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A Study to Prevent Bottom Water From Coning in Heavy-Oil Reservoirs: Design

and Simulation Approaches

Water coning has been regarded as the biggest problem during oil production
from a reservoir with bottom water. The phenomenon has been known for at
least 100 years. Smith 1 in 1963 and some other previous researchers before
him discussed the theory of water coning.
In the past 100 years, reservoir engineers tried to look for some effective
techniques to control water coning during exploiting oil from reservoirs with
bottom water. Unfortunately, only a few successful oil-field examples were
reported. Wojtanowicz et al. 20 and Shirman and Wojtanowicz 21 reported that
downhole water sink technology is a feasible operation to control water coning.
Moreover, some oil-field examples were given and analyzed in their published
papers. The thought is to design two sinks in one formation TSIOF. One locates
above OWC Sink 1 and the other locates below OWC Sink 2.
As the analysis above, for a heavy reservoir with bottom water, generally, the
critical production rate is too small to gain a profit on its operating cost. If it
keeps a rate above the critical production rate, water coning results in production
with high water-cut. One oil reservoir located in H.K., Shandong, China is a
typical heavy-oil reservoir with bottom water. The specific gravity of degassed
crude oil is 0.988, and the viscosity of degassed crude oil is 7337 mPa s at 20C.
The viscosity of the crude oil under the reservoir condition is 710 mPa s.
Therefore, the ratio of oil viscosity to water viscosity in formation condition is still
quite adverse for water displacement. The current water-cut is up to 90% while
oil recovery is only 1.0%. The object of this paper is to study the feasibility of
TSIOF technology to enhance oil recovery of heavy-oil reservoirs with bottom
Theory Analysis for Water Coning Control
Since water coning is caused by pressure gradients resulting from the sink above
the OWC, pressure gradients in the whole formation can be also modified by a
water sink below the OWC when gravity forces are not high enough to offset the
pressure gradients induced by the sink above the OWC. Therefore, the mutual
actions of the pressure gradients induced by two sinks and gravity forces control
the evolvement of water coning and determine the shape of water coning. The
unique design may restrain water coning or ridging by adjusting two sink
production rates from the completion intervals above and below the OWC and
enlarge the oil draining area, which in turn improves the oil recovery.