Flue gas injection into light oil reservoirs could be a cost-effective gas displacement method for enhanced oil recovery, especially in low porosity and low permeability reservoirs. The flue gas could be generated in situ as obtained from the spontaneous ignition of oil when air is injected into a high temp erature reservoir, or injected directly into the reservoir from some surface source. When operating at high pressures commonly found in deep light oil reservoirs, the flue gas may become miscible or near miscible with the reservoir oil, thereby displacing it more efficiently than an immiscible gas flood. Some successful high pressure air injection (HPAI) projects have been reported in low permeability and low porosity light oil reservoirs. Spontaneous oil ignition was reported in these projects, at least from laboratory experiments; however, the mechanism by which the generated flue gas displaces the oil has not been discussed in clear terms in the literature. An experimental investigation was carried out to study the mechanism by which flue gases displace light oil at a reservoir temperature of 116 °C and typical reservoir pressures ranging from 4,028 psi (27.77 MPa) to 6,680 psi (46.06 MPa). The results showed that the flue gases displaced the oil in a forward contacting process resembling a combined vaporizing and condensing multi-contact gas drive mechanism. The flue gases also became near-miscible with the oil at elevated pressures, an indication that high pressure flue gas (or air) injection is a cost-effective process for enhanced recovery of light oils, compared to rich gas or water injection, with the potential of sequestering greenhouse gases.

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