Experimental investigations of forward and reverse combustion for increasing oil recovery of a real oil field

Aysylu Askarova, Evgeny Popov, Matthew Ursenbach, Gordon Moore, Sudarshan Mehta, Alexey Cheremisin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The work presented herein is devoted to a unique set of forward and reverse combustion tube (CT) experiments to access the suitability and potential of the in situ combustion (ISC) method for the light oil carbonate reservoir. One forward and one reverse combustion tube tests were carried out using the high-pressure combustion tube (HPCT) experimental setup. However, during reverse combustion, the front moved in the opposite direction to the airflow. The results obtained from experiments such as fuel/air requirements, H/C ratio, and recovery efficiency are crucial for further validation of the numerical model. A quantitative assessment of the potential for the combustion was carried out. The oil recovery of forward combustion was as high as 91.4% of the initial oil in place, while that for the reverse combustion test demonstrated a 43% recovery. In the given conditions, forward combustion demonstrated significantly higher efficiency. However, the stabilized combustion front propagation and produced gases of reverse combustion prove its possible applicability. Currently, there is a limited amount of available studies on reverse combustion and a lack of publications within the last decades despite advances in technologies. However, reverse combustion might have advantages over forward combustion for heavy oil reservoirs with lower permeability or might serve as a reservoir preheating technique. These experiments give the opportunity to build and validate the numerical models of forward and reverse combustion conducted at reservoir conditions and test their field application using different scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4581
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Carbonate reservoir
  • Enhanced oil recovery
  • Forward combustion
  • High-pressure combustion tube
  • Reverse combustion


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