You are on page 1of 9

SPE 110587

Effect of Miscible and Immiscible CO2 Flooding on Gravity Drainage:


Experimental and Simulation Results
K. Asghari, SPE, University of Regina; F. Torabi, SPE, University of Regina
Copyright 2008, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2008 SPE/DOE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A., 1923April2008.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.


Abstract
Implemtation of EOR processes in naturally fractured reservoirs is a challenging task due to preence of extereme heterogeneity. Among
potential EOR techniques for implementing in these environments application of CO
2
for displacement purposes and/or pressure
maintenance might be a viable option. This paper presents the results experimental and simulation studies of the effect of injecting CO
2
into
fractured media and its influence on oil recovery. Both miscible (i.e. high pressure) and immiscible (i.e. low pressure) schemes for CO
2
are
investigated in a core of 100 md permeability. The results obtained from these experiments are used to compare the effect of miscible
versus immiscible conditions. For these experiments a special stainless steel holder was designed that allows an open space around a core
of 30 cm long and 5 cm in diameter, simulating a matrix with surrounding fractures. Carbon dioxide and normal decane were used as
solvent and oil, respectively. The core weas saturated with oil with and without presence of residual water saturation. While all experiments
were conducted at constant temperature of 35
o
C, six series of experiments were carried out at 250, 500, 750, 1000, 1250, and 1500 psi. A
high pressure calibrated glass-gauge was connected to the bottom of the fractured media model allowing the produced oil be collected and
measured continuously under the pressure and temperature conditions of the experiments. Analyzing the results show that injecting CO
2
at
higher pressures improves the recovery factor of gravity drainage mechanism in fractured media, significantly.

Introduction
Gas floodingf, e.g. CO
2
flooding, is considered an inefficient process for enhancing oil recovery from naturally fractured reservoir. This
is mainly due early gas breakthrough through fractures that lead to low oil recovery. However, miscible CO
2
injection, under controlled
operating conditions, could be used to improve oil recovery in such reservoirs. In naturally fractured reservoirs, where the main production
mechanism is gravity drainage, the performance of CO
2
injection is affected by a series of parameters such as fracture-matrix geometry,
size, matrix-fracture flow interaction, and so on (Li et. Al, 2000). Even in the case of injecting CO
2
in fractured reservoirs under miscible
conditions, the relative values of viscosity and density of oil and injected CO
2
determine the extent of gravity override and early
breakthrough of CO
2
, as well as oil flow from matrix to fractures. At very high-pressure conditions, the density of CO
2
is close to and
sometimes larger than oil viscosity (Darvish et. Al, 2006). Since fractures are filled with dense CO
2
during miscible CO
2
injection, oil
recovery may be reduced due to the presence of denser solvent around the matrix, which hinders drainageof oil into fractures. However, it
is expected that significant reduction in interfacial tension and capillary pressure would lead to improved ultimate oil recovery (Uleberg,
2002). Several studies show that viscosity ratio, density differences, matrix permeability, and production rate have significant impact on oil
recovery for solvent flooding in fractured environments

(Slobob, 1964 and Thompson, 1969). Firoozabadi and Markeset used nC14 and
nC10 to study miscible displacement in a fractured medium (Firoozabadi, 1994). Both of these solvents were liquid at room conditions,
which leads to first contact misciblity between the solvent and oil in the matrix. In another study Jamshidnezhad et. al showed that
displacement rate has a great impact on oil recovery from fractured reservoir under miscible flooding conditions (Jamshidzadeh et. al,
2004). It is clear that in a miscible displacement process in fractured reservoirs, oil is swept completely from fractures during the early
stages of production. This leads solvent surrounding the matrix blocks, which are still saturated with oil. From then on, oil displacement
from matrix into fracture would strongly depend on diffusion, advection and gravity. Therefore, one can conclude that low displacement
flow rate will results in a better diffusion and advection of solvent in the oil in matrix, reducing the interfacial tension and increasing the
rate of drainage from matrix into sourrounding fractures.
In addition to the above parameters, temperature has significant impact on oil recovery under miscible and immiscible conditions
(Holm, 1986). At low temperatures, when pressure drops below minimum miscibility pressure (MMP), oil recovery decreases sharply.
However, at higher temperatures change in oil recovery is more gradual (Stalkup, 1978).
This paper presents the findings of a series of experimental investigations on the performance of oil drainage from matrix into a
surrounding fracture filled with CO
2
under immiscible and miscible conditions. These experiments have been conducted under gravity
drainage conditions, and not flooding situation. Additionally, these experiments were simulated by utilizing a commercial simulator, CMG-
GEM
TM
. The findings of this study can be used for designing successful CO
2
EOR processes for naturally fractured reservoirs, as well as
utilizing the underground storage of CO
2
in fractured oil reservoirs.

