Gas-assisted plunger lift (GAPL) could be an effective and economically favorable artificial lift (AL) method to be considered during the AL life cycle for North American shale wells. The main advantage of GAPL is that it improves the well production by reducing liquid fallback and boosts the plunger efficiency through gas injection and increases the gas lift efficiency by assisting in delivering the slugs to the surface. The objective of this study is to capture the GAPL dynamic behavior through a transient multiphase flow simulator. The entire GAPL production cycle was modeled, including plunger fall, gas injection, pressure buildup, and production. First, the GAPL well production history was analyzed to evaluate the well operating condition. Then, a transient simulator was used to model the well flow behavior and production performance with GAPL. The study demonstrated the GAPL impact on flowing bottomhole pressure and the improvement in the well productivity.
A Delaware Basin well case study demonstrates the benefits of dynamic modeling and provides a comprehensive comparison between dynamic simulation results and field data. The simulation work provides insights into the fluid flow, GAPL behavior, and pressure and rate transients of a GAPL well.
The modeling results were validated against field data. A commercially available transient multiphase flow simulator was used and produced outcomes that were in alignment with field data collected. The dynamic plunger cycles were reproduced in the simulation, and the results showed the benefits of GAPL in a typical shale oil well. This could extend the gas lift life by delaying the transition to rod pumps or potentially act as an end-of-life AL solution. In the long term, this reduces the overall AL life cycle cost. The use of transient simulation helps validate AL design concepts, especially for unconventional wells where the flow behavior is very dynamic. This study encourages the use of this analysis in the AL selection workflow to help optimize the overall AL life cycle cost and maximize the net present value (NPV).
Numerous integrative approaches can be taken to link subsurface rock-type characterization to related openhole wireline log attributes. In this study, focus and emphasis was geared towards developing rock-typing models that link depositional environments to petrophysical property space trends and variations to then guide subsurface modeling. Multiple technical paths were taken, and tools used to link observed rock types in full-diameter conventional cores and related measured geological attributes to electrofacies and the refined petrofacies characterization. The data integration used a significant volume of core analytical and openhole wireline log suites including a base suite of triple-combo data (gamma ray, neutron, density, and resistivity) and expanding to include resistivity borehole image data. We present how the addition of various subsurface datasets impacts rock-typing efforts and accuracy. A cluster-based, least-mean-squares analytical result is observed and discussed in an unsupervised model application and is compared to a supervised model application. The relative importance of various attributes is discussed and used to recommend a workflow for Permian-focused rock typing that allows the subsurface characterization to be extrapolated to regional (basinwide) and local (single-well) scales. In short, we focus on sharing a workflow to effectively link core description (sedimentologic observations) and raw log analytics to refine and upscale rock property distributions for use in sequence stratigraphic frameworks, regional basin depositional models and multiscale modeling efforts.
Quintero, Harvey (ChemTerra Innovation) | Abedini, Ali (Interface Fluidics Limited) | Mattucci, Mike (ChemTerra Innovation) | O’Neil, Bill (ChemTerra Innovation) | Wust, Raphael (AGAT Laboratories) | Hawkes, Robert (Trican Well Service LTD) | De Hass, Thomas (Interface Fluidics Limited) | Toor, Am (Interface Fluidics Limited)
For optimizing and enhancing hydrocarbon recovery from unconventional plays, the technological race is currently focused on development and production of state-of-the-art surfactants that reduce interfacial tension to mitigate obstructive capillary forces and thus increase the relative permeability to hydrocarbon (
A heterogeneous dual-porosity dual-permeability microfluidic chip was designed and developed with pore geometries representing shale formations. This micro-chip simulated Wolfcamp shale with two distinct regions: (i) a high-permeability fracture zone (20 µm pore size) interconnected to (ii) a low-permeability nano-network zone (100 nm size). The fluorescent microscopy technique was applied to visualize and quantify the performance of different flowback enhancers during injection and flowback processes.
This study highlights results from the nanofluidic analysis performed on Wolfcamp Formation rock specimens using a microreservoir-on-a-chip, which showed the benefits of the multi-functionalized surfactant (MFS) in terms of enhancing oil/condensate production. Test results obtained at a simulated reservoir temperature of 113°F (45°C) and a testing pressure of 2,176 psi (15 MPa) showed a significant improvement in relative permeability to hydrocarbon (
Measurements using a high-resolution spinning drop tensiometer showed a 40-fold reduction in interfacial tension when the stimulation fluid containing MFS was tested against Wolfcamp crude at 113°F (45°C). Also, MFS outperformed other premium surfactants in Amott spontaneous imbibition analysis when tested with Wolfcamp core samples.
