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Arguelles-Vivas F.J.,University of Alberta | Babadagli T.,University of Alberta | Little L.,Oak Point Energy Ltd. | Romaniuk N.,Apex Engineering Inc. | Ozum B.,Apex Engineering Inc.
Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data | Year: 2012

As an alternative to solvent addition to the steam-assisted gravity drainage process for bitumen recovery, coinjection of biodiesel with steam as a surfactant additive to reduce bitumen-water interfacial tension was considered. The density and viscosity of bitumen and bitumen-pentane mixtures up to 15 % pentane concentrations by mass were measured at a 1 MPa pressure and up to 448 K temperature. The interfacial tension between bitumen, bitumen-pentane mixtures up to 15 % pentane concentrations, bitumen-biodiesel mixtures up to 0.3 % and water, and process water was also measured at a 1 MPa pressure and up to 423 K temperature. Laboratory tests showed that the density of bitumen-pentane mixtures decreased linearly with an increase in pentane content, and their viscosity decreased exponentially with the increase in temperature. A decrease in bitumen viscosity with an increase in pentane content was dramatic at low temperatures and became less sensitive at temperatures above 373 K. Interfacial tension measurements suggest that asphaltic acids naturally occurring in bitumen act as surfactants. The decay in interfacial tension with time is attributed to the diffusion of surfactant species in a bitumen droplet. The increase in interfacial tension of bitumen-pentane mixtures and water with an increase in pentane content and temperature needs further attention because of its commercial application. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Er V.,University of Alberta | Er V.,Apex Engineering Inc. | Er V.,Middle East Technical University | Babadagli T.,University of Alberta | And 3 more authors.
SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering | Year: 2010

CO2 injection has been applied in naturally fractured reservoirs (NFRs) for the purpose of enhanced oil recovery (i.e., the Wey-burn and Midale fields, Canada; the Wasson and Slaughter fields, USA; and the Bati Raman field, Turkey). The matrix part of these types of reservoirs could potentially be a good storage medium as well. Understanding the matrix/fracture interaction during this process and the dynamics of the flow in this dual-porosity system requires visual analyses. We mimicked fully miscible CO2 injection in NFRs using 2D models with a single fracture and oil (solute)/hydrocarbon solvent pairs. The focus was on the visual pore-scale analysis of miscibility interaction, breakthrough of solvent through fracture, transfer between matrix and fracture, and the dynamics of miscible displacement inside the matrix. First, matrix/fracture interaction was studied intensively using 2D glass-bead models experimentally. The model was prepared using acrylic sheets and glass beads saturated with oil as a porous medium while a narrow gap of 1-mm size containing filter paper served as a fracture. The first contact miscible solvent (pentane) was injected into the fracture, and the flow distribution was monitored using an image-acquisition and -processing system. The produced solvent and solute were continuously analyzed for compositional study. The effects of several parameters, such as flow rate, viscosity ratio (oil/solvent), and gravity, were studied. Next, the process was modeled numerically using a commercial compositional simulator, and the saturation distribution in the matrix was matched to experimental data. The key parameters in the matching process were the effective diffusion coefficients and the longitudinal and the transverse dispersivities. The diffusion coefficients were specified for each fluid, and dispersivities were assigned into gridblocks separately for the fracture and the matrix. Copyright © 2010 Society of Petroleum Engineers.


Yates T.J.,Apex Engineering Inc. | Sullivan-Green L.,San Jose State University
Practice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction | Year: 2013

This paper focuses on the analysis and design of foundations on clayey (elastic) soils in the San Francisco/San Pablo Bay area. Many of these soils have mild to moderate expansive properties that still allow the use of shallow T-footings (strip footings). Although suitable for strip footings, the clayey soils deform under structural loads, causing settlement. This deformation causes internal forces in the reinforced T-footing which need to be properly accounted for in design. Three local methods are examined and compared with respect to their assumptions, conservatism, and appropriateness of use. These methods are the spanability method, the bearing capacity method, and the FEM. Although the spanability and bearing capacity methods are deemed adequate by local building officials and design engineers, this paper recommends the use of a more accurate method for design and analysis such as FEM to properly account for structural loads within the T-footings. © 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers.


