Mechanistic Studies of Improved Foam EOR Processes

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The objective of this research is to widen the application of foam to enhanced oil recovery (EOR) by investigating fundamental mechanisms of foams in porous media. This research will lay the groundwork for more applied research on foams for improved sweep efficiency in miscible gas, steam and surfactant-based EOR. Task 1 investigates the pore-scale interactions between foam bubbles and polymer molecules. Task 2 examines the mechanisms of gas trapping, and interaction between gas trapping and foam effectiveness. Task 3 investigates mechanisms of foam generation in porous media. Significant progress was made during this period on all three Tasks. Regarding Task ... continued below

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27 pages

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Rossen, William R. June 14, 2004.

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Description

The objective of this research is to widen the application of foam to enhanced oil recovery (EOR) by investigating fundamental mechanisms of foams in porous media. This research will lay the groundwork for more applied research on foams for improved sweep efficiency in miscible gas, steam and surfactant-based EOR. Task 1 investigates the pore-scale interactions between foam bubbles and polymer molecules. Task 2 examines the mechanisms of gas trapping, and interaction between gas trapping and foam effectiveness. Task 3 investigates mechanisms of foam generation in porous media. Significant progress was made during this period on all three Tasks. Regarding Task 1, we continued comparisons of foam behavior in sandpacks with and without polymer and oil. As in our previous results, decane was moderately destabilizing to foam. Xanthan polymer did not stabilize foam in the presence of decane in this case. Rather, it appears to have destabilized foam, so that pressure gradient decreased in spite of the increase in aqueous-phase viscosity. Research on Task 2 included the first shake-down experiments with our new apparatus for gas-phase tracer tests for direct measurement of trapped-gas saturation with foam. In addition, we began to analyze CT images of gas-phase tracer in foam displacements, which offers an independent measure of trapped-gas fraction and insights into the roles of convection of tracer in flowing gas and diffusion into trapped gas. Research on Task 3 included foam generation experiments in heterogeneous sandpacks and beadpacks and modeling of discontinuous changes in state such as foam generation. The experiments found the same three regimes (coarse foam, strong foam, and intermediate regime) in heterogeneous sandpacks previously identified in homogeneous porous media. One implication is that there may be a minimum flow rate required for foam generation in even heterogeneous porous media. The dynamics in SAG foam processes in heterogeneous media are complex. When a given pressure drop is imposed, a pressure wave moves down the pack. Foam may nearly plug the pack at a transition in permeability, but it is still important whether the foam thus formed propagates further or remains in place. Modeling of discontinuous changes in state such as foam generation shows that these changes can be accommodated within the framework of fractional-flow theory. Fractional-flow theory has the advantage that it does not suffer from the artifacts of coarse gridding often seen in conventional simulation. Our modeling shows that it can be crucial whether the formation of strong foam affects the capillary-pressure function for the porous medium. If it does, this may lead to a new foam bank in a SAG displacement not predicted without accounting for this effect.

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27 pages

Notes

OSTI as DE00828206

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  • Other Information: PBD: 14 Jun 2004

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  • Report No.: NONE
  • Grant Number: FC26-01BC15318
  • DOI: 10.2172/828206 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 828206
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc788180

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • June 14, 2004

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Oct. 4, 2017, 5:17 p.m.

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Rossen, William R. Mechanistic Studies of Improved Foam EOR Processes, report, June 14, 2004; Austin, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc788180/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.