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Enhancement of Heavy Oil/bitumen Thermal Recovery Using Nano Metal Particles Open Access


Other title
Steam Stimulation
Thermal Recovery
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hamedi Shokrlu, Yousef
Supervisor and department
Babadagli, Tayfun (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Dong, Mingzhe (Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary)
Yeung, Anthony (Chemical and Material Engineering)
Liu, Yang (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Li, Huazhou (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Kuru, Ergun (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Petroleum Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) and steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) are the most commonly applied techniques used for heavy oil (HO) and bitumen (B) recovery. However, these methods, especially CSS, suffer from low recovery factor and production of highly viscous oil that requires additional up-grading treatment for transportation. The objective of this dissertation is to overcome such problems by application of metal nano-particles as catalysts. During the steam stimulation process, a series of reactions, called aquathermolysis, occur among oil, water and reservoir matrix. These reactions tend to break down the complex and big organosulfur compounds in the asphaltene fraction of the HO/B by cleaving the C-S bonds. Catalyzing these reactions can provide significant upgrading of the oil at the temperature range of steam stimulation. This catalysis can be achieved by using transition metal nano-particles. In this research, nickel, which is commercially used in many catalysis processes in the industry, is used for this purpose. Initially, the interactions of the nickel nano-particles with oil and water at different temperatures are studied, and the effect of the concentration, size and type of the catalyst on the process is evaluated. Next, a methodology is proposed to efficiently stabilize and inject the metal nano-particles into heavy oil reservoirs for catalysis purpose. Also, the degree of catalysis of the aquathermolysis is determined by studying the kinetics of the aquathermolysis and catalytic aquathermolysis of heavy oil. Finally, the effect of this catalysis on the recovery factor of the model cyclic steam stimulation is studied experimentally. In addition to steam injection dominated by aquathermolysis reactions, the influence of the nickel ionic solution on the low temperature oxidation during in-situ combustion is studied through TGA-FTIR and kinetic analysis. It is concluded that the quality of the produced oil can be significantly improved by using the nickel nano-particles during steam stimulation or in-situ combustion. The recovery factor of the above mentioned recovery processes also increases due to decreasing oil viscosity in the reservoir by catalysis. This method can significantly improve the economics of the thermal heavy oil recovery projects and decrease the complexities of heavy oil transportation and ex-situ upgrading.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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