This work used a nanofluidic model that appropriately reflected the inherent nanoconfinement of shale/tight formation to resolve the flowback process in hydraulic fracturing, and it is the first of its kind to visualize the mechanism behind this process at nanoscale. This platform also demonstrated a cost-effective alternative to coreflood testing for evaluating the effect of chemical additives on the flowback process. Conventional lab and field data were correlated with the nanofluidic analysis.
Williams, Ryan (Schlumberger) | Artola, Pedro (Schlumberger) | Salinas, Javier (Schlumberger) | Mirakyan, Andrey (Schlumberger) | MacKay, Bruce (Schlumberger) | Hoefer, Ann (Schlumberger) | Kraemer, Chad (Wisconsin Proppants) | Reese, Harrison (PRI Operating) | Roybal, Zack (PRI Operating) | Williamson, Brant (PRI Operating)
Use of regional sand in the Permian Basin dramatically increased in 2018. Regional or in-basin sand is often perceived as lower quality compared to northern white sand (NWS); however, its use is fairly new, and production data has not been available to determine if, or in what cases, higher quality matters. This paper presents the results from a production comparison of Permian Basin wells that were hydraulically fractured with NWS and regional sand or both.
A dataset consisting of approximately 450 wells completed with NWS or regional sand or both within the Delaware and Midland Basins was studied to determine the relationship between production performance and sand type (or quality). To evaluate the effect of sand quality in well production, the dataset was divided in smaller groups of wells with similar reservoir characteristics and completion practices. The initial phase of the study was completed using public domain production data, while the second phase focused on the development of regional reservoir models to forecast production of wells using NWS or regional sand or both.
When analyzing an area containing sufficient wells for a reliable comparison, the survey revealed no statistically significant difference in production for wells that used NWS versus regionally sourced sand. Models were built to predict differences in the production performance of each sand type. These models take into account and demonstrate the effects of differences in sand properties, as well as the impact of the favorable economics associated with regional sands. It was confirmed with the study that the sand type is not a critical factor in regards to production performance when completing wells that are hydraulically fractured in ultralow-permeability nonconductivity-limited reservoirs.
This paper presents an early look at the production numbers of West Texas wells completed with regionally sourced sand in the Permian Basin. The results of the study will encourage operators to further contemplate the use of regional sand when completing wells in ultralow-permeability shale reservoirs. This dataset will continue to evolve and reveal the effects of regional sand over the life of the well; this will be presented in a future paper.
Seth, Puneet (The University of Texas at Austin) | Manchanda, Ripudaman (The University of Texas at Austin) | Elliott, Brendan (Devon Energy) | Zheng, Shuang (The University of Texas at Austin) | Sharma, Mukul (The University of Texas at Austin)
During stimulation of unconventional reservoirs, offset well pressure measurements are often used to estimate hydraulic fracture geometry. These measurements can also be used to make a quantitative estimate of the created fracture network area and the permeability of the stimulated rock volume (SRV) around the hydraulic fractures. Offset well pressure measurements recorded in the field clearly show a change in the pressure response of the monitor well when the injection rate in a nearby fracture treated well is changed. The shut-in period between two frac stages in the treatment well corresponds to a distinct pressure fall-off in the monitor well. We present a workflow where we analyze and match this pressure fall-off in an offset monitor well in response to fluid leak-off from a hydraulic fracture in the treatment well to estimate SRV permeability and the created fracture network area. The workflow and model are applied to field data from the Permian Basin.
A fully-coupled, 3-D, poroelastic reservoir-fracture simulator has been used to simulate pressure fall-off in the offset monitor well. Field data and simulation results are presented to show that during shut-in between two frac stages in the treatment well, a decrease in the injection rate causes the monitored offset well pressure to fall-off. We find that this fall-off in pressure is influenced by leak-off from the treatment well fracture. During the shut-in period, fluid leak-off from the treatment well fracture into the SRV region decreases the width of the fracture which consequently affects the stress-shadow and the poroelastic pressure fall-off in the offset monitor well. The pressure fall-off in the monitor well is, therefore, shown to be caused by 1) the fluid leak-off from the monitor well fracture and 2) stress-shadow relaxation around the monitor well fracture as fluid leaks-off from the nearby treatment well fracture into the formation.