Naderi K.,Apex Engineering Inc. | Romaniuk N.,Apex Engineering Inc. | Little L.,Vantage Energy Consultants Ltd. | Arguelles-Vivas F.J.,University of Alberta | Ozum B.,Apex Engineering Inc.
Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering | Year: 2015

Over 80% of Athabasca, Alberta, Canada oil sands deposits are suitable for in-situ bitumen recovery processes. Steam assisted gravity drainage and cyclic steam stimulation processes are commercially implemented with current bitumen production capacity of about 850,000. bbl/d, which is projected to exceed 5000,000. bbl/d in the next two decades. Efficiency of these processes would be improved by reducing the steam-to-bitumen ratio. For this purpose addition of light hydrocarbons into steam as a solvent to reduce bitumen viscosity has been studied for decades with a limited commercial success. As an alternate strategy to solvent co-injection with steam, reduction of bitumen-water interfacial tension by co-injection of a surfactant, such as biodiesel (fatty acid methyl esters), with steam was proposed (Babadagli et al., 2009. Use of biodiesel as an additive in thermal recovery of heavy-oil and bitumen. In: Paper 049 Presented at the Canadian International Petroleum Conference (CIPC), 16-18 June, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Babadagli and Ozum, 2012. Oil Gas Sci. Technol.: Rev. IFP Energies Nouvelles 67 (3), 413-421). The present study focuses on three issues: (i) viscosity of bitumen in the neighborhood of the edge of the steam chamber using heat conduction models, where bitumen mobility should be controlled by viscosity and bitumen-water interfacial tension; (ii) generate bitumen recovery data, operating the steam chamber as a pressure cooker; where bitumen mobility should be controlled mainly by viscosity rather than bitumen-water interfacial tension, since the influence of the creeping flow of water-condensed steam is marginally small; and, (iii) measure bitumen content at different heights of the pressure cooker test spent core samples to predict bitumen mobility and permeability. Pressure cooker tests were performed using steam, steam and pentane as a solvent at 5%, 10% and 15% of bitumen by mass, and steam and biodiesel as a surfactant additive at 0.2% and 0.3% of bitumen by mass dosages. Our test results showed that solvent, such as pentane, addition reduced bitumen recovery as the dosage of solvent addition increased from 5% to 15% of bitumen. This observation is interpreted that while solvent addition reduces bitumen viscosity it also increases bitumen-water interfacial tension; the overall effect of which results in reduction of bitumen recovery efficiency. When biodiesel was used as a surfactant additive at 0.2% and 0.3% of bitumen by mass dosage, a slightly increase in bitumen recovery efficiency was observed. Bitumen mobility and bitumen permeability values predicted in this study were one order of magnitude smaller than that of the values reported in the literature; probably resulting from reduced bitumen-water interfacial tension, by the activation of natural surfactants contained in bitumen, promoting bitumen mobility in the field operations. Result of the present study suggests that further tests and modeling studies are needed to understand effects of bitumen viscosity reduction by solvent co-injection and bitumen-water interfacial tension reduction by surfactant co-injection with steam on the efficiency of steam assisted bitumen recovery processes. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Babadagli T.,University of Alberta | Ozum B.,Apex Engineering Inc.
Society of Petroleum Engineers Western North American Regional Meeting 2010 - In Collaboration with the Joint Meetings of the Pacific Section AAPG and Cordilleran Section GSA | Year: 2010

