applications. The model we propose is based on a number of simplifying assumptions. In addition, the model would need to be fitted to coreflood data for the particular surfactant formulation, porous medium, and field conditions of a particular application. The adjustment of the simulator to better fit the radial-flow model also would depend, in part, on the grid resolution of the near-well region in the simulation.