Gas is very efficient in displacing oil for enhanced-oil-recovery projects because of its high microscopic-displacement efficiency. However, the process at the reservoir scale suffers from poor sweep efficiency due to density and viscosity differences compared to in-situ fluids. Foam substantially reduces the viscosity of injected gas and hence improves the sweep. Foam rheology in 3D geological porous media has been characterized both theoretically and experimentally. In contrast, the knowledge of foam flow in fractured porous media is far less complete.

We study foam rheology in a fully characterized model fracture. This investigation is conducted by varying superficial velocities of gas and surfactant solution. We find in this model fracture the same two foam-flow regimes central to the understanding of foam in 3D porous media: a low-quality regime where pressure gradient is independent of liquid velocity and a high-quality regime where pressure gradient is independent of gas velocity. The transition between regimes is less abrupt than in 3D porous media. Direct observation of bubble size, bubble trapping and mobilization, and foam stability as functions of superficial velocities allows comparison with our understanding of the mechanisms behind the two flow regimes in 3D porous media. Additionally, foam is shear-thinning in both regimes. But in other important respects the mechanisms thought to be behind the two flow regimes in 3D media do not appear in our model fracture. Foam is not at the limit of stability in the high-quality regime. Mobility in the high-quality regime instead reflects reduced and fluctuating foam generation at high foam quality.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Allan, J., & Sun, S. Q.
    (2003). SPE-84590-MS. Controls on Recovery Factor in Fractured Reservoirs: Lessons Learned from 100 Fractured Fields.Paper presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.5 – 8 October 2003.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. AlQuaimi, B. I., & Rossen, W. R.
    (2017a). Capillary Desaturation Curve for Residual Nonwetting Phase in Natural Fractures. Submitted to International Journal of Multiphase Flow.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. (2017b). Study of foam generation and propagation in fully characterized physical-model fracture. manuscript in preparation.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Alvarez, J. M., Rivas, H. J., & Rossen, W. R.
    (2001). Unified Model for Steady-State Foam Behavior at High and Low Foam Qualities. SPE journal. doi:10.2118/74141‑PA
    https://doi.org/10.2118/74141-PA [Google Scholar]
  5. Buchgraber, M., Castanier, L. M., & Kovscek, A. R.
    (2012). Microvisual investigation of foam flow in ideal fractures: role of fracture aperture and surface roughness.Paper presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Chen, C. Y., Horne, R. N., & Fourar, M.
    (2004). Experimental study of liquid-gas flow structure effects on relative permeabilities in a fracture. Water resources research, 40(8).
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Ferno, M. A., Gauteplass, J., Pancharoen, M., Haugen, Å., Graue, A., Kovscek, A. R., & Hirasaki, G.
    (2016). Experimental Study of Foam Generation, Sweep Efficiency, and Flow in a Fracture Network. SPE journal, 21(4), 1140. doi:10.2118/170840‑PA
    https://doi.org/10.2118/170840-PA [Google Scholar]
  8. Fjelde, I., Zuta, J., & Duyilemi, O. V.
    (2008). Oil Recovery from Matrix during CO2-Foam Flooding of Fractured Carbonate Oil Reservoirs.Paper presented at the Europec/EAGE Conference and Exhibition, 9–12 June 2008, Rome, Italy.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Hakami, E., & Larsson, E.
    (1996). Aperture measurements and flow experiments on a single natural fracture. Paper presented at the International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences & Geomechanics Abstracts.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Haugen, Å., Mani, N., Svenningsen, S., Brattekås, B., Graue, A., Ersland, G., & Ferno, M. A.
    (2014). Miscible and immiscible foam injection for mobility control and EOR in fractured oil-wet carbonate rocks. Transport in porous media, 104(1), 109–131.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Khatib, Z., Hirasaki, G., & Falls, A.
    (1988). Effects of capillary pressure on coalescence and phase mobilities in foams flowing through porous media. SPE reservoir engineering, 3(03), 919–926.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Kovscek, A., Tretheway, D., Persoff, P., & Radke, C.
    (1995). Foam flow through a transparent rough-walled rock fracture. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 13(2), 75–86.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Prigiobbe, V., Worthen, A. J., Johnston, K. P., Huh, C., & Bryant, S. L.
    (2016). Transport of Nanoparticle-Stabilized CO $_2$ 2 -Foam in Porous Media. Transport in porous media, 111(1), 265–285. doi:10.1007/s11242‑015‑0593‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11242-015-0593-7 [Google Scholar]
  14. Rabbani, A., Jamshidi, S., & Salehi, S.
    (2014). An automated simple algorithm for realistic pore network extraction from micro-tomography Images. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 123, 164–171.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Ransohoff, T., & Radke, C.
    (1988). Mechanisms of foam generation in glass-bead packs. SPE reservoir engineering, 3(02), 573–585.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Rossen, W. R., & Wang, M. W.
    (1999). Modeling Foams for Acid Diversion. SPE journal, 4(2), 92–100. doi:10.2118/56396‑PA
    https://doi.org/10.2118/56396-PA [Google Scholar]
  17. Steinsbø, M., Brattekås, B., Ersland, G., Bø, K., Opdal, I., Tunli, R., Graue, A., & Fernø, M.
    (2015). Foam as mobility control for integrated CO2-EOR in fractured carbonates. Paper presented at the IOR 2015-18th European Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, Dresden, Germany 14–16 April 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Witherspoon, P. A., Wang, J. S., Iwai, K., & Gale, J. E.
    (1980). Validity of cubic law for fluid flow in a deformable rock fracture. Water resources research, 16(6), 1016–1024.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error