PAPERS & PUBLICATIONS

Papers

A Novel On-Chip Oil Swelling Measurement Platform for Gas Injection EOR Processes

Z. Barikbin, S. Ahitan, J. Genereux, and A. Abedini, Interface Fluidics Ltd., Calgary, Canada; F. Ungar and T. Yang,Equinor ASA, Stavanger, Norway; E. Wanat and Z. Li, ExxonMobil, Houston, USA; H. Alboudwarej and J. Burger,Chevron Technical Center, a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Houston, USA

SPE-218253-MS,  April 2024

A B S T R A C T
Oil swelling test data is essential to tune the EOS models to simulate gas injection EOR processes and evaluate the reservoir-scale recovery performances. PVT cells are typically used to measure this property; however, it may involve some challenges with runtime, fluid handling, and test operations. Here, a high-pressure high-temperature microfluidic approach is developed to measure the oil swelling in response to gas exposure under step-wise increasing pressure with different injection gas mole fractions. 

A Novel Method to Measure the Phase Behavior of Black Oils: Saturation Pressure and Liquid-Vapor Fractions

S. Ahitan, A. Abedini, and T. Latorre, Interface Fluidics Ltd., Calgary, Canada; E. Wanat, Z. Li, and M. Velasquez,ExxonMobil, Houston, USA; H. Alboudwarej and J. Burger, Chevron Technical Center, a division of Chevron U.S.A.Inc., Houston, USA; F. Ungar and T. Yang, Equinor ASA, Stavanger, Norway

SPE-214948-MS,  October 2023

A B S T R A C T
Building a robust PVT model critically relies on accurate phase behavior data which has been traditionally obtained using PVT cells. While the PVT cell can provide accurate data, it requires a large volume of downhole or recombined samples which are usually expensive to collect. A novel microfluidic chip design and method is presented in this work to rapidly measure bubble point and liquid-vapor volume fractions of black oil systems at multiple pressures and temperatures.

Large-Scale High-Throughput Sensitivity Analysis of CO2 MMP to Optimize Gas Injection EOR Processes

A. Abedini, Z. Qi, T. de Haas, and D. O’Brian, Interface Fluidics Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, Canada

SPE-216683-MS,  October 2023

A B S T R A C T
Performance of CO2 injection relies on accurate CO2 MMP/miscibility data at reservoir conditions. The CO2 stream typically contains gas impurities, and in most cases CO2 is combined with recycled gasses, which in either case the MMP changes – imposing additional uncertainties to deviate from expected CO2-MMP. Slim-tube is the most reliable tool; however, it is very time- and capital-intensive, making it impossible to provide high-throughput data to assess the impact of other gasses. 

Learnings from the Planning and Execution of a Heavy Oil Polymer Flood Pilot in North Saskatchewan, Canada

Duilio Raffa, Baytex Energy Corp.; Ali Abedini, Interface Fluidics Limited

SPE-212760-MS,  March 2023

A B S T R A C T
The oil recovery in Section 14-50-25W3 (province of Saskatchewan, Canada) has evolved through multiple stages as technology has changed over time. Oil was initially produced through vertical wells beginning in the early 1970s. In the 2010s horizontal drilling was established and the Lloydminster sandstone formation was produced on primary with horizontal wells. In 2014 the secondary waterflooding was implemented. At the beginning of 2018 a tertiary polymer flood was implemented and is still running (year 2022).

Microfluidic-Based Optimization of Polymer flooding for Heavy Oil Recovery

Zhenbang Qi, Xingyu Fan, and Ali Abedini, Interface Fluidics Limited; Duilio Raffa, Baytex Energy Corp

SPE-212758-MS,  March 2023

A B S T R A C T
Polymer flooding has been implemented in Western Canada, specifically in Saskatchewan and Alberta since 2000s. Flooding with polymer has been more effective than with water in heavy oil reservoirs due to a more favorable mobility ratio, resulting in more a stable front and less fingering. Optimization of polymer flood strategies is essential for successful implementation of field-scale operations. Core and sand-pack flood testing have been a reliable method for laboratory evaluation of different injection methods and chemicals as the cores are representative of the reservoir geometries and rock chemistries.

