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The lower diagram in Fig.

1 shows the same reservoir element near the completion

of a miscible flood started near the end of the waterflood. In practice, a solv
ent flood is often initiated before completing the waterflood
or, in some cases,
even before starting the waterflood. The schematic shows that solvent sweeps on
ly part of the reservoir previously swept by water, and only a portion of the re
sidual oil in the solvent-swept regions is recovered. The average oil saturation
after the miscible flood (Sorm) of 36% includes
1.Higher oil saturations remaining in regions near the edge of the pattern eleme
nt and in lower-permeability strata bypassed by both water and solvent
2.Residual oil in that part of the reservoir swept by water but not by solvent.
The miscible flood recovered an incremental 11% OOIP over and above waterfloodin
g results. Expressed another way, the incremental recovery was 18% of the oil re
maining after waterflooding.
The solvent sweeps approximately 50% of the pattern, compared to approximately 8
0% for water. In regions swept by solvent, oil saturation is reduced from an ave
rage value of 38% to 24%. The average oil saturation of 24% in solvent-swept reg
ions accounts for oil saturations lower than 24% near the injector, as well as h
igher saturations near the producer. At the pore level, solvent displaces some,
but not all, of the waterflood residual oil.
Injection strategies
Three solvent-injection strategies commonly used in commercial miscible-flooding
applications are slug injection, water-alternating-gas (WAG) injection, and gra
vity-stable injection. The slug process usually involves continuous injection of
approximately 0.2 to 0.4 hydrocarbon pore volumes (HCPV) of solvent that, in tu
rn, is displaced by water or dry solvent.[2] The WAG process involves alternatel
y injecting small volumes (0.01 0.04 HCPV) of water and solvent.[2] The total amou
nt of solvent injected usually ranges from 0.2 to 0.6 HCPV.[3] As with the slug
process, the final drive fluid is usually water or dry solvent. It is commonly a
ccepted that alternate injection of small slugs of water decreases solvent mobil
ity and leads to increased solvent sweep efficiency.[4] Experience with many pro
jects has indicated that field-management processes improve with time, and addit
ional volumes of injectant can be justified to further increase recovery.
For some pinnacle reefs and steeply dipping reservoirs with high vertical commun
ication, it is advantageous to inject less-dense solvent at the top of the reser
voir in a gravity-stable displacement process. Solvent sweep efficiency and oil
recovery are quite high, provided that there is sufficient vertical continuity.[
Factors affecting recovery
The two major factors that affect the performance of a miscible flood are oil-di
splacement efficiency at the pore level and sweep efficiency on the field scale.
Oil displacement can be explained using the schematic on the left side of Fig.
2, which shows solvent flowing from left to right through a pore space. The disp
lacement process involves several mechanisms.[2][10][11] One is direct miscible
displacement of oil by solvent along higher-permeability pore paths. Additionall
y, part of the oil initially bypassed (on the pore level) by solvent can later b
e recovered through oil swelling that occurs as solvent dissolves in the oil, or
by extraction of oil into solvent. Swelling and extraction take place as solven
t continues to flow past the initially bypassed oil. These can be significant me
chanisms in field processes and together may account for as much as 20 to 30% of
the total incremental recovery. Oil-displacement efficiency is affected by solv
ent composition and pressure. Solvents can be designed that give very high displ

acement efficiencies at the pore level.[1][12][13][14][15][16][17]

Fig. 2

Factors affecting miscible recovery.[2]

The right side of Fig. 2 shows that, on a field scale, sweep efficiency is affec
ted by viscous fingering and solvent channeling through high-permeability streak
s. Gravity override can sometimes occur because solvent is usually less dense th
an the oil it is displacing.[18][19] When vertical communication is high, solven
t tends to gravity segregate to the top of a reservoir unit and sweep only the u
pper part of that zone. Although gravity override can be a problem in reservoirs
having good vertical communication (such as Judy Creek[20] and Prudhoe Bay[21])
, it is not usually a serious problem for west Texas carbonates,[22] which tend
to be more stratified and have poor vertical communication.
Sweep efficiency on the field scale is usually the single most important factor
affecting performance of a miscible flood. Sweep efficiency can be increased to
some extent by reducing well spacing, increasing injection rate, reconfiguring w
ell patterns, increasing solvent-bank sizes, and modifying the ratio of injected
water to injected solvent (WAG ratio).
Fig. 3 presents part of a considerable body of laboratory evidence that solvent
effectively displaces oil from contacted regions of the reservoir. The graph of
oil recovery as a function of total pore volumes of fluid injected shows the res
ults of a laboratory coreflood conducted at conditions corresponding to the Shar
on Ridge reservoir in west Texas. The waterflood recovered approximately 40% OOI
P. A CO2 flood that followed increased oil recovery to approximately 80% OOIP, d
emonstrating that CO2 can displace a large portion of the residual oil remaining
after a waterflood. Sorm was 10%; the WAG ratio for the miscible flood was 1.

