A Study on the Mechanism of Urea-assisted Steam Flooding in Heavy Oil Reservoirs

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Zhongyuan Oilfield Branch Company, Sinopec, Puyang, Henan Province, 457001, P.R. of China

2 School of Foreign Languages, Xi’an Shiyou University, Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, 710065, P. R. of China

3 Oil and Gas Development Corporation, Zhongyuan Petroleum Engineering Ltd. Sinopec, Puyang, Henan Province, 457001, P. R. of China

4 School of Petroleum, China University of Petroleum, Qingdao, Shandong Province, 266580, P. R. of China


The Biqian-10 block, located in Henan Oilfield of Sinopic, contains many thin and interbedded reservoirs, which have been operated by cyclic steam stimulation for 20 years or more. Therefore, it is a challenge to implement the conventional steam flooding. In order to improve the recovery of steam flooding, urea was used to assist steam flooding. Urea can decompose into CO2 and NH3, which are beneficial to enhance oil recovery (EOR). For the sake of exactly quantifying the mechanism of urea assisted steam flooding (UASF), the UASF model was built according to the experimental results. The simulation results show that CO2 is the key point for EOR, and its pressurization function is more effective than the decrease in oil viscosity by dissolving CO2. The emulsification of crude oil for NH3 is weak in interfacial tension tests; thus the effect of emulsification can be ignored in the simulation. The UASF can improve the recovery by about 17.4%, which is 6.8% higher than steam flooding.


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