Microfluidic Pore-scale Analysis of Polymer Flooding Effects of Polymer Molecular Weight and Viscosity

Z. Qi, X. Fan, O. Serediak, A. Abedini, P. Ghosh and R. Wilton

 Second EAGE Workshop on EOR in Latin America, Oct 2022, Volume 2022, p.1 – 7

A B S T R A C T
Polymer flooding is a widely applied EOR method to increase oil recovery from heavy oil reservoirs by improving the mobility and conformance control of the displacement process. Core and sandpack floodings have been mostly applied to evaluate the polymer flooding performance for a given reservoir; but the associated pore-scale dynamics with varying polymer MW and chemistry remains unclear in these experiments. Hence, a synergistic approach of coreflood testing along with visual experiments can provide the detailed insight of polymer flow behavior and performance. 

Bioremediation Study on Formation Damage Caused by Hydraulic Fracturing: A Microfluidic Approach

Songyuan Liu, Chao-yu Sie, Fatee Malekahmadi, Bo Lu, and Yifan Li, Rockwater Energy Solutions; Cara Fan,Xinyue Zhang, Owen Serediak, Jelayne Fortin, and Ali Abedini, Interface Fluidics Ltd

SPE-210089-MS,  October 2022

A B S T R A C T
Hydraulic fracturing has been applied to unconventional reservoirs with low permeability to achieve higher productivity and economic potential. However, polyacrylamide-based friction reducer and guar gum, two of the most common components in fracturing fluid could cause formation damage by penetrating into the matrix and blocking the flow path. To regain the conductivity of the damaged area, a bioremediation method was developed and validated by a microfluidic approach. Modified nutrients were used to stimulate the indigenous bacteria that could consume or break the polymer residues.

Effects of thief zones on displacement efficiency: Microfluidic pore-scale

ZhenBang Qi, Scott Pierobon, Owen Serediak, Jonathon Le, Adam Pettigrew, Ali Abedini
Fuel
Volume 316, 15 May 2022, 123371

A B S T R A C T
Thief zones are regions with high permeability, usually formed in mature or depleted reservoirs after water flooding, which can further reduce the overall recovery during subsequent EOR stages. While existing conformance control solutions alleviate the impact of thief zones, selecting an optimal solution based on current laboratory methods is challenging, since current methods fail to isolate the impact of thief zones, lack tight control of initial conditions, and use long evaluation times as well as large sample volumes.

A new fluidics method to determine minimum miscibility pressure

Frode Ungar, Sourabh Ahitan, Shawn Worthing, Ali Abedini, Knut Uleberg, Tao Yang
Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Volume 208, Part B, January 2022, 209415​

A B S T R A C T
Micro and nano-fluidic devices have attracted increasing attention in the oil industry. In this study, we designed a new slim-tube method to determine MMP on a microfluidic chip. The design is significantly different from previous efforts on fluidics chips with an open flowing tube. The new design contains porous media similar to that found in the slim-tube apparatus. The objective is to produce a true multi-contact process in the gas displacement. We tested the new fluidics device at reservoir conditions with three reservoir oils displaced by two hydrocarbon gases and CO2 gas.

Screening High-Temperature Foams with Microfluidics for Thermal Recovery Processes

Thomas W. de Haas, Bo Bao, Hugo Acosta Ramirez, Ali Abedini, and David Sinton

Energy Fuels 2021, 35, 7866−7873

A B S T R A C T
Thermal recovery processes, and in particular, Steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), are the most common and practical in situ technology for bitumen extraction. While SAGD is effective, steam injection results in poor steam chamber growth and distribution with poor conformance specifically in areas with poor formation geology and bedding properties. These factors result in economic and environmental costs.