Use of additives to improve the efficiency of thermal heavy-oil and bitumen recovery processes has been studied extensively over the decades. Two common types of additives used in thermal applications, mainly steam assisted recovery, are solvents and surfactants. Commercial use of solvents have setbacks due to their high costs and retrieval difficulties. Cost and stability of the surfactants under reservoir operating temperature and pressure are the major concerns. We propose the use of biodiesels such as fatty acids methyl esters as a surfactant additive reducing heavy oil/bitumen-water interfacial tension in steam assisted recovery processes. Advantages of using biodiesel as a surfactant additive are that biodiesel is chemically stable under the operating pressure and temperature of the reservoir, it causes no harm on bitumen quality and release water chemistry and its use is economically feasible. We have conducted a series of steam assisted bitumen recovery experiments to clarify the additional recovery potential and efficiency improvement capacity of biodiesel. High pressure steam at 1.8 MPa pressure, 205 °C was used in these tests at a 900 g/h feed rate. The porous media used was a normal grade oil sands ore obtained from a surface mine operation in northern Alberta, Canada. Oil sands ore was packed in a basket and placed in a high pressure cell. Bitumen recovery experiments were performed by spraying canola oil fatty acid methyl ester on oil sands ore at a 2 g/kg-bitumen dosage. These tests show that bitumen recovery efficiency increases over 40 %. In another series of tests, tall oil fatty acids methyl ester was injected into a high pressure steam line at a 7.4 g-biodiesel/kg-steam dosage. Because of the solubility of biodiesel in bitumen, the effect of biodiesel on bitumen recovery could not be accurately concluded. Vapor pressure measurements performed on canola oil and tall oil derived biodiesel samples suggest that saturation compositions of biodiesel in steam at 1.8 MPa pressure and 205 °C are at least one order of magnitude higher than the requested biodiesel dosages. Further tests are planned by reducing biodiesel dosages to about 1 g and 0.5 g-biodiesel/kilogram-steam and by monitoring the solubility of biodiesel in bitumen. Copyright 2010, Society of Petroleum Engineers.


Use of additives to improve the efficiency of thermal heavy oil and bitumen recovery processes has been studied extensively over the decades. Two common types of additives used in thermal applications, mainly steam assisted recovery, are solvents and surfactants. Commercial use of solvents has setbacks due to their high costs and retrieval difficulties. Cost and stability of the surfactants under reservoir operating temperature and pressure are the major concerns. We propose the use of bio Diesel such as fatty acids methyl ester as a surfactant additive reducing heavy oil/bitumen-water interfacial tension in steam assisted recovery processes. Advantages of using bioDiesel as a surfactant additive are that bio Diesel is chemically stable under the operating pressure and temperature of the reservoir, it causes no harm on bitumen fuel quality and on release water chemistry and its use is economically feasible. We conducted a series of steam assisted bitumen recovery experiments to clarify the additional recovery potential and efficiency improvement capacity of bio Diesel. High pressure steam at 1.8 MPa pressure, 205°C was used in these tests at a 900 g/h feed rate. The porous media used was a normal grade oil sands ore obtained from a surface mine operation in Northern Alberta, Canada. Oil sands ore was packed in a basket and placed in a high pressure cell. Bitumen recovery experiments were performed by spraying canola oil fatty acid methyl ester on oil sands ore at a 2 g/kg-bitumen dosage. These tests show that bitumen recovery efficiency increases over 40%. In another series of tests, tall oil fatty acids methyl ester was injected into a high pressure steam line at a 8.3 g-bioDiesel/kg-steam dosage. Because of the solubility of bioDiesel in bitumen, the effect of bioDiesel on bitumen recovery could not be accurately concluded. Vapor pressure measurements performed on canola oil and tall oil derived bioDiesel samples suggest that saturation compositions of bioDiesel in steam at 1.8 MPa pressure and 205°C are at least one order of magnitude higher than the requested bioDiesel dosages. Further tests are planned by reducing bioDiesel dosages to about 0.5 to 1.0 g-bioDiesel/kilogram-steam and by monitoring the solubility of bioDiesel in bitumen. © 2012, IFP Energies nouvelles.