Fig. 3

Laboratory coreflooding studies.[2]

The schematics at the bottom of Fig. 3 illustrate the pore-level recovery mechan
isms discussed earlier (Fig. 2). At the end of the waterflood, residual oil is a
discontinuous phase that occupies approximately 40% of the pore space. Early in
the miscible flood [3.0 to 3.5 total pore volumes (PV) injected], some of this
oil has been miscibly displaced by solvent from the higher-permeability flow pat
h (on the pore scale). However, some oil also has been initially bypassed by sol
vent. Note that this bypassing at the pore level is much different from solvent
bypassing, which can occur at the field scale because of larger-scale reservoir
heterogeneities. As depicted in the schematic corresponding to late in the flood
(to 7.0 total PV injected), part of this locally bypassed oil is subsequently r
ecovered by extraction and swelling that takes place as solvent continues to flo
w past the bypassed oil. In this case, approximately 30% of the total amount of
oil recovered by the CO2 flood was recovered by extraction and swelling.
Determining miscibility
True miscible displacement implies that injected and displaced phases mix in all

proportions without forming interfaces or two phases. The single-phase conditio

n also implies that the solvent eventually displaces all resident oil from the p
ore space that it invades. Although some fluids, such as propane, fulfill this d
efinition, most solvents available for oilfield use form two distinct phases ove
r a broad range of mixtures and pressures when combined with reservoir oils. How
ever, when the same solvent displaces oil at reservoir temperature and above a s
uitably high pressure in a long, small-diameter (slim) sandpacked tube, a miscib
le-like displacement occurs. Slimtube experiments are designed to make the displ
acement essentially 1D with 100% volumetric sweep by the solvent front.
Fig. 4 shows a series of hypothetical slimtube experiments. In these experiments
, the solvent displaces oil from the fully oil-saturated slimtube at several pre
ssures. Oil recovery is shown after 1.2 pore volume (PV) of injection for each p
ressure. Oil recovery increases with pressure up to approximately 95 to 98% and
then increases very little thereafter. The pressure at which the break in the re
covery curve occurs is said to be the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP). If the
displacements had been conducted at constant pressure and with increasing enric
hment by components such as ethane, propane, and butane, the break over would ha
ve been at the minimum miscibility enrichment (MME). Above the MMP or MME, the d
isplacement is said to be "multiple-contact" or "dynamically" miscible. The incr
easing recovery with pressure or solvent enrichment results from in-situ mass tr
ansfer of components between solvent and resident oil. Each pressure increase pr
oduces an equilibrium mixture that becomes compositionally similar at the MMP or
MME. Methane, methane enriched with C2 C4 hydrocarbons, CO2, N2, and flue solven
t will all give compositionally enhanced displacements under the right condition
s of pressure, temperature, and oil composition. The MMP or MME can be significa
ntly different for each of these solvents.

Fig. 4

Slimtube displacements used to determine MMP or MME.

A slimtube is not representative of the performance in reservoir rock because it

does not account for the effects of factors such as gravity segregation and res
ervoir heterogeneity on volumetric sweep. Fig. 5 shows how ethane enrichment of
methane affected oil recovery in an experiment conducted by Chang et al.[23] wit
h live reservoir fluid in a 34.6-in.-long, relatively homogeneous Bentheimer san
dstone core. The experimental conditions resulted in a single, gravity-overridin
g tongue of solvent in the core.[23] Oil recovery continued to increase from enr
ichment levels well below to well above the MME determined from slimtube displac
ements without evidencing a pronounced break over. In other words, compositional
enhancement continued to increase recovery well above the slimtube MME for this
gravity-dominated displacement.