High-temperature high-pressure microfluidic system for rapid screening of superficial CO2 foaming agents

Ayrat Gizzatov, Scott Pierobon, Zuhair AlYousef, Guoqing Jain, Xingyu Fan, Ali Abedini & Amr I. Abdel-fattah 
Scientific Reports
11, Article number 3360 (2021)

A B S T R A C T
CO2 foam helps to increase the viscosity of CO2 flood fluid and thus improve the process efficiency of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas’s subsurface utilization and sequestration. Successful CO2 foam formation mandates the development of high-performance chemicals at close to reservoir conditions, which in turn requires extensive laboratory tests and evaluations. This work demonstrates the utilization of a microfluidic reservoir analogue for rapid evaluation and screening of commercial surfactants (i.e., Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Tallow Amine Ethoxylate, N,N,N′ Trimethyl-N′-Tallow-1,3-diaminopropane, and Sodium Alpha Olefin Sulfonate) based on their performance to produce supercritical CO2 foam at high salinity, temperature, and pressure conditions.

Visualization of Flowback Aid Mechanisms Utilizing a Microfluidic Pore-Scale Device

Ginger Ren, Stepan Oilfield Solutions; Ali Abedini, Interface Fluidics Ltd.; Hyuntae Yang and Aaron Sanders,Stepan Oilfield Solutions

SPE-199269-MS,  February 2020

A B S T R A C T
Using flowback additives in slickwater fracturing fluids is a relatively recent innovation, and regained permeability testing using corefloods is the preferred performance evaluation method. The coreflood rig simulates the hydraulic fracturing process by injecting the fracturing fluid through a core under relevant pressure and temperature conditions, and measures the permeability and relative permeability changes during injection. Permeability measurements indicate whether the fracturing fluid damages the formation during hydraulic fracturing that in turn reduces oil productivity during flowback.

Nanofluidic Analysis of Flowback Enhancers for the Permian Basin:Unconventional Method for Unconventional Rock

Harvey Quintero, ChemTerra Innovation; Ali Abedini, Interface Fluidics Limited; Mike Mattucci and Bill O’Neil,ChemTerra Innovation; Raphael Wust, AGAT Laboratories; Robert Hawkes, Trican Well Service LTD; Thomas De Hass and Am Toor, Interface Fluidics Limited

SPE-195880-MS,  October 2019

A B S T R A C T
For optimizing and enhancing hydrocarbon recovery from unconventional plays, the technological race is currently focused on development and production of state-of-the-art surfactants that reduce inter facial tension to mitigate obstructive capilary forces and thus increase the relative permeability to hydrocarbon(kro). This study provides insight into the pore-scale evaluation of the latest flowback enhancer technologies currently applied in the Permian Basin, Texas, USA. A multidisciplinary approach, including concepts of nanotechnology, was used to assess fluid-fluid and rock-fluid interactions occurring at the nanopore scale and their implications on enhancing oil recovery.

A Set of Successful Chemical EOR Trials in Permian Basin: Promising Field and Laboratory Results

Mehrnoosh Moradi Bidhendi, Mahdi Kazempour, Uwana Ibanga, Duy Nguyen, Justin Arruda, Mike Lantz, Cooper Mazon, NALCO Champion, an Ecolab Company

URTEC-2019-881-MS,  July 2019

A B S T R A C T
Unconventional liquid reservoirs are currently one of the most important sources of oil in North America. Oil production experiences a rapid decline in these reservoirs and this has been a major issue faced by many operators. Low oil recovery has been attributed to ultralow permeability, low porosity and oil-wet nature of the reservoir rock. Hence, wettability alteration using chemicals could provide a viable chemical enhanced oil recovery method (cEOR) to increase oil production from these reservoirs.

Novel Oil Flow Enhancement Chemistry for Unconventional Formations Evaluated and Optimized by Cutting-Edge Methodology

E. Cambre, A. Abedini, X. Zhang; K. Boyle, E. Hughes 

URTEC-2019-648-MS,  July 2019

A B S T R A C T
The objective of this paper is to present a new innovative methodology that can be used to develop and evaluate the efficacy of enhanced flowback chemistries such as a novel
oil-based surface modifier. This unique chemistry has been optimized to penetrate into the nanonetwork of formations, such as the Wolfcamp, with pore throat sizes as low as 110 nm at pressure differentials of only 225 psi, thereby demonstrating the ability to increase the volume of oil recovered during flowback by 250% and increasing the average producing flowrate by 194% during testing.

