Xinjiang oilfield is located in the Northwest of China, in which large oil reserves have been discovered in reservoirs with very low permeability (<14×10−3μm2). These reservoirs are featured with light oil in moderate depth, high reservoir pressure, but relatively low reservoir temperature (65~78°C) and low oil viscosity (<10mPa•s). Primary production and limited water flooding experience have shown that the recovery factor in these reservoirs is very low due to lack of reservoir energy and poor water injectivity. Gas injection has been optioned as an alternative secondary or tertiary technique to maintain reservoir pressure and/or increase sweeping and displacement efficiency. In this study, the feasibility of air injection via a low temperature oxidation (LTO) process has been studied. Laboratory experiments were focused on LTO characteristics of oil samples at low temperature range and core flooding using air at various reservoir conditions. Reservoir simulation studies were conducted in order to predict the reservoir performance under the air injection scheme and to optimize the operational parameters. The oxygen consumption rates at reservoir temperature and IOR potentials at different reservoir conditions were assessed for a number of selected reservoirs in the region. A pilot project has been designed based on experimental data, reservoir simulation results and field experience of air injection gained in other regions of China. Issues related to safety and corrosion control during air injection and the project economics were also addressed in the paper.

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