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CO2 Low-Salinity Water Alternating Gas: A Promising New Approach for EOR

Fig. 1—Cumulative oil recovery from Runs A, B, C, and E.

Significant advantages have been seen from combining low-salinity waterflooding (LSW) with other enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) techniques. This paper proposes a novel concept of low-salinity-water-alternating-gas (LSWAG) injection with CO2 under CO2-miscible-displacement conditions. While LSW is an emerging EOR method based on alteration of wettability from oil-wet to water-wet conditions, water-alternating-gas (WAG) injection is a proven method for improving gasflooding performance by controlling gas mobility. Therefore, LSWAG injection promotes a synergy of the mechanisms underlying these methods that enhances oil recovery further.

Introduction

LSW is receiving increasing attention in the oil industry and is currently indentified as an important EOR technique because it shows more advantages than conventional chemical EOR methods in terms of chemical costs, environmental impact, and field process implementation.

Although the benefits of LSW have been realized, the mechanism for incremental oil recovery by LSW is still a topic that is open for discussion. Among the proposed hypotheses, wettability alteration toward increased water-wetness during LSW is accepted widely as the cause for the EOR. It has been found experimentally that low-salinity brine has a significant effect on the shape and the endpoints of the relative permeability curves, resulting in a lower water relative permeability and higher oil relative permeability. The mechanisms of wettability alteration because of ion exchange and geochemical reactions have been implemented successfully in a compositional simulator for modeling LSW. Excellent agreements between simulation results and important measurements from coreflood experiments and pilot observations were obtained with this modeling approach.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 169071, “CO2 Low-Salinity Water Alternating Gas: A New Promising Approach for Enhanced Oil Recovery,” by Cuong T.Q. Dang, SPE, University of Calgary; Long X. Nghiem, SPE, Computer Modelling Group; Zhangxin Chen and Ngoc T.B. Nguyen, SPE, University of Calgary; and Quoc P. Nguyen, SPE, The University of Texas at Austin, prepared for the 2014 SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium, Tulsa, 12–16 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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CO2 Low-Salinity Water Alternating Gas: A Promising New Approach for EOR

01 January 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 1

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