2 SPE 110587
Laboratory Study
Core and Core-Holder Specifications
Cylindrical Berea cores with 30 cm long and 5 cm diameter were used as matrix throughout these experiments. The permeability of
these cores were measured using a PDK-400 permeameter at 10 different surface points. The average permeabilites of 100 md and porosity
() of 18% were calculated and used in this study. A special high-pressure stainless steel core holder with internal diameter of 6 cm and
length of 35.5 cm was manufactured for these experiments. The diameter of core holder was about one centimeter larger than the core
diameter, allowing for an open space surrounding the core in the core holder, i.e. simulating fracture opening around the matrix. Also, the
caps used inside core-holder were conical shape to allow complete drainage of fluids during various steps of experiments. The core was
held in placed in the core holder using two Teflon holders at top and bottom. Those holders were specially designed and built for this set up
in such a way to allow fluid flow between internal wall of the core holder and external surface of core easily.

Fluid Characterization
Normal decane, representing a sample of light oil, was used for saturating the core at the start of each set of experiments. The density
and viscosity of nC10 were 0.99 cP and 0.73gr/cc, respectively. The CO
2
with 99.99% purity was used as solvent. All experiments were
conducted in an air-bath at constant temperature of 35
o
C. Prior to start of experiments, the miscibility pressure of CO
2
-nC10 system was
determined using commercial PVT software, i.e. CMG-WINPROP. According to PVT simulation results, miscibility pressure of two
fluids at 35
o
C, is about 1062.5psi. In addition, changes in viscosity and density of nC10 as a function of CO
2
mole fraction was determined
under miscible and immiscible conditions.

Experimental Set-up
Figure 1 shows the schematics of experimental set-up used in this study. The setup consists of 2 high-pressure ISCO syringe pumps, one
CO
2
cylinder, one highly sensitive dual reading digital pressure gauge, one digital temperature controller, high pressure gauge glass, back
pressure valve, production separator, and high-pressure stainless steel core holder. A separate vacuum setup was used to vacuum and
saturate the core prior to each experiment. Since the maximum pressure of the CO
2
cylinders is 900psi, two syringe pumps with capacities
of 500 cc each were used to pressurize the system and keep the system at constant pressure thourghout various runs. The high pressure
gauge glass was connected to the bottom of core holder, and was used for collecting the produced oil and solvent under pressure. The
experimental setup, except ISCO pumps and CO
2
cylinder, were inside the air-bath. A liquid trap was installed at the top of the core holder,
in order to collect any fluid leaving from the top of the core holder during pressure reduction. To maintain the temperature of the air-bath
constant, two fans were installed at two corners for smooth air displacement.

Experimental Procedure
Prior to each test, the core was dried, vacuumed for 3 days and saturated with nC10 for 24 hrs for maximum saturation. Then, the core
was removed and weighed and placed in the core holder immediately. The weight of saturated core was compared with the weight of dry
core and the oil in-place was calculated using density of nC10. Since gravity drainage experiments were conducted in six different
pressures, the initial saturation of core was repeated 6 times during the tests and the results were almost the same with minor differences
(less 0.25% variations).
In order to observe the gravity drainage behavior of oil, the core was allowed to produce into the glass gauge at atmospheric pressure for
up to 24 hours. For these experiments it was observed that no oil was produced under above experimental conditions.
At the beginning of each stage of experiments, air was displaced from the system by injecting CO
2
into the fracture surrounding the core
at very low flow rate. This was done to avoid forced displacement of fluid from the core.
The first experiment was conducted by increasing CO
2
pressure in the fracture to 250 psi. Throughout the experiment, the pressure of
the system was kept constant by setting the syringe pumps at constant pressure mode at the desired pressure, i.e. 250 psi, and connecting
the pump to the core holder.
For each set of experiments conducted under specific pressure, in order to measure the oil production every 24 hours the valve
connecting glass gauge and core holder was closed. Then, pressure was released from the glass gauge by a pressure regulator and oil
production was collected and weighed. After that, air was displaced by CO
2
from glass gauge and its pressure was increased to core holder
pressure and the valve was opened. Each set of experiments continued untill no production was observed for 72 hours (3 days). At the end
of each set of experiments, the core was removed, weighed, and cleaned using nC7 and allowed to dry until it reached to its initial weight.
The above procedures was repeated for 5 more pressures in 250 psi pressure steps up to the maximum pressure of 1500 psi at constant
temperature.

