Production Mechanisms in Heavy Oil Waterflooding

Nadez, I., Bryan, J. and Kantzas, A.

WHOC11-554, presented at the 2011 World Heavy Oil Congress, 2011.


In the oil industry, waterflooding can be used to enhance oil recovery. Although the theory of immiscible displacement can model conventional oil waterflooding, it cannot correctly model heavy oil systems. The purpose of this research is to develop a better understanding of the production mechanisms in heavy oil waterflooding. Several different sandpacks saturated with heavy oil were flooded with water at different injection rates and computerized tomography was used to analyze their effects. Results showed that low injection rates reduce viscous forces and oil recovery rate increased by up to 6% after breakthrough. In addition it was determined that imbibition can occur co-currently or counter-currently. This study provided a better understanding on the mechanisms of heavy oil waterflooding but further work is required to find the effect of permeability on injection rates and the optimal combination of fast and slow injection.

A full version of this paper is available on ETDE Web Online.