Heavy oil is defined as liquid petroleum of less than 20 API gravity or more than 200 cp viscosity at reservoir conditions. No explicit differentiation is made between heavy oil and oil sands (tar sands), although the criteria of less than 12 API gravity and greater than 10,000 cp are sometimes used to define oil sands. Unconsolidated sandstones (UCSS) are sandstones (or sands) that possess no true tensile strength arising from grain-to-grain mineral cementation.
In some reservoir applications, seismic data are acquired with downhole sources and receivers. If the receiver is stationed at various depth levels in a well and the source remains on the surface, the measurement is called vertical seismic profiling (VSP). This technique produces a high-resolution, 2D image that begins at the receiver well and extends a short distance (a few tens of meters or a few hundred meters, depending on the source offset distance) toward the source station. This image, a 2D profile restricted to the vertical plane passing through the source and receiver coordinates, is useful in tying seismic responses to subsurface geologic and engineering control. If the source is deployed at various depth levels in one well and the receiver is placed at several depth stations in a second well, the measurement is called crosswell seismic profiling (CSP). Images made from CSP data have the best spatial resolution of any seismic measurement used in reservoir characterization because a wide range of frequencies is recorded.
Several approaches that use the activity coefficient model assume the oil and asphaltene as two pseudocomponents: one component representing the deasphalted oil and the other the asphaltenes. Andersen and Speight provided a review of activity models in this category. Other approaches represent the precipitate as a multicomponent solid. Chung, Yarranton and Masliyah, and Zhou et al. gave detailed descriptions of these models. The solubility model used most in the literature is the Flory-Huggins solubility model introduced by Hirschberg et al. Vapor/liquid equilibrium calculations with the Soave-Redlich-Kwong EOS are performed to split the petroleum mixture into a liquid phase and a vapor phase.
Cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS) is a relatively recent technology. As such, only a few case histories of its application over a number of years have been published. Nonetheless, those that are available provide insight into the application of this technology. A detailed Luseland field case history has been published.
The amount of trapped oil in hydrocarbon rich shale reservoirs recoverable through Enhanced Oil Recovery methods such as low salinity water flooding has been an ongoing investigation in the oil and gas industry. Reservoir shales typically have relatively lower amounts of swelling clays and in theory, can be exposed to a higher chemical potential difference between the native and injected fluid salinity before detrimental permeability reduction is experienced through the volumetric expansion of swelling clays. This fluid flux into the pore spaces of the rock matrix acting as a semi permeable membrane is significant enough to promote additional recovery from the extremely low permeability rock. The main goal of this paper is to determine how osmosis pressure build up within the matrix affects geomechanical behavior and hydrocarbon fluid flow. In this study we investigate Pierre shale samples with trace amount of organic content and high clay content as an initial step to fully understanding how the presence of organic content affects the membrane efficiency for EOR applications in shales using low salinity fluid injection. The same concept is also valid when slickwater is utilized as fracturing fluid as majority of the shale reservoirs contain very high salinity native reservoir fluid that will create large salinity contrast to the injected slickwater salinity.
The organic-rich reservoir shales typically have a TOC content of approximately 5 wt% or higher with TOC occupying part of the bulk matrix otherwise to be filled up by clays and other minerals. With less clay within the rock structure, the amount of associated clay swelling arising from rock fluid interaction will be limited. The overall drive of water into the matrix brings added stress to the pore fluid known as osmotic pressure acting on the matrix that also creates an imbalance in the stress state. The native formation fluid with salinity of 60,000 ppm NaCl has been used while 1,000 ppm NaCl brine is utilized to simulate the low salinity injection fluid under triaxial stress conditions in this phase of the study reported here. A strong correlation is obtained between the osmotic efficiency and effective stress exerted on the shale formation. The triaxial tests conducted in pursuit of simulating stress alteration under the osmotic pressure conditions and elevated pore pressure penetration tests indicated that the occurrence of swelling directly impact the formation permeability. These structural changes observed in our experimental results are comparable to field case studies.