Results and Discussions
Figure 2 presnets the oil recovery results for experiments conducted under immiscible conditions, i.e. pressures up to 500 psi. The oil
recovery for this range of pressure is less than 10% OOIP. However, as pressure gets closer to the miscibility pressure, the oil recovery is
increased considerably (see Fig.3). These results show that, injecting CO
2
at near miscible conditions, i.e 1000psi, improves oil recovery up
to 75% OOIP.
Increasing pressure beyond miscibility pressure improves oil recovery upto 85% OOIP, however injecting CO
2
at pressures higher than
miscibility pressure does not lead to significant increase in oil production (refer to Figure 4). These results show that recovery factor at
pressures far above miscibility pressure, i.e 1500psi, has reduced recovery factor slightly. It is believed this is due to the higher density of
CO
2
sourrounding matrix. Figure 5 shows the oil recovery for the first 24 hour of experiments for the range of pressures tested. The slight
reduction in oil production at pressures far above MMP; i.e 1500psi can be seen from the early production data. Similarly, the ultimate oil
recovery factor for various pressures is presented in Figure 6.
Implementation of CO
2
flooding in fractured reservoirs has the secondary benefit of storing large quantities of CO
2
underground in
fractured reservoirs. Figure 7 presents the amount of CO
2
injected and produced for above experiments. The diference between the two
curves indictes the amount of CO
2
stored in above experimental system under various operating conditions. This study shows that,
fractured reservoirs are good candidates for CO
2
storage due to their large storage capacity and possibility of enhancing oil recovery at
higher pressure.
SPE 110587 3
In the next set of experiments gravity drainage experiments were conducted in the presence of connate water. Once again, range of
pressures from 250 psi to 1500 psi was tested. The results indicated that presence of connate water reduces the ultimate oil recovery at
immiscible conditions, but it somehow increases oil recovery at or above miscible conditions. A comparison of oil recovery with or without
connate water at miscible conditions is presented in Figure 8.
In addition to above experiments, a commercial reservoir simulator, CMG-GEM
TM
, by Computer Modeling Group, was used to
simulate these tests. Since above experiments were designed to represent gravity drainage, rather than CO
2
flooding, simulating above
experiments especially at lower pressure conditions was a challenge. However, the attempts for simulating the experimenst conducted at
higher-pressure condition, miscible situation, were more successful. Figure 9 shows a comparison between the experimental oil recoveries
and simulated ones under miscible conditions. The simulation results follow the qualitative trends of experimental behavior, but the
predictions for actual oil recovery are higher than those observed in laboratory tests.

Conclusions
1. An experimental setup for simulating CO
2
injection in a fractured media was designed and built in laboratory.
2. Introduction of CO
2
in fractures at pressures below MMP can recover up to 18% of oil in-place (OIP).
3. At miscible conditions oil recovery can increase to more than 50% of OIP.
4. At a pressure far above MMP of CO
2
ultimate recovery may decrease due to the presence of denser fluid in fractures, which
could prevent flow of fluid from matrix into fractures.
5. Presence of connate water decreases oil recovery under immiscible conditions, while imporves oil recovery at miscible
situations.
6. Simulating lab scale gravity drainange experiments proved to be very challenging. Although the general trend was simulated,
the actual recoveries were different for experimental versus simulation cases.
7. CO
2
injection in fractured reservoir may be a viable option for combined CO
2
EOR and storage projects.

Acknoledgments
The financial support for this research has been provided by the faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Regina,
and Petroleum Technology Research Centre, Regina, Canada.

Nomneclature
= porosity
K = permeability [md]
PV = Pore volume [cm
3
]
OOIP = Original Oil In Place