We present a new method to estimate the permeability of the stimulated region around the created fractures. We show that, along with the permeability of the SRV region, the stress-shadow of the treatment well fracture on the monitor well fracture also has a significant impact on the pressure fall-off in the monitor well. We use a conceptual model to estimate the created fracture network area which can be used as a metric to identify the effectiveness of a frac job and provide insights into the generated fracture complexity during the frac job. In addition, the estimated SRV permeability and fracture network area are critical inputs in production forecast simulations that can guide an operator to make better economic decisions in a relatively inexpensive manner.
Ren, Bo (The University of Texas at Austin) | Male, Frank (The University of Texas at Austin) | Wang, Yanyong (The University of Texas at Austin) | Baqués, Vinyet (The University of Texas at Austin) | Duncan, Ian (The University of Texas at Austin) | Lake, Larry (The University of Texas at Austin)
The objectives of this work are to understand the characteristics of oil saturation in residual oil zones (ROZs) and to optimize water alternating gas (WAG) injection strategies. ROZs occur in the Permian Basin and elsewhere, and operators are using CO2 injection for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in these zones. ROZs are thought to be formed by the flushing effect of regional aquifer flow acting over geological time. Both the magnitude of oil saturation and the spatial distribution of oil differ from water-flooded main pay zones (MPZs).
We conducted flow simulations of CO2 injection into both synthetic and realistic geologic reservoirs to find the optimal injection strategies for several scenarios. These simulations of CO2 injection follow either man-made waterflooding or long-term natural waterflooding. We examined the effects of CO2 injection rates, well patterns, reservoir heterogeneity, and permeability anisotropy on optimal WAG ratios. Optimal is defined as being at minimal net CO2 utilization ratios or maximal oil production rates).
Simulations of CO2 EOR show that the optimal WAG ratio for the ROZs is less than 1 (ratio of injected water and CO2 in reservoir volumes), and it depends, but in qualitatively different ways, upon the well pattern and reservoir heterogeneity. The optimal WAG ratio tends to increase with changing from inverted 9-spot (80-acres) to inverted 5-spot (40-acre) or increasing reservoir heterogeneity. The ratios for ROZs are consistently less than those observed in the same geologic models experiencing CO2 injection after traditional (man-made) waterflooding. This is because the water saturation caused by slow regional aquifer flow (~1ft/yr) differs from that created by traditional waterflooding. In ROZs, water prevails almost everywhere and thus it is less needed to ease CO2 channeling as compared to MPZs.
This work demonstrates that optimal WAG ratios for oil production in ROZs are different from those in traditional MPZs because of oil saturation differences. Thus, commingled CO2 injection into both zones or directly copying WAG injection designs from MPZs to ROZs might not optimize production.
The SPE Permian Basin Section started its September with the successful kickoff of its Energy4Me energy education initiative in Odessa, Texas. By collaborating with the University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) STEM Academy, a charter school, and Communities in Schools Permian Basin (CISPB), an organization which helps students stay in school, SPE members of the Permian Basin Section helped educate K-12 grade students about the importance of energy and practical STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) applications in the energy industry. Coordinated and led by Yogashri Pradhan, reservoir engineer for Endeavor Energy Resources, the kickoff event was attended by elementary to high school students of the UTPB STEM Academy and CISPB. Educating the students of the Permian Basin community on STEM subjects would foster their interest in them and inspire the students to pursue STEM careers. The Energy4Me event comprised lesson plans for the students about the oil and gas industry and included activities representing simple concepts in petroleum engineering.
A new play in the Permian Basin is unconventional in an unexpected way: there is a small group of independents producing from a watery formation where oil production begins after they have pumped only water for weeks. Research into whether CO2 can be used to coax billions more barrels of oil from unconventional formations is beginning to show promise.
The evolution of hydraulic fracturing is a long and circuitous one that deserves examination. Engineering and completions leaders from Liberty Oilfield Services did just that, authoring a paper that encapsulates the high points in the development of the groundbreaking completions practice. Producers in Texas have claimed an economic victory with their transition to local sands that they once avoided using in horizontal wells due to their low-quality. Driven by a recovery in well completions and increased proppant loading per well, the market for raw fracturing sand is expected to grow by more than 4% annually through 2021, an industry research study says. Permian Basin producer Callon Petroleum is attributing its data-driven approach to a routine completions practice to improved proppant placement and higher oil production.
Findings from Kayrros suggest the average Permian well is both less productive and more expensive than reflected in public data. Fed by big data loads from big operators, a university consortium and software firm are each working to make upstream data access as quick and easy as a Google search. Is the Cloud Mature Enough for High-Performance Computing? Data volumes are growing at an exponential rate. How can high-performance computing solutions help operators manage these volumes?