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Experimental Study of Surfactant Alkaline Steam Flood through Vertical Wells

SHEDID-ELGAGHAN, SHEDID, United Arab Emirates U.

Continued research and field application of steam flooding have confirmed an early conclusion that the process is a powerful method for recovering heavy and intermediate gravity crude oils. This experimental study investigates the feasibility of using low concentrated solution of alkaline or surfactant as an additive to steam flooding for water flooded reservoirs. This research is also designed to search for optimization the process of steam flood through recovering additional oil via using a steam with low concentration of alkaline-surfactant mixture. This process is designed as surfactant alkaline steam flood. To achieve these goals, four flow experiments are conducted as follows: (1) conventional steam flood (SF) (2) surfactant steam flood (SSF) (3) alkaline steam flood (ASF) and (4) low concentrated surfactant alkaline steam flood (SASF).The results of this study confirmed using steam flooding for a substantial improvement of oil recovery. Using low concentrated alkaline into steam drive recovered additional oil than conventional steam flooding. Mixing steam flooding with surfactant improved oil recovery than either conventional steam drive or alkaline steam flood. The proposed technique of surfactant alkaline steam flood (SASF) significantly enhanced oil recovery. A comparison of the obtained results of the four undertaken experiments results in three major conclusions, which are (1) addition of surfactant or alkaline into steam drive improves its performance and consequently recovers additional oil than conventional steam flood, (2) using very low concentrated surfactant alkaline steam flood produces the highest oil recovery, and (3) chemical steam drive enhances oil displacement significantly than that of conventional steam drive. The results of this study have validated the proposed technique of surfactant alkaline steam flooding. Furthermore, this technique is expected to have a significant impact to attain potential oil recovery, if applied in current projects of conventional steam flood and/or water flooded reservoirs.



AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90911©2000 AAPG Pacific Section and Western Region Society of Petroleum Engineers, Long Beach, California