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Numerical simulation of diverse thermal in situ upgrading processes for the hydrocarbon production from kerogen in oil shale reservoirs

  • Author(s): Lee, KJ
  • Moridis, GJ
  • Ehlig-Economides, CA
  • et al.

Published Web Location

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0144598716689354
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Abstract

© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. We investigate the productivity and product selectivity of diverse thermal in situ upgrading processes in oil shale reservoirs. In situ upgrading processes applying the ideas of Shell In situ Conversion Process, ExxonMobil Electrofrac, and Texas A&M Steamfrac are simulated by using sector models with the assumption of symmetric patterns. In-house fully functional simulator is used, which has been developed for the kerogen pyrolysis and hydrocarbon production. In the simulation cases, sensitivity analyses to the factors having major influence on the productivity and product selectivity are conducted. The effects of the temperature of vertical heaters, the spacing of hydraulic fractures, and the position of horizontal production wells are analyzed in the applied In situ Conversion Process, Electrofrac, and Steamfrac, respectively. In the applied In situ Conversion Process cases, hydrocarbon production increases with the increasing heater temperature. In the applied Electrofrac cases, hydrocarbon production increases with the increasing spacing of hydraulic fractures, even though longer time period for the process is needed. In the applied Steamfrac cases, the case of production well located at the same depth to the injection well shows the least hydrocarbon production. Among the processes, the applied In situ Conversion Process cases show the highest weight percentage of total hydrocarbon components in the produced fluid, and the applied Electrofrac cases follow it. The applied Steamfrac cases show far lower weight percentage of hydrocarbon production than the other methods. In terms of the mass ratio of produced hydrocarbon to decomposed kerogen, the applied Steamfrac cases show the largest value among the processes by aqueous phase sweeping liquid organic phase, but they also show the huge water oil mass ratio by the continuous injection of hot water. All the applied In situ Conversion Process cases and the Electrofrac case with the short spacing of hydraulic fractures show good heating efficiency by decomposing whole kerogen in the system.

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