Measurement of Propane and Butane Diffusion into Heavy Oil using Microfluidics – Is Small Better?

Hongying Zhao; Scott Pierobon; Adam Pettigrew; Jacques Doan-Prevost; Olivier-Francois Garnier; Thomas de Haas

SPE-193015-MS,  November 2018

A B S T R A C T
A common issue in thermal oil recovery is that a high-permeability path in the reservoir diverts steam from reaching the bulk of the pay region. Injection of thermal foams is an effective approach to improve the oil recovery factor by increasing the effective viscosity of gas phase. Conducting conventional laboratory testing on thermal foams is time consuming, often not representative of field conditions, and delivers limited amount of data. 

Rapid Microfluidic Analysis of Thermal Foam Stability at 250 Degrees Celsius

Bo Bao; Aaron Sanders; Ginger Ren; Thomas de Haas

SPE-18895-MS,  November 2017

A B S T R A C T
A common issue in thermal oil recovery is that a high-permeability path in the reservoir diverts steam from reaching the bulk of the pay region. Injection of thermal foams is an effective approach to improve the oil recovery factor by increasing the effective viscosity of gas phase. Conducting conventional laboratory testing on thermal foams is time consuming, often not representative of field conditions, and delivers limited amount of data. 

Publications

Sensitivity Analysis of CO2 Minimum Miscibility Pressure Optimizes Gas‑Injection EOR

Journal of Petroleum Technology,  June 1, 2024

A B S T R A C T
The authors present an efficient microfluidic platform to measure high-quality minimum miscibility pressure data of CO2 with various impurities faster and easier. 

Interface Fluidics Announces Joint Industry Project with Equinor and ExxonMobil to Bring PVT Testing Into the Field

Business Wire,  January 18, 2022

A B S T R A C T
CALGARY, Alberta–Two months after closing a Series B fundraise, Interface Fluidics has announced a joint industry project (JIP) with Equinor and ExxonMobil to accelerate the deployment of the world’s first compact, rapid fluid screening equipment for oil and gas. Essentially a portable laboratory, this technology will revolutionize pressure-volume-temperature (PVT) testing, an essential part of the exploration and production process for the oil and gas industry.

Can Fracturing Chemicals Hurt Production? There Are Some Good Reasons To Think So

Journal of Petroleum Technology,  September 9, 2021

A B S T R A C T
The obsession with better hydraulic fracturing has steadily pushed on shale production in year one, but the decline remains steep. Chemistry could help explain, and perhaps extend, the short productive life of these wells.

Inside a Venture-Backed Tech Company’s Dash To Make Oilfield Fluid Testing More Accessible

Journal of Petroleum Technology,  March 10, 2021

A B S T R A C T
Microfluidics—the study of fluid interaction in micro- or nanometer-sized channels—is a science that has existed in the biomedical field for decades. In fact, it is used quite extensively in many everyday objects, such as pregnancy tests or inkjet printers. Only more recently has the science been broadly adopted in the energy sector. Microfluidics, fluid mechanics, and fluid transport have been studied extensively in academia, and it is from these academic labs that brilliant ideas give way to potential commercial success.

Micro-Slimtube Shrinks EOR Screening From Months to a Week

Journal of Petroleum Technology,  February 9, 2021

A B S T R A C T
Interface Fluidics carved out a niche for itself in the oilfield testing sector a few years ago with a new alternative to coreflooding. Now, along with Equinor, the Calgary-based company is taking on another industry laboratory stalwart: the slimtube test.

Oilfield testing firm Interface Fluidics says it is one step closer to reinventing the industry’s pressure-volume-temperature (PVT) testing portfolio after the development of a smaller, faster version of yet another laboratory stalwar

Reservoir-on-a-Chip Technology Opens a New Window Into Oilfield Chemistry

Trent Jacobs

Journal of Petroleum Technology, December 31, 2018

A B S T R A C T
An oil and gas startup has attracted the business with a major operator thanks to its ability to forecast whether production-enhancing chemicals will work as advertised.

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