Martini, Brigette (Corescan Inc.) | Bellian, Jerome (Whiting Petroleum Corporation) | Katz, David (Encana Corporation) | Fonteneau, Lionel (Corescan Pty Ltd) | Carey, Ronell (Corescan Pty Ltd) | Guisinger, Mary (Whiting Petroleum Corporation) | Nordeng, Stephan H. (University of North Dakota)
Hyperspectral core imaging studies of the Bakken-Three Forks formations over the past four years has revealed non-destructive, high resolution, spatially relevant insight into mineralogy, both primary and diagenetically altered that can be applied to reservoir characterization. While ‘big’ data like co-acquired hyperspectral imagery, digital photography and laser profiles can be challenging to analyze, synthesize, scale, visualize and store, their value in providing mineralogical information, structural variables and visual context at scales that lie between (and ultimately link) nano and reservoir-scale measurements of the Bakken-Three Forks system, is unique.
Simultaneous, co-acquired hyperspectral core imaging data (at 500 μm spatial resolution), digital color photography (at 50 μm spatial resolution) and laser profiles (at 20 μm spatial and 7 μm vertical resolution), were acquired over 24 wells for a total of 2,870 ft. of core, seven wells of which targeted the Bakken-Three Forks formations. These Bakken-Three Forks data (~5.5 TB) represent roughly 175,000,000 pixels of spatially referenced mineralogical data. Measurements were performed at a mobile Corescan HCI-3 laboratory based in Denver, CO, while spectral and spatial analysis of the data was completed using proprietary in-house spectral software, offsite in Perth, WA, Australia. Synthesis of the spectral-based mineral maps and laser-based structural data, with ancillary data (including Qemscan, XRD and various downhole geophysical surveys) were completed in several software and modelling platforms.
The resulting spatial context of this hyperspectral imaging-based mineralogy and assemblages are particularly compelling, both in small scale micro-distribution as well as borehole scale mineralogical distributions related to both primary lithology and secondary alteration. These studies also present some of the first successful measurement and derivation of lithology from hyperspectral data. Relationships between hyperspectral-derived mineralogy and oil concentrations are presented as are separately derived structural variables. The relationship between hyperspectral-based mineralogy to micro-scale reservoir characteristics (including those derived from Qemscan) were studied, as were relationships to larger-scale downhole geophysical data (resulting in compelling correlations between variables of resistivity and hyperspectral-mineralogy). Finally, basic Net-to-Gross calculations were completed using the hyperspectral imaging data, thereby extending the use of such data from geological characterizations through to resource estimations.
The high-fidelity mineralogical maps afforded by hyperspectral core imaging have not only provided new geological insight into the Bakken-Three Forks formations, but ultimately provide improved well completion designs in those formations, as well as a framework for applying the technology to other important unconventional reservoir formations in exploration and development. The semi-automated nature of the technology also ushers in the ability to consistently and accurately log mineralogy from multiple wells and fields globally, allowing for advanced comparative analysis.
Cronkwright, David (University of Calgary) | Ghanizadeh, Amin (University of Calgary) | DeBuhr, Chris (University of Calgary) | Song, Chengyao (University of Calgary) | Deglint, Hanford (University of Calgary) | Clarkson, Chris (University of Calgary) | Ardakani, Omid (Geological Survey of Canada)
This paper was prepared for presentation at the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference held in Denver, Colorado, USA, 22-24 July 2019. The URTeC Technical Program Committee accepted this presentation on the basis of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). The contents of this paper have not been reviewed by URTeC and URTeC does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information herein. All information is the responsibility of, and, is subject to corrections by the author(s). Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this paper does so at their own risk. The information herein does not necessarily reflect any position of URTeC. Any reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper by anyone other than the author without the written consent of URTeC is prohibited. Abstract Fluid distribution and fluid-rock interactions within the nano-/macro-porous pore network of tight oil reservoirs will affect both primary and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) processes. Focusing on selected samples obtained from the liquids-rich reservoirs within the Montney Formation (Canada), the primary objective of this work is to evaluate the impact of mineralogical composition on micro-scale fluid distribution at different saturation states: 1) "partially-preserved" and 2) after a series of core-flooding experiments using reservoir fluids (oil, brine) under "in-situ" stress conditions. Small rock chips (cm-sized), sub-sampled from "partially-preserved" (using dry ice) core plugs, were cryogenically frozen and analyzed using an environmental field emission scanning electron microscope (E-FESEM) equipped with X-ray mapping capability (EDS).
