Retrieval of Solvent Injected During Heavy-Oil Recovery in Heterogeneous Porous Media: Pore Scale Analysis through Micro Model Experiments

  • Author / Creator
    Cui, Jingwen
  • Solvent retrieval is essential for the economics of the solvent-related heavy-oil recovery technologies. In fractured and oil-wet reservoirs, water-flooding followed by solvent is not suitable to achieve this goal. Two methods can be proposed as solution to solvent retrieval in complex reservoirs: (1) Thermal: Hot water or steam injection to vaporize the solvent; (2) Chemical: Addition of surface active agents to alter wettability for effective matrix-fracture transfer. This thesis aimed to investigate the mechanics of these two methods at the pore-scale. A series of experiments using heterogeneous micro-models were designed for this purpose. The process of solvent vaporization and entrapment during heating followed by solvent injection was evaluated using the images obtained from the experiments. Evaluations were made using the parameters (pore size, wettability, interfacial tension, and solvent type) in the Thomson equation. The nucleation of solvent and the distribution of fluids/phases emerged through this process were qualitatively analyzed. Suitable application conditions (temperature, heating source location) for different solvent types and wettability were determined. Next, selected chemicals (conventional surfactants and new generation –nano-chemicals) were tested as an alternative to solvent injection to recover heavy-oil and as a material to retrieve the solvent instead of applying heat injection methods. Proper chemical types were identified for effective solvent retrieval and heavy-oil recovery from different wettability conditions and solvent types.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.