The initial high cost of exploitation of the sustained, increasingly growing development of unconventional resources in Argentina has resulted in concentrating all efforts to increase well productivity while reducing construction and completion costs. The optimization of hydraulic fracture (HF) treatments is vitally important. It is the primary strategy used to achieve an optimal reservoir drainage area, consequently characterizing the fracture geometry, including the height, for the continuous improvement of HF treatment and planning.
Several types of technologies and methodologies are used to estimate fracture height during and after a hydraulic stimulation treatment. These technologies can provide information about the fracture geometry and extension in the near-wellbore (NWB) and far-field areas. The determination of a reliable correlation between those methodologies represents a challenge as a result of formation complexity, heterogeneity, and limitations of evaluation technologies. It is well-known that some areas in the Vaca Muerta formation contain layers that can act as fracture barriers and are responsible for fracture containment.
This paper presents a fast and simple methodology that uses conventional well logs [gamma ray (GR), sonic, and density] from pilot wells to identify potential fracture barriers. This approach establishes a means to evaluate the degree to which the rock will have the ability to control fracture height growth. This methodology was determined useful for planning perforation intervals or clusters placement, particularly in those formations with stress profile showing reduced stress contrast and, when complemented with geological information, this method also provides useful information for horizontal well trajectory. Case studies are provided to illustrate examples of the proposed fracture barrier index (FBI) being calibrated or compared to other fracture height assessment. Additionally, the benefits of adding this new approach to current methodologies and technologies to aid completion design optimization and decision making is discussed.
Hwang, Jongsoo (The University of Texas at Austin) | Sharma, Mukul (The University of Texas at Austin) | Amaning, Kwarteng (Tullow Ghana Limited) | Singh, Arvinder (Tullow Ghana Limited) | Sathyamoorthy, Sekhar (Tullow Ghana Limited)
Understanding injectivity is a critical element to ensure that sufficient volumes of water are being injected into the reservoir to maintain reservoir pressure, to ensure good reservoir sweep and minimize well remediation. It is, however, challenging to describe the large injectivity changes that are sometimes observed in injectors operating under fracturing conditions. This study presents a field case study with the following objectives: 1) explain the complicated injectivity changes caused by fracture opening/closure with injection-rate variations, 2) define a safe operating envelope (for injection pressure and rate) that ensures fracture containment and injection into the target zone, and 3) prescribe how the injection rate should be changed to achieve higher injectivities. Injector operating conditions are developed using results from a full 3-dimensional fracture growth simulation to ensure fracture containment in a multi-layered reservoir.
We present field injectivity observations, a comprehensive simulation workflow and its results to explain injector performance in a deep-water turbidite sand reservoir with multiple splay sands. Understanding the impact on fracture propagation and containment allows us to make quantitative suggestions for the operating envelopes for long-term injection-production management. Strategies for high-rate injection to sustain the injection well performance long-term are discussed.
Simulation results show that, at injection rates over 5,000 bwpd, injection induced fractures propagate. Fracture closure induced by injection shut-down is used to compute the bottom-hole pressure decline as a function of time. The fracture opening/closure events and the thermally induced stress were the primary factors impacting injectivity. The simulation results suggested several ways to improve the injectivity while ensuring fracture containment. Injection under fracturing conditions into a single zone at a high rate is shown to be feasible and this allows us to support a substantial increase in injectivity. This must, however, be done at pressures that will not cause a breach in the bounding shales. The 3-dimensional fracture simulations identified the operating pressure and rate envelope to maximize the injection rates while minimizing the risk of breaching the cap rock and inter-zone shales.
As an enhanced oil recovery method (EOR), chemical flooding has been implemented intensively for some years. Low Salinity WaterFlooding (LSWF) is a method that has become increasingly attractive. The prediction of reservoir behaviour can be made through numerical simulations and greatly helps with field management decisions. Simulations can be costly to run however and also incur numerical errors. Historically, analytical solutions were developed for the flow equations for waterflooding conditions, particularly for non-communicating strata. These have not yet been extended to chemical flooding which we do here, particularly for LSWF. Dispersion effects within layers also affect these solutions and we include these in this work.
Using fractional flow theory, we derive a mathematical solution to the flow equations for a set of layers to predict fluid flow and solute transport. Analytical solutions tell us the location of the lead (formation) waterfront in each layer. Previously, we developed a correction to this to include the effects of numerical and physical dispersion, based on one dimensional models. We used a similar correction to predict the location of the second waterfront in each layer which is induced by the chemical's effect on mobility. In this work we show that in multiple non-communicating layers, material balance can be used to deduce the inter-layer relationships of the various fronts that form. This is based on similar analysis developed for waterflooding although the calculations are more complex because of the development of multiple fronts.