Fig. 5

Enriched gasflood with gravity tongue in outcrop core(after Chang, et al.

Jerauld[24] reported a similar finding by use of a compositional reservoir simul

ation of a one-fourth nine-spot pattern element (Fig. 6). Recovery continued to
increase from well below to well above the simulator-predicted MME of 0.65.

Fig. 6
Effect of enrichment on recovery in a reservoir study. After Jerauld (sol
id lines are the reference model, and dashed lines are the scaleup model).[24]
Overall industry experience
Fig. 7 shows how incremental ultimate recovery increased with total solvent slug
size for a few projects for which these data were available in the literature.
The interpretations given in this figure are the author s and are not necessarily
those of the project operators. Many of the projects represented in this figure
are ongoing, and the ultimate incremental recovery is an estimate.

Fig. 7

Expected incremental ultimate recovery in selected field projects.

The contribution of incremental oil production from gas-injection projects (most

ly miscible) has continued to grow since 1984, as reported biennially by the Oil
& Gas Journal. Fig. 8 shows the volumes reported in this reference. In 2002, to
tal incremental production was nearly 550,000 BOPD. Approximately 60% of the tot
al comes from hydrocarbon miscible projects, and most of the remainder comes fro
m CO2 miscible projects in the US. The advent of the significant contributions f
rom the projects (hydrocarbon miscible) in Venezuela beginning in 2000 indicates
an ongoing effort to identify and implement miscible projects around the world.

Fig. 8 World incremental oil production caused by gas injection (adapted from bi
ennial reports, Oil & Gas J.).
Miscible injection has been applied successfully in many reservoirs. Field examp
les are presented to illustrate how CO2, enriched hydrocarbons, and N2 solvents
have been used to increase oil recoveries significantly. The resulting experienc
e with miscible projects has made it possible to reliably predict the economic v
iability of new projects in other reservoirs. Advances incompositional simulatio
n enhance the ability to assess miscible flooding and improve its effectiveness.
1.? 1.0 1.1 Healy, R.N., Holstein, E.D., and Batycky, J.P. 1994. Status of Misci
ble Flooding Technology. Proc., 14th World Petroleum Congress, Stavanger, 29 May 1
June. 407 416. ? 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Hadlow, R.E. 1992. Update of Industry
2.? 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Hadlow, R.E. 1992. Update of Industry Experience Wit
h CO2 Injection. Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition
, Washington, D.C., 4-7 October 1992. SPE-24928-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/24

