A parametric study of reservoir cooling for enhanced recovery by carbon dioxide flooding

Zhenzhen Wang, Amey Khanzode, Russell T. Johns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Slimtube experiments and analytical calculations show that minimum miscibility pressure (MMP) can significantly decrease with a relatively modest reduction in temperature. Compositional simulation, however, is often made under isothermal conditions even though a prior waterflood may have reduced reservoir temperature in the swept zones of the reservoir. This study uses computer simulation to examine how cooling by a prior waterflood can affect recovery during a carbon dioxide (CO2) flood by lowering the MMP in the swept zones. The results show that for the cases considered, injection of cooler water can increase incremental oil recovery (IOR) significantly because of MMP reduction in the zones swept by the solvent. A parametric simulation study demonstrates how injection temperature, initial reservoir pressure, formation heterogeneity, formation thickness, heat transfer with the overburden/underbur-den formations, and water-alternating-gas (WAG) ratio may affect the IOR. The simulations are conducted by a long waterflood of up to 2.0 pore volumes injected before CO2 injection. The water during the secondary recovery is injected at several temperatures for selected 1D, 2D, and 3D flow models. CO2 solvent is then injected continuously, or in WAG mode, at the same waterflood-injection temperature. The increase in IORs (greater than what would have been obtained by a standard CO2 flood at original reservoir temperature) varied greatly depending on the flow dimension, initial reservoir pressure, level of heterogeneity, formation thickness, degree of energy gain from the surroundings, and injection temperature. Increases in recovery by CO2 flooding varied from a few percent to nearly 30% of original oil in place, with the highest recoveries occurring in 1D flow. For the same flow dimension, the largest increase in recoveries is achieved when the MMP is sufficiently reduced by temperature so that an otherwise immiscible or near-miscible flood becomes a multicontact miscible flood. The results demonstrate that including temperature variations in the simulations is important for floods that are nearly miscible because recoveries are most affected in that region. Further, including temperature variations could be very important to improve the quality of history matches used to understand the reservoir.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-852
Number of pages14
JournalSPE Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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