It is widely accepted that thermal methods have become the most effective techniques for Alberta heavy oil reservoirs. However, thermal techniques cannot be applied to many reservoirs, such as deep reservoir or reservoir with thin pay because heat losses will be too severe. Water flooding is an alternative but it can only achieve a very low oil recovery due to severe viscous fingering. Hence, research into other non-thermal recovery methods is necessary.
This thesis presents a laboratory-scale investigation of heavy oil recovery by polymer flooding, ASP (alkali-Surfactant-Polymer) flooding and ASP-foam flooding. The production mechanisms involved in heavy oil chemical flooding and foam-flooding were studied. Several sandpacks saturated with the heavy oil were first waterflooded. Then either polymer, ASP or ASP-foam flooding was conducted. The recovery performance of these displacements was evaluated and compared. The effect of injection rates was also studied. ASP flooding at low injection rate achieved the highest oil recovery. Under the high injection rate, polymer flooding, ASP flooding and, ASP-foam flooding recovered similar amounts of oil. Oil recoveries of polymer-flooding were insensitive to injection rate. Besides, ASP foam flooding of a water saturated core (oil-free) was also conducted. A comparison between the displacements of the oil-free core with that of the previous displacement tests suggested that foam stability was destroyed in the presence of heavy oil.