The result is a predictive tool that we compare to numerical simulations and the precision is very good. Layers with contrasting petrophysical properties and wettability are considered. We also investigate the relationship between the fractional flow, effective salinity range, salinity dispersion and salinity retardation.
This work allows us to predict fluids and solute behaviour in reservoirs with non-communicating strata without running a simulator. The recovery factor and vertical sweeping efficiency are also very predictable. This helps us to upscale LSWF by deriving pseudo relative permeability based on our extension of fractional flow and solute transport into such 2D systems.
Oil price forecasting has been shown to be challenging if not impossible for the long-term. However, the oil price has a major impact on Exploration and Production projects.
Historical Project Realized Oil Price (PROP) can be calculated for example projects by summing up the total project revenue using the actual oil prices and dividing through the total amount of oil produced. For different starting dates of example projects, the PROP changes. Determining the PROP for different starting times, a Cumulative Distribution Function (CDF) can be derived. Adjusting this CDF for expected "half cycle breakeven costs" for the low limit and demand considerations for the high case leads to a PROP range that can be used for future project evaluation.
Including PROP ranges into project evaluation allows for the selection of the most attractive development option, Value of Information analysis and project Probability of Economic Success (PES) calculation including oil price uncertainty.
Furthermore, using PROP ranges rather than oil price scenarios enables a distinction between short-term budget planning and long-term project development. For budget planning, a scenario approach is suggested while for long-term planning PROP ranges should be used. Applying long-term planning on PROP ranges leads to less fluctuation in staff planning and small annual adjustments in PROP range forecasting. Also, using PROP ranges results in increasing PES project hurdles at low oil prices and lower PES hurdles at high oil prices. Hence, at low oil prices the risk averseness of the company is increased. Another effect of using PROP ranges is that at high oil prices robustness of projects to low oil prices is included in the assessment.
To investigate the effect of PROP ranges on portfolio PES hurdles and project PES hurdles, a simplified linear-fit-model was developed. The results of the model showed that the project PES hurdles in a Value at Risk assessment can be determined applying the linear-fit-model to quantify the oil price dependency. The required individual project PES hurdles can be adjusted using the linear-fit-model to account for oil price uncertainty.
Bagheri, Mohammadreza (Research Centre for Fluid and Complex Systems, Coventry University) | Shariatipour, Seyed M. (Research Centre for Fluid and Complex Systems, Coventry University) | Ganjian, Eshmaiel (School of Energy, Construction and Environment, Built & Natural Environment Research Centre, Coventry University)
The fluid pressure, the stress due to the column of the cement in the annulus of oil and gas wells, and the radial pressure exerted on the cement sheath from the surrounding geological layers all affect the integrity of the cement sheath. This paper studies the impact of CO2-bearing fluids, coupled with the geomechanical alterations within the cement matrix on its integrity. These geochemical and geomechanical alterations within the cement matrix have been coupled to determine the cement lifespan. Two main scenarios including radial cracking and radial compaction, were assumed in order to investigate the behaviour of the cement matrix exposed to CO2-bearing fluids over long periods. If the radial pressure from the surrounding rocks on the cement matrix overcomes the strength of the degraded layers within the cement matrix, cement failure can be postponed, while on the other hand, high vertical stress on the cement matrix in the absence of a proper radial pressure can lead to a reduction in the cement lifespan. The radial cracking process generates local areas of high permeability around the outer face of the cement sheath. Our simulation results show at the shallower depths the cement matrices resist CO2-bearing fluids more and this delays exponentially the travel time of CO2-bearing fluids towards the Earth's surface. This is based on the evolution of CO2 gas from the aqueous phase due to the reduction in the fluid pressure at shallower depths, and consumption of CO2 in the reactions which occur at the deeper locations.
Application of polymer flooding as a chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) has increased over recent years. The main type of polymer used is partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM). This polymer still has some challenges especially with shear stability and injectivity that restrict its utility, particularly for low permeability reservoirs. Injectivity limits the possible gain by acceleration in oil production due to polymer flooding. Hence, good polymer injectivity is a requirement for the success of the operation. This paper aims to investigate the influence of formation permeability on polymer flow in porous media.
In this study, a combination of core flooding with rheological studies is presented to evaluate the influence of permeability on polymer in-situ rheology behavior. The in-situ flow of HPAM polymers has also been studied for different molecular weights. The effect of polymer preconditioning prior to injection was studied through exposing polymer solutions to different extent of mechanical degradation.