Naderi K.,Apex Engineering Inc. | Romaniuk N.,Apex Engineering Inc. | Ozum B.,Apex Engineering Inc.
Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Kuwait Oil and Gas Show and Conference | Year: 2015

Heavy oils with about 500 cp to 50,000 cP viscosity in unconsolidated sand reservoirs are commercially produced without heat injection, by a production method known as the Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS). CHOPS reservoirs are generally about a kilometer wide and may range from 3 to 5 m thick sand blankets to 35 m thick sand channels which are between 0.5 to 5 Darcy permeability, 28 to 32% porosity, and have about 88% oil and 12% water saturations. CHOPS production is always coupled with the production of the dissolved gas, mostly CH4 and minor amounts of H2S and CO2, and sand production which causes formation of wormholes in the reservoir. Formation of wormholes in the initial phase of the reservoir life promotes oil migration and thus increases oil production; however, continued wormhole formation in long term operations reduces the oil production rate and harms the sweeping efficiency of the original oil in place, typically to less than 10%. Because of low sweeping efficiency, several Post-CHOPS process concepts have been investigated to recover the remaining oil in the reservoir. The objective of the present study is to increase the production and sweeping efficiencies of CHOPS and Post-CHOPS processes by altering the wettability of oil and reservoir sand as well as the wettability of oil and connate water and/or water injected into the reservoir. In this study, an oil-water emulsion sample produced by CHOPS process was centrifuged to separate the oil and water phases to avoid using chemical demulsifiers. The separated oil and water phases were physically and chemically characterized and the oil-water interfacial tension was determined using pendant drop method at a temperature range between 20 to 50 °C. The effects of solvent, surfactant, and pH on oil-water interfacial tension were independently investigated by either diluting the oil with pentane as a solvent additive (5% to 15% by mass of oil dosages), emulsifying biodiesel (fatty acids methyl esters, chemical formula: CnHm-COOCH3; m ≤ 2n + 2) as a surfactant additive into the water phase (0.05% to 0.3% by mass of oil dosages) and altering the pH of the water with using NaOH and HCl. Results of these studies suggest that bitumen mobility and sweeping efficiency of CHOPS and Post-CHOPS processes could be improved by reducing the oil-water interfacial tension. The present experimental research demonstrates that oil-water interfacial tension could be reduced by either a basic or a nonionic surfactant additive. Implementation of these findings to CHOPS and Post CHOPS processes needs further understanding of the CHOPS reservoir characteristics. Laboratory test results are encouraging enough for further laboratory and field trials to increase the production and oil sweeping efficiencies of the CHOPS reservoirs. © Copyright 2015, Society of Petroleum Engineers.


Patent
Apex Engineering Inc. | Date: 2014-01-18

In a process for destabilizing bitumen-water emulsions to facilitate bitumen recovery therefrom, bitumen-water interfacial tension is increased by reducing or eliminating the activity of functional groups acting as surfactants by treating the emulsions with one or more additives of ionic base to increase the hydrophobic characteristics of bitumen droplets in the emulsions and thus increase their attraction to each other and to gas bubbles. Additives effective for this purpose include salts of the Periodic Tables Group II earth alkali metals cations such as magnesium, calcium, strontium, and barium, and Group III metals cations such as aluminum. Mechanical agitation or injection of a gas stream into the destabilized bitumen-eater emulsion may be used to form bitumen-rich froth. The additives used for destabilization of the emulsions also promote flocculation of clay-size particles in the froth and improve the chemistry of the recovered water.


Trademark
Apex Engineering Inc. | Date: 2014-12-12

extrusion machine for plastic.


In a method for enhancing the efficiency of separation of bitumen from oil sands ore, lipids, lipid by-products, and lipid derivatives are used as process additives for ore-water slurry-based bitumen extraction processes or in situ bitumen recovery processes. These additives act as surfactants reducing surface and interfacial tensions, thus promoting breakdown the oil sands ore structure and resultant liberation of bitumen from the ore. Lipid treatment does not deleteriously affect release water chemistry in bitumen recovery processes, and it does not appreciably affect the fuel value of recovered bitumen. Lipids which may be effectively used as additives include biodiesel, tall oil fatty acids, monoglycerides, vegetable oil, and soap water, and combinations thereof. Lipids may also be used as process additives to enhance the efficiency of clean-up of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, in the production of bitumen-water or oil-water emulsions, and to enhance the transportability of emulsions such as in pipelines.

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