3.? Brock, W.R. and Bryan, L.A. 1989. Summary Results of CO2 EOR Field Tests, 19
72-1987. Presented at the Low Permeability Reservoirs Symposium, Denver, 6-8 Mar
ch. SPE 18977. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/18977-MS.
4.? Martin, W.E. 1982. The Wizard Lake D-3A Pool Miscible Flood. Presented at th
e International Petroleum Exhibition and Technical Symposium, Beijing, China, 17
-24 March 1982. SPE-10026-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/10026-MS.
5.? Backmeyer, L.A., Guise, D.R., MacDonell, P.E. et al. 1984. The Tertiary Exte
nsion of the Wizard Lake D-3A Pool Miscible Flood. Presented at the SPE Annual T
echnical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Texas, 16-19 September 1984. SPE-13
271-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/13271-MS.
6.? Da Sle, W.J. and Guo, D.S. 1990. Assessment of a Vertical Hydrocarbon Miscib
le Flood in the Westpem Nisku D Reef. SPE Res Eng 5 (2): 147 154. SPE-17354-PA. ht
7.? Johnston, J.R. 1988. Weeks Island Gravity Stable CO2 Pilot. Presented at the
SPE/DOE Enhanced Oil Recovery Symposium, Tulsa, 17 20 April. SPE 17351. http://dx
8.? Tiffin, D.L. and Jr., V.J.K. 1988. Mechanistic Study of Gravity-Assisted CO2
Flooding. SPE Res Eng 3 (2): 524-532. SPE-14895-PA. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/1
9.? Shyeh-Yung, J.-G.J. 1991. Mechanisms of Miscible Oil Recovery: Effects of Pr
essure on Miscible and Near-Miscible Displacements of Oil by Carbon Dioxide. Pre
sented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, Texas, 6-9
October 1991. SPE-22651-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/22651-MS.
10.? Stern, D. 1991. Mechanisms of Miscible Oil Recovery: Effects of Pore-Level
Fluid Distribution. Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibit
ion, Dallas, Texas, 6-9 October 1991. SPE-22652-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/22
11.? Koch, H.A. and Hutchinson, C.A. Jr. 1958. Miscible Displacements of Reservo
ir Oil Using Flue Gas. Trans., AIME 213: 7.
12.? Clark, N.J., Shearin, H.M., Schultz, W.P. et al. 1958. Miscible Drive Its The
ory and Application. J Pet Technol 10 (6): 11 20. SPE-1036-G. http://dx.doi.org/10
13.? Hutchinson, C.A. and Braun, P.H. 1961. Phase relations of miscible displace
ment in oil recovery. AIChE J. 7 (1): 64-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aic.69007
14.? Benham, A.L., Dowden, W.E., and Kunzman, W.J. 1960. Miscible Fluid Displace
ment Prediction of Miscibility. Trans., AIME 219: 229.
15.? Wu, R.S., Batycky, J.P., Harker, B. et al. 1986. Enriched Gas Displacement:
Design Of Solvent Compositions. J Can Pet Technol 25 (3). PETSOC-86-03-06. http
16.? Zick, A.A. 1986. A Combined Condensing/Vaporizing Mechanism in the Displace
ment of Oil by Enriched Gases. Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference
and Exhibition, New Orleans, 5 8 October. SPE-15493-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/
17.? Stone, H.L. 1982. Vertical Conformance in an Alternating Water-Miscible Gas
Flood. Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orl
eans, Louisiana, 26 29 September. SPE-11130-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/11130-MS
18.? Jenkins, M.K. 1984. An Analytical Model for Water/Gas Miscible Displacement
s. Presented at the SPE/DOE Enhanced Oil Recovery Symposium, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 15 1
8 April. SPE-12632-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/12632-MS.
19.? Pritchard, D.W.L., Georgi, D.T., Hemingson, P. et al. 1990. Reservoir Surve
illance Impacts Management of the Judy Creek Hydrocarbon Miscible Flood. Present
ed at the SPE/DOE Enhanced Oil Recovery Symposium, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 22 25 April. S
PE-20228-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/20228-MS.
20.? Dawson, A.G., Jackson, D.D., and Buskirk, D.L. 1989. Impact of Solvent Inje
ction Strategy and Reservoir Description on Hydrocarbon Miscible EOR for the Pru
dhoe Bay Unit, Alaska. Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhi
bition, San Antonio, Texas, 8-11 October 1989. SPE-19657-MS. http://dx.doi.org/1

21.? Magruder, J.B., Stiles, L.H., and Yelverton, T.D. 1990. Review of the Means
San Andres Unit CO2 Tertiary Project. J Pet Technol 42 (5): 638 644. SPE-17349-PA
. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/17349-PA.
22.? Moritis, G. 1992. EOR Increases 24% Worldwide; Claims 10% of U.S. Productio
n. Oil & Gas J. (20 April): 51.
23.? 23.0 23.1 23.2 Chang, H.L., Sing Lo, T., Ring, W.W. et al. 1993. The Effect
s of Injectant-Enrichment Level on Oil Recovery in Horizontal, Gravity-Tongue-Do
minated Enriched-Gas Drives. Presented at the SPE Western Regional Meeting, Anch
orage, Alaska, 26-28 May 1993. SPE-26084-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/26084-MS
24.? 24.0 24.1 Jerauld, G.R. 1998. A Case Study in Scaleup for Multicontact Misc
ible Hydrocarbon Gas Injection. SPE Res Eval & Eng 1 (6): 575 582. SPE-53006-PA. h
Noteworthy papers in OnePetro
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External links
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troWiki and OnePetro
See also
Designing a miscible flood
Phase diagrams of miscible processes
Equations of state for miscible processes
Compositional simulation of miscible processes
Category: 5.4.9 Miscible methods
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