Bridging the Gap Between Chemical Flooding and Independent Oil Producers
TORP is currently conducting DOE-funded research aimed at demonstrating the potential of chemical flooding for water flooded oil reservoirs.
The project objectives are to design efficient chemical flooding processes for Kansas leases/reservoirs. These designs are necessary for independent oil operators to make an informed assessment for implementation of a pilot or demonstration project.
Chemical flooding for enhanced oil recovery involves the use of surfactants which reduce the interfacial tension for the mobilization of trapped oil; polymers which reduce mobility of injected fluids for a more efficient sweep of the reservoir; alkali to reduce surfactant adsorption and generate in-situ soaps; co-solvents which reduce micro-emulsion viscosity and improve surfactant solubility; and finally electrolytes which are used to vary the affinity of surfactants to solubilize oil and water phases.
The team began the process by selecting multiple oil leases across Kansas. They started their search using the Kansas Geological Survey database and then interviewed the top 30 producers in Kansas looking for reservoirs that had conducted successful waterfloods. They selected 10 leases spanning the state.
- Identify and select candidate leases for study
- Formulate efficient chemical systems through phase behavior studies
- Test performance of chemical systems to recover oil from rock samples
- Simulate field performance with computer models
- Analyze economics of pilot and field applications
Phase behavior studies:
- Test chemical formulations with crude oil in glass tubes
- Formulations giving three liquid phases are sought
- The middle phase micro-emulsion is efficient at washing (recovering) oil from rock
- Viscosities and interfacial tensions are also measured