Results from this study reveal that the expected shear thinning behavior of HPAM that is observed in rheometer measurements is not observed in in-situ rheology in porous media. Instead, HPAM in porous media exhibits near-Newtonian behavior at low flow rates representative of velocities deep in the reservoir, while exhibiting shear thickening behavior at high flow rates representative of velocities near wellbore region. The pressure build-up associated with shear thickening behavior during polymer injection is significantly higher than pressure differential during water injection. The extent of shear thickening is high during the injection of high Mw polymer regardless of cores' permeability. In low permeable Berea cores, shear thickening and mechanical degradation occur at lower velocities although the degree of shear thickening is lower in Berea to that observed in high permeable Bentheimer cores. This is ascribed to high polymer retention in Berea cores that results in high residual resistance factor (RRF). Results show that preshearing polymer before injection into porous media optimizes its injectability and transportability through porous media. The effect of preshearing becomes favorable for the injection of high Mw polymers into low permeability formation.
This study discusses polymer in-situ rheology and injectivity, which is a key issue in the design of polymer flood projects. The results provide beneficial information on optimizing polymer injectivity, in particular, for low permeability porous media.
Schumi, Bettina (OMV E&P) | Clemens, Torsten (OMV E&P) | Wegner, Jonas (HOT Microfluidics) | Ganzer, Leonhard (Clausthal University of Technology) | Kaiser, Anton (Clariant) | Hincapie, Rafael E. (OMV E&P) | Leitenmüller, Verena (Montan University Leoben)
Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery leads to substantial incremental costs over waterflooding of oil reservoirs. Reservoirs containing oil with a high Total Acid Number (TAN) could be produced by injection of alkali. Alkali might lead to generation of soaps and emulsify the oil. However, the generated emulsions are not always stable.
Phase experiments are used to determine the initial amount of emulsions generated and their stability if measured over time. Based on the phase experiments, the minimum concentration of alkali can be determined and the concentration of alkali above which no significant increase in formation of initial emulsions is observed.
Micro-model experiments are performed to investigate the effects on pore scale. For injection of alkali into high TAN number oils, mobilization of residual oil after waterflooding is seen. The oil mobilization is due to breaking-up of oil ganglia or movement of elongated ganglia through the porous medium. As the oil is depleting in surface active components, residual oil saturation is left behind either as isolated ganglia or in down-gradient of grains.
Simultaneous injection of alkali and polymers leads to higher incremental oil production in the micro-models owing to larger pressure drops over the oil ganglia and more effective mobilization accordingly.
Core flood tests confirm the micro-model experiments and additional data are derived from these tests. Alkali co-solvent polymer injection leads to the highest incremental oil recovery of the chemical agents which is difficult to differentiate in micro-model experiments. The polymer adsorption is substantially reduced if alkali is injected with polymers compared with polymer injection only. The reason is the effect of the pH on the polymers. As in the micro-models, the incremental oil recovery is also higher for alkali polymer injection than with alkali injection only.
To evaluate the incremental operating costs of the chemical agents, Equivalent Utility Factors (EqUF) are calculated. The EqUF takes the costs of the various chemicals into account. The lowest EqUF and hence lowest chemical incremental OPEX are incurred by injection of Na2CO3, however, the highest incremental recovery factor is seen with alkali co-solvent polymer injection. It should be noted that the incremental oil recovery owing to macroscopic sweep efficiency improvement by polymer needs to be taken into account to assess the efficiency of the chemical agents.
Recent studies have indicated that Huff-n-Puff (HNP) gas injection has the potential to recover an additional 30-70% oil from multi-fractured horizontal wells in shale reservoirs. Nonetheless, this technique is very sensitive to production constraints and is impacted by uncertainty related to measurement quality (particularly frequency and resolution), and lack of constraining data. In this paper, a Bayesian workflow is provided to optimize the HNP process under uncertainty using a Duvernay shale well as an example.
Compositional simulations are conducted which incorporate a tuned PVT model and a set of measured cyclic injection/compaction pressure-sensitive permeability data. Markov chain Monte Carlo (McMC) is used to estimate the posterior distributions of the model uncertain variables by matching the primary production data. The McMC process is accelerated by employing an accurate proxy model (kriging) which is updated using a highly adaptive sampling algorithm. Gaussian Processes are then used to optimize the HNP control variables by maximizing the lower confidence interval (μ-σ) of cumulative oil production (after 10 years) across a fixed ensemble of uncertain variables sampled from posterior distributions.
The uncertain variable space includes several parameters representing reservoir and fracture properties. The posterior distributions for some parameters, such as primary fracture permeability and effective half-length, are narrower, while wider distributions are obtained for other parameters. The results indicate that the impact of uncertain variables on HNP performance is nonlinear. Some uncertain variables (such as molecular diffusion) that do not show strong sensitivity during the primary production strongly impact gas injection HNP performance. The results of optimization under uncertainty confirm that the lower confidence interval of cumulative oil production can be maximized by an injection time of around 1.5 months, a production time of around 2.5 months, and very short soaking times. In addition, a maximum injection rate and a flowing bottomhole pressure around the bubble point are required to ensure maximum incremental recovery. Analysis of the objective function surface highlights some other sets of production constraints with competitive results. Finally, the optimal set of production constraints, in combination with an ensemble of uncertain variables, results in a median HNP cumulative oil production that is 30% greater than that for primary production.
