US 1784214 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 9; 1930.
l P. E. woRKMAN 1,784,214 METHOD OF RECOVERING AND TNCREASING THE PRODUCTION OF OIL Filed 0G11. 19, 1928 .1111. l. f l l I l l lrlllllr l .1.. Il, :fli4l filial o a l 1 a 'lilllfllflllafnlfn Illy DIT/# Patented Dec, 9i, 1930 UNITED STATES PAUL E. WOBKMAN, OF DALLAS, TEXAS METHOD OF BECOVIL'BINGv AND INCREASING THE PRODUCTION OF OIL Application med October 19, 1928. Serial No. 313,458.
This invention relates to a method of recovering and increasing the production of oil, and particularly to the formation within the well of a gas which will combine with the oil and also affect the oil bearing strata.
In this art elorts have een previously made to increase the flow of oil by the use of electrical heating units which in effect cause a distillation of the oil and only affect sur- 10 rounding strata by increasing the temperature thereof without any material reaction upon the viscosity of the oil or gaseous pressure upon the oil bearing sands to increase the flow therefrom.
The present method seeks to produce a gaseous reagent which will be absorbed by the oil, edect a pressure upon the sands, and also tend to seal water channels leading into the well. For this purpose 1 introduce an electrode into the natural or mineralized water from the oil bearing strata and by feeding a proper current thereto cause an electrolysis of the water to release therefrom gaseous elements which permeate or are absorbed by the oil to render the same lighter and more mobile which facilitates its release from the sand and causes it to rise to the top of the water in the well. This results in a water body at the bottom of the well pocket upon which the electrode acts and produces electrolysis of the water.
Such water is frequently of a saline character and the gas produced by the electrolysis thereof releases chemicals of a caustic nature which cause a washing effect upon the sands and the removal therefrom of adhering oil. In the production of this gas salts are also liberated which collect to clog or close the water channels and by the pressure thus created break open new channels in the oil bearing sand to increase the production therefrom.
The method may be applied to ordinary equipment and during the usual pumping operation, and the electrically produced gases are absorbed by the oil and also collect in the higher strata to exert a pressure forcing the oil therefrom.` An essential of the invention is not to effect electrolysis of the oil, but of 50 the natural water in the well, and for that and the lreason the electric current is introduced at the lowest practical point therein so that the rising gases will be absorbed by the oil.
The invention has for an object to provide a new and improved method of recovering oil consisting in introducing into a well an electrode immersed in the water thereof, and feeding to said electrode an electric current of suiicient strength to release gaseous elements from the water by electrolysis.
A further object of the invention is to effect electrolysis of the mineralized water within an oilwell to release therefrom salts which will collect and react upon the water channels of the well while exerting a pressure on the oil bearing sands thereof.,
Another object of the invention is to utilize the saline or mineral waters of an oil bearing strata by an electrolysis of such water to produce a gas to be absorbed by the oil and exert 70 a pressure thereon in the strata, and to further seal the water channels which results in a pressure opening new channels to the well hole thus releasing oil trapped in cavities or blocked by non-porous areas of the strata.
Other and further objects and advantages of the invention will be hereinafter set forth and the novel features thereof defined by the appended claims.
The drawing shows one application of the invention in which the well casing 1G extends downward to the usual pocket 11 and is sealed at its top 12. The tubing 13 is disposed within the casing and carries at its lower end the pump unit 14 from which a perforated casing 85 15 depends. Within this casing an elect-rode 16 is mounted by insulating blocks 17 and connected with a generator 18 by an insulated conductor 19. Desirable results have been secured by the use of a pure iron electrode and a current of approximately 50 amperes with an electromotive force of 2 volts. This low voltage and insulation from ground prevents heating and assures electrolysis of the saline li uid.
uch an electrical discharge causes electrol ysis of the Water at the bottom of the well, return current may be through the earth or a nearby well 20 provided with a duplicate electrode connected to the opposite 1100 pole of the enerator from the electrode first in introducin an electrode insulated from described. his causes the electrol ic action ground into t e saline Water of a. well and to continue in the Water passageso the strata feeding to said electrode a current of low 21 intermediate the Wells and the pressure revoltage to effect electrolysis of the water to action upon the oil bearing sands thereof. If deposit solid matter within the water chanthe water of a well be lacking in the minerals nels 0f the oil bearing strata.
desired to produce the gaseous element by de- 6 The method of recovering oil, consisting composition of the electrolyte proper chemiin introducing a pumping unit into a well, @als may be introduced for that purpose, disposing beneath Said unit an electrode n- In the application of the method the desulated therefrom and from ground, and supcomposition of the Water by electrolysis libplying to said electrode a current to effect erates hydrogen and oxygen gases and also electrolysis of the water at lower level in the any mineral salts carried by the water. These Well. gases are absorbed by the oil and react there- 7. The method'of recovering oil from adjaon to facilitate its How, While a pressure 1s Cent wells consisting in disposing in each well 30 generated within the sand or oil bearing an electrode insulated from ground and con- 1 strata causing a movement of the liquids tonected to the opposite pole of a generator, Ward the wel] hole. The presence of caustics and charging said electrodes with a direct produces a Washing effect upon the oil sands current of 10W voltage to effect electrolysis and thev collection 0f the salt; in the water within the water channels of the strata interg5 channels close .the same which results in a mediate s aid Wells. pressure causing theopening of new channels In eSlmOIly WheleOf I alx my signature. through the oil bearing sand. The method PAUL E. WORKMAN. thus utilizes the Water present in an oil well to produce an aerating gas for the oil; pressure upon the sands; and chemical reaction of the liberated gases and mineral salts.
One apparatus for the application of the other means may be used for that purpose departing from the spirit of the invention as recited in the following claims.
What I claim, is:
l. The method of recovering oil consisting in introducing into ay well an electrode insulated from ground and immersed in the water present in the Well, and feeding to said electrode a current of sulicient strength to release elements of the Water by electrolysis.
2. The method of recovering oil consisting in introducing into a well an electrode insulated from ground and immersed in the water present in the Well, feeding to said electrode a current of suiiicient strength to release gaseous elements of the Water by electrolysis, and continuing the pumping of the well during 3. The method of recovering oil consisting in introducing an electrode insulated from 115 ground into the mineralized water of a Well, and feeding to said electrode a current of Sullicient strength to liberate the gases and mineral salts by decomposition of the water to aerate the oil and create a pressure thereon while the salts are collected in the water channels.
4. The method of recovering oil consisting in introducing an electrode insulated from l ground into the mineralized water of a well,
tion upon the oil bearing sand.
5. The method of recovering oil consisting,