Application of X-ray CT for investigating fluid flow and conformance control during CO2 injection in highly heterogeneous media



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Texas A&M University


Fractured reservoirs have always been considered poor candidates for enhanced oil recovery. This can be attributed to the complexities involved in understanding and predicting performance in these reservoirs. In a fractured system, the high permeability fracture forms the preferred pathway for the injected fluids, and a large amount of oil that is stored in the matrix is bypassed. Hence, a good understanding of multiphase fluid flow in fractures is required to reduce oil bypass and increase recovery from these reservoirs. This research investigates the effect of heterogeneity and injection rates on oil bypass and also the various techniques used for the improvement of sweep efficiency in heterogeneous systems. Several coreflood experiments were performed using homogeneous and heterogeneous cores and a 4th generation X-Ray CT scanner was used to visualize heterogeneity and fluid flow in the core. Porosity and saturation measurements were made during the course of the experiment. The experimental results indicate that injection rates play a very important role in affecting the recovery process, more so in the presence of fractures. At high injection rates, faster breakthrough of CO2 and higher oil bypass were observed than at low injection rates. But very low injection rates are not attractive from an economic point of view. Hence water viscosified with a polymer was injected directly into the fracture to divert CO2 flow into the matrix and delay breakthrough, similar to the WAG process. Although the breakthrough time reduced considerably, water ??leak off?? into the matrix was very high. To counter this problem, a cross-linked gel was used in the fracture for conformance control. The gel was found to overcome ??leak off?? problems and effectively divert CO2 flow into the matrix. This experimental research will serve to increase the understanding of fluid flow and conformance control methods in fractured reservoirs.