The application of a Bayesian framework for optimizing the HNP performance in a real shale reservoir is introduced for the first time. This work provides practical guidelines for the efficient application of advanced machine learning techniques for optimization under uncertainty, resulting in better decision making.
The wettability of reservoir rocks impacts many aspects of well planning and production, from estimating hydrocarbon saturation to enhanced oil recovery. Wettability is often experimentally quantified through laboratory measurements; however, in-situ wettability assessment is challenging. In this work, we introduce a new method to quantify wettability using resistivity measurements obtained from either well logs or core measurements. The objectives of this paper are (i) to introduce a resistivity-based wettability index from our recent analytically-derived resistivity model that takes into account wettability and (ii) to verify the reliability of the new resistivity-based wettability index using Amott Index, U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM), and/or contact angle wettability measurements as reference.
We quantify the resistivity-based wettability index using our new analytically-derived resistivity model which requires as inputs the resistivity of the rock-fluid system and brine, water saturation, porosity, and pore-geometry-related parameters. Water saturation and porosity can be estimated from the interpretation of borehole geophysical or core measurements. The pore-geometry-related parameters can be estimated from image analysis performed on three-dimensional pore-scale images (e.g. micro-computed tomography) or through a physics-based calibration method. Next, we calculate the resistivity-based wettability index by minimizing the error between the measured and predicted resistivity of the rock-fluid system. To verify this method, we prepare core samples covering a wide range of wettability states and saturation levels. We vary the wettability of the samples by injecting brine, an anionic surfactant solution, or a naphthenic acid and decane solution to make the core samples water-, mixed-, or oil-wet, respectively. Finally, we obtain the resistivity-based wettability index in the core samples and verify its reliability by comparing the estimates against the Amott Index and the contact angle measurements. We also used previously documented data in Berea sandstone for further verification of the new method.
We successfully demonstrated the reliability of the introduced resistivity-based wettability index for limestone and sandstone core samples. The resistivity-based wettability indices were in agreement with both Amott and USBM Indices for the limestone and sandstone samples, respectively. The average absolute difference between the resistivity-based wettability index and the Amott and USBM Indices was less than 0.4 for all the core samples documented in this paper. The outcomes of this work can potentially be used for assessment of wettability from borehole geophysical measurements, to deliver in-situ properties of rocks in real-time. Additionally, the new resistivity model consists only of physically meaningful parameters and minimizes calibration efforts. Furthermore, if the wettability, porosity, and pore-geometry-related parameters are known, then we can use this resistivity model to obtain water saturation without the need for calibration.
Shah, Swej (Delft University of technology) | As Syukri, Herru (Delft University of technology) | Wolf, Karl-Heinz (Delft University of technology) | Pilus, Rashidah (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS) | Rossen, William (Delft University of technology)
Foam reduces gas mobility and can help improve sweep efficiency in an enhanced oil recovery process. For the latter, long-distance foam propagation is crucial. In porous media, strong foam generation requires that local pressure gradient exceeds a critical value (∇Pmin). Normally, this only happens in the near-well region. Away from wells, these requirements may not be met, and foam propagation is uncertain.
It has been shown theoretically that foam can be generated, independent of pressure gradient, during flow across an abrupt increase in permeability (
This article is an extension of a recent study (
Local pressure measurements and CT-based saturation maps confirm that foam is generated at the permeability transition, which then propagates downstream to the outlet of the core. A significant reduction in gas mobility is observed, even at low superficial velocities, however, the limit of foam propagation is reached at the lowest velocity tested. CT images were used to quantify the accumulation of liquid near the permeability jump, causing local capillary pressure to fall below the critical capillary pressure required for snap-off. This leads to foam generation by snap-off. At the tested fractional flows, no clear trend was observed between foam strength and fg. For a given permeability contrast, foam generation was observed at higher gas fractions than predicted by previous work (Rossen, 1999). Significant fluctuations in pressure gradient accompanied the process of foam generation, indicating a degree of intermittency in the generation rate - probably reflecting cycles of foam generation, dryout, imbibition, and then generation. The intermittency of foam generation was found to increase with decreasing injection velocities and increasing fractional flow. Within the range of conditions tested, the onset of foam generation (identified by the rise in ∇P and Sg) occurs after roughly the same amount of surfactant injection, independent of fractional flow or injected rate.