Finite difference modeling of oil recovery by waterflooding using horizontal well injectors



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Texas Tech University


Waterflooding is the most commonly used injection method for secondary recovery of oil reservoirs. The selection of a horizontal well or a vertical well as an injector is an important issue in waterflooding because these two types of wells can behave differently due to their orientation in the reservoir. Horizontal wells, due to their geometry, possess great apparent potential in injection processes because these wells have large contact with the formation as compared to the vertical wells. The performance of vertical well injectors in waterflooding an oil reservoir have been extensively investigated and reported in the literature. The detailed analysis of the performance of horizontal well injectors, on the other hand, is not found in the literature.

The objective of this research was to investigate the potential of horizontal well injectors in waterflood operation with the help of a reservoir simulator. A two-phase, black oil model was developed in this research to study the potential of horizontal well injectors in waterflooding.

The results showed that vertical to horizontal permeability ratio and formation thickness are the two main factors that can affect the performance of a horizontal well injector as compared to a vertical well injector. As the vertical to horizontal permeability ratio decreases, the advantage of a horizontal well injector over a vertical well injector decreases. This change in the permeability ratio does not have any significant effect on the performance of a vertical well injector. Also, the smaller the formation thickness, the better the performance of the horizontal well injectors.