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Tight Oil and Water Flooding

Overview

The Tight Oil and Water Flooding team develops in-situ recovery processes for conventional heavy oil, tight oil, and shale gas.

The Tight Oil and Water Flooding team operates under the Oil and Gas sector.

InnoTech Alberta supports a number of enhanced oil recovery projects in Alberta and internationally. The experienced gained through international projects and relationships, provides opportunities to identify technologies that could potentially be applied to Alberta reserves to improve recovery.

Gas and miscible flooding

The most promising use of COEOR is for miscible flooding. In Canada experience is limited, but worldwide there are 25+ years of such applications in more than 75 large-scale projects.

InnoTech is working on technologies to bring CO2 EOR to Alberta, including joint industry projects to research technical challenges, including:

  • Increasing recoverable reserves
  • Leveraging investment with Alberta royalty credits for CO2 injection and CO2 storage projects
  • Reducing greenhouse gases

Improved water floods

Toe-to-heel waterflooding is a gravity stable short-distance displacement process. A vertical injector, perforated at the lower part of the layer, injects water and pushes the oil towards the horizontal producer, placed at the upper part of the layer with the toe towards the vertical injector.

A very promising technology, lab results have shown incremental oil recovery of up to 31% original oil in place. InnoTech is now working with several operators to field test this technology.

Benefits of toe-to-heel waterflooding:

  • Increased ultimate oil recovery
  • Uses existing vertical wells
  • Easy control of the operation (water breakthrough always at the tow)
  • Less sensitive to rock heterogeneity
  • More possibilities for optimization of design and production operation
  • Increased water injectivity

Toe-to-heel waterflooding is also best used in the poorest conditions for conventional waterflooding:

  • Large pay thickness
  • Upward finning trend (downward permeability increase)
  • High permeability streak at the bottom of the formation
  • High density contrast between injected water and produced oil (e.g. high salinity injected water

Polymer floods

Polymers are used to viscosify the injected water, which generates a more piston-like displacement of the heavy oil. Polymer flooding is proving to be a lucrative secondary/tertiary recovery method. Three field pilots are underway in Alberta, and more companies are looking to use polymer flooding to increase recovery.

Benefits of polymer flooding:

  • Increased recovery and sweep efficiency
  • Less water use compared to conventional waterflooding technology
  • Can be used in thin heavy oil formations with low viscosity where SAGD and VAPEX are not suitable


For more information, contact:

Fred Wassmuth
Team Lead
Tight Oil and Water Flooding
403.210.5204
fred.wassmuth@innotechalberta.ca