Prediction of Effective Diffusion and Dispersion Coefficients, Considering Different Flow and Heterogeneity Properties of Porous Media

Taheri, S., Abedi, J. and Kantzas, A.

DOI: 10.2118/165520-MS
SPE 165520, presented at the SPE Heavy Oil Conference, held in Calgary, Alberta, June 11-13, 2013.


Heavy oil and bitumen are important hydrocarbon resources that are destined to play an increasingly significant role in the oil supply of the world. The total heavy oil resources are estimated to be about 10 trillion barrels, nearly three times the conventional oil in place in the world. The efficient and economic recovery of heavy oil and bitumen reserves is a crucial technical challenge. Most of these reserves lie deep inside the earth’s crust and are not easily recoverable owing to their very high viscosity. Hydrocarbon solvent-based processes are thought to be effective EOR technologies for heavy oil and bitumen production.

An important feature of the miscible fluid displacement is the mixing of the solvent and oil. This mixing occurs on the microscopic scale and result from the diffusion and dispersion process. Mixing effect has positive and negative effects on the miscible process. It could exerts a considerable damping effect on the growth of viscous and gravity fingers as an advantage of the dispersion and diffusion and on the other hand mixing of the solvent with oil in a reservoir decreases the effective strength of the solvent, which can have annoying effect on the miscibility and recovery efficiency. So, correct treatment of this mixing effect within the simulation of the miscible recovery process is very important.

Mixing of the solvent and oil is governed by the diffusion and dispersion coefficients. For measuring these coefficients, we must depend largely on experimental measurements of them, because no universal theory permits their accurate a priori calculation. There are many influencing parameters on the mixing process during solvent injection into porous media. Designing an experiment to investigate all the effective parameters is extremely difficult (if not impossible) and time consuming. So, based on the sub-pore scale modeling method, a special program has been developed to investigate the mass transfer process in any porous medium, considering all medium properties. A realistic image of the porous medium without any simplification is directly used in the program.

Developed program used the porous medium image directly, so, heterogeneity effect could be investigated. Pore and throat size distributions, as an important heterogeneous parameter, has a unique effect on the diffusion and dispersion coefficients. A comprehensive study of the pore and throat size distribution effect on the mixing coefficients will be presented in this paper.

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