On the feasibility of inducing oil mobilization in existing reservoirs via wellbore harmonic fluid action
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AbstractAlthough vibration-based mobilization of oil remaining in mature reservoirs is a promising low-cost method of enhanced oil recovery (EOR), research on its applicability at the reservoir scale is still at an early stage. In this paper, we use simplified models to study the potential for oil mobilization in homogeneous and fractured reservoirs, when harmonically oscillating fluids are injected/produced within a well. To this end, we investigate first whether waves, induced by fluid pressure oscillations at the well site, and propagating radially and away from the source in a homogeneous reservoir, could lead to oil droplet mobilization in the reservoir pore-space. We discuss both the fluid pore-pressure wave and the matrix elastic wave cases, as potential agents for increasing oil mobility. We then discuss the more realistic case of a fractured reservoir, where we study the fluid pore-pressure wave motion, while taking into account the leakage effect on the fracture wall. Numerical results show that, in homogeneous reservoirs, the rock-stress wave is a better energy-delivery agent than the fluid pore-pressure wave. However, neither the rock-stress wave nor the pore-pressure wave is likely to result in any significant residual oil mobilization at the reservoir scale. On the other hand, enhanced oil production from the fractured reservoir's matrix zone, induced by cross-flow vibrations, appears to be feasible. In the fractured reservoir, the fluid pore-pressure wave is only weakly attenuated through the fractures, and thus could induce fluid exchange between the rock formation and the fracture space. The vibration-induced cross-flow is likely to improve the imbibition of water into the matrix zone and the expulsion of oil from it. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
CitationJeong C, Huh C, Kallivokas LF (2011) On the feasibility of inducing oil mobilization in existing reservoirs via wellbore harmonic fluid action. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 76: 116–123. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2011.01.005.
SponsorsThe authors thank David Eslinger of Schlumberger, who carefully reviewed the manuscript and made many constructive suggestions. This work was partially supported by an Academic Excellence Alliance grant with KAUST, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. This support is gratefully acknowledged.