3D laboratory-scale simulation of unstable displacement of heavy oil
Water-flooding or intrusion of aquifer water in heavy oil reservoirs may result in instabilities that lead to early water breakthrough and low oil production. Here, the first part of efforts to arrive at reliable production forecasts for heavy oil fields under unstable displacement conditions is presented. 3D simulations of flow in a 3 cm thick slab of sandstone were conducted on a very fine grid. All input parameters (including effective relative permeability and capillary pressure curves) were as in 2D simulations which are described in a companion paper (Leeuwenburgh et al.). Two configurations for injection and production were considered. The first configuration mimics the setup typically used in laboratory experiments and contains a single line inlet and outlet positioned in the middle layer on opposite sides of the flow domain. In the second simulation model, water is injected through the entire inlet plane, which is more representative of aquifer inflow. Both models show fingering behaviour but display marked differences in the extent of fingers in the direction perpendicular to the main flow direction. In particular, for injection from a line source, a directional asymmetry is introduced in the width of fingers that is not seen for injection through a plane. These simulations could help improve the interpretation of laboratory flow experiments and provide a possible explanation of the differences observed between the experiments and the 2D simulations.
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SGE - Sustainable Geo Energy PG - Petroleum Geosciences
ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences
Geological Survey Netherlands
World Heavy Oil Congress 2015, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 1-9