Reference
BEDRIKOVETSKY, P., and EVTJUKHIN, A., Mathematical Model and Laboratory Study of the Miscible Gas Injection in Fractured
Porous Reservoirs; SPE 36113, presented at SPE Petroleum Conference, Milan, Italy, 22-24 October 1996
DARVISH, G.R., LINDEBERG, E., HOLT, T. and UTNE, S.A., Laboratory Experiments of Tertiary CO2 Injection Into a Fractured Core;
SPE 99649, presented at the 2006 SPE/DOE Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A., 22-26 April 2006.
FIROOZABADI, A. and MARKESET, T.I., Miscible Displacement in Fractured Porous Media: Part I-Experiments; SPE/DOE 27743,
presented at the SPE/DOE Ninth Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 17-20 April 1994.
HOLM, L.W., Miscibility and Miscible Displacement; SPE 15794, August 1986
JAMSHIDNEZHAD, M., RAHMATI, M. M., and SAJJADIAN, V.A., Theoretical and Experimental Investigations of Miscible
Displacement in Fractured Porous Media; Transport in Porous Media 1868: 1-15, 2004.
LI, H., PUTRA, E., SCHECHTER, D.S. and GRIGG, R.B., Experimental Investigation of CO2 Gravity Drainage in a
Fractured System; SPE 64510, presented at the SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition, Brisbane,
Australia, 16-18 October 2000.
SLOBOD, R.L., and HOWLETT, W.E., The Effects of Gravity Segregation in Studies of Miscible Displacement in Vertical
Unconsolidated Porous Media; SPEJ, March 1964, 1-8.
STALKUP, F.I., Carbon Dioxide Miscible Flooding: Past, Present, And Outlook for the Future; SPE 7042, August 1978
THOMPSON, J.L., and MUNGAN, N., A Laboratory Study of Gravity Drainage in Fractured System Under Miscible Conditions; SPE
2232, presented at the SPE 43
rd
Annual Fall Meeting, Houston, Texas, USA, Sep. 29 Oct. 2 1969.
ULEBERG, K. and HOIER, L., Miscible Gas Injection in Fractured Reservoirs; SPE 75136, presented at the SPE/DOE Ninth Symposium
on Improved Oil Recovery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 13-17 April 2002.














4 SPE 110587








Figure 1. Schematic of Miscible/Immiscible Gravity Drainage Experiment











P
T
Vacuum
pump
Air bath

Oil/gas
Separator
Core
Computer

Syringe
pumps
P
Fan
Fan and
heater
nC10
Pressure
regulator
CO2
Heating Wrap
High pressure
gauge glass
Digital
pressure
gauge
Temperature
controller

Needle valve

Core holder

SPE 110587 5



Table-1: Specifications of core and core-holder














Figure 2. Recovery factors for oil production under gravity drainage from a 100 md core
surrounded by CO
2
at immiscible condition



















Berea Core
Permeability
(md)
Porosity
(%)
Height
(cm)
Diameter
(cm)
Pore volume
(cc)
Core 100 17.67 30.48 5.08 109
Core holder --------------- ----------- 35.6 6.06 1048
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000
Time(min)
R
e
c
o
v
e
r
y

F
a
c
t
o
r
,

%
P=250psi
P=500psi
6 SPE 110587
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000
Ti me(mi n)
R
e
c
o
v
e
r
y

F
a
c
t
o
r
,

%
P=750psi
P=1000psi






























Figure 3. Recovery factors for oil production under gravity drainage from a 100 md core
surrounded by CO
2
at near miscible condition



Figure 4. Recovery factors for oil production under gravity drainage from a 100 md core
surrounded by CO
2
at miscible condition




0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000
Time(min)
R
e
c
o
v
e
r
y

F
a
c
t
o
r
,
%
P=1250psi
P=1500psi
SPE 110587 7

Figure 5. Oil recovery factors for first 24 hours of oil production under gravity drainage from a
100 md core surrounded by CO
2
at immiscible and miscible condition

Figure 6. Ultimate oil recovery from a 100 md core surrounded by CO
2
as a function of pressure


0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
0 500 1000 1500
Pressure(Psi)
R
e
c
o
v
e
r
y

F
a
c
t
o
r
,
%
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
0 500 1000 1500
Pressure(Psi)
R
e
c
o
v
e
r
y

F
a
c
t
o
r
,
%
8 SPE 110587


Figure 7. CO
2
storage capacity for experiments under different pressures





Figure 8. Effect of connate water on ultimate oil recovery at pressures above miscibility pressure



0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
0 250 500 750 1000 1250 1500
Pressure (psi )
C
u
m
u
l
a
t
i
v
e

C
O
2

i
n
j
e
c
t
e
d
,
(
M
S
C
C
)
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
C
u
m
u
l
a
t
i
v
e

C
O
2

p
r
o
d
u
c
e
d
,
(
M
S
C
C
)
Cumulati ve CO2 i njected
Cumulati ve CO2
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000
Time(min)
R
e
c
o
v
e
r
y

F
a
c
t
o
r
,

%
P=1250psi (100% C10)
P=1500psi (100% C10)
P=1250psi (In presence of water)
P=1500psi (In presence of water)
SPE 110587 9






Figure 9. Comparison of simulated and experimental results for miscible conditions





























0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000
Time(min)
R
e
c
o
v
e
r
y

F
a
c
t
o
r
,
%
P=1250psi(Exp) P=1500psi(Exp)
P=1250psi(Sim) P=1500psi(Sim)