Mechanistic Prediction of Foam Displacement in Multidimensions: A Population Balance Approach

by A. R. Kovscek, Tadeusz W. Patzek, C. J. Radke
Year: 1994


Kovscek, A. R., T. W. Patzek, and C. J. Radke. "Mechanistic prediction of foam displacement in multidimensions: A population balance approach." In SPE/DOE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium. Society of Petroleum Engineers, 1994.


The high mobility of typical gases used in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques impairs ultimate oil recovery. Foamed gas, though, is a promising agent for achieving mobility control in porous media. Because reservoir-scale simulation is a vital component of the engineering and economic evaluation of any EOR project, efficient application of foam as a displacement fluid requires a predictive numerical model. Unfortunately, no such model is currently available for foam injection in the field.
We have incorporate a conservation equation for the number density of foam bubbles into an implicit, three-dimensional, compositional, and thermal reservoir simulator and created a fully functional, mechanistic foam simulator. Because foam mobility is a strong function of bubble texture, the bubble population balance is necessary to make accurate predictions of foam flow behavior. Foam generation and destruction are included through rate expressions that depend on saturations and surfactant concentration. Gas relative permeability and effective viscosity are modified according to the texture of foam bubbles. In this paper, we explore from flow in radial, layered, and heterogeneous porous media. Simulations in radial geometries indicate that foam can be formed deep within rock formations, but that the rate of propagation is slow. Foam proves effective ill controlling gas mobility in layered porous media. Significant flow diversion and sweep improvement by foam are predicted, regardless of whether the layers are coinmunicating or isolated.