Smith, Steve A. (University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center) | Kurz, Bethany (University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center) | Sorensen, James (University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center) | Beddoe, Christopher (University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center) | Mibeck, Blaise (University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center) | Azenkeng, Alexander (University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center) | Hawthorne, Steve (University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center) | Gorecki, Charles (University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center)
Deployment of CO2-based enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is considered a potential secondary recovery option for unconventional reservoirs undergoing primary pressure depletion. In conjunction with EOR operations, there is a practical aspect of understanding CO2 permeability and retention over the injection period. To assess CO2 injectivity and storage potential within the organic-rich shales and middle member of the Bakken Formation, a series of laboratory tests were performed.
Flow-through tests were performed on Bakken Formation core plug samples, including organic-rich shales and siltstone reservoir rock. Testing was conducted at near-reservoir conditions of 5000 psi and 160°F. Flow rate, differential pressure, and fluid volume data were collected. Test durations were 6, 21, and 17.5 days for the reservoir and upper and lower shale samples, respectively.
Analytical work included x-ray diffraction (XRD), x-ray fluorescence (XRF), thin section, and pre- and posttest nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Pre- and posttest samples were solvent-extracted to determine the efficiency of hydrocarbon mobilization from inlet to outlet. After extraction, samples were analyzed using gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy (GC–MS). CO2 adsorption isotherm data were also obtained.
Test results differed among each sample run. CO2 breakthrough occurred very shortly after injection started in the Upper Bakken shale sample. Micro-computed tomography (CT) data showed that the sample was fractured along bedding and was contributing to early breakthrough. The reservoir siltstone sample showed a similar trend in breakthrough, but no fractures were present. The Lower Bakken shale sample was tested perpendicular to bedding to avoid bedding influences on flow. In this case, there was a period of CO2 uptake, then a slow transition to breakthrough. Permeability to CO2 for the upper, middle, and lower samples was 7.6, 54, and 1.4 nD, respectively. NMR analyses showed a shift in the fluid-saturated pore space, providing evidence that residual fluids were mobilized during testing. Solvent extractions and GC–MS work confirmed that hydrocarbons were received in the produced fluids from each test. Analyses also showed that the inlet side was depleted of hydrocarbons more effectively than the outlet. The CO2 adsorption isotherm data showed the Bakken shale has an almost tenfold increase in CO2 adsorption versus the siltstone, with values of 7.5 and 0.85 mg CO2/g-rock, respectively. Qualitatively, this correlates to the flow-through test data in that each of the samples tested had volumetric differences between the cumulative CO2 injection and receiver sides of the system.
Results of this work provide insight with respect to utilization of CO2 for EOR within the Bakken Formation and provide a mechanism for evaluating the CO2 storage potential of organic-rich shales. Flow-through testing will provide a baseline for future testing of other gases and gas blends and allow for the comparison of the CO2-based test results to those derived using other gases.
The Niobrara interval in the Denver-Julesberg (DJ) Basin contains several important unconventional hydrocarbon targets. However, the Niobrara is extensively faulted, which poses challenges for accurately landing and steering laterals in zone. Insight into small faulted structures in the Niobrara using traditional manual fault interpretation techniques is challenging because of the tuning thickness in seismic data. Fault throws less than the tuning thickness are difficult to interpret and incorporate into geosteering plans. Consequently, drillers frequently find themselves out of zone after crossing these small faults. Using independent information about fault locations and throws provided from multiple horizontal wells in the DJ Basin, this paper demonstrates the fault likelihood attribute (Hale, 2013) can resolve fault throws as small as 10 ft, allowing seismic-based well plans and unconventional project economics to be significantly improved.
Traditional geoscience data interpretation workflows in support of well planning can be tedious and time consuming, requiring manual fault picking on seismic profiles in conjunction with horizon tracing and gridding for structural mapping. The emergence of unconventional resource plays requires both more efficient geoscience workflows to support round-the-clock drilling operations and more detailed structural interpretations to help ensure laterals are steered along sweet spots. Pre-drill mapping of small-scale faults is therefore of particular importance for safe operations and helping ensure that lateral wells stay in zone.
Recent advances in fault-sensitive post-stack seismic attributes are changing the way subsurface professionals think about faults and how to map them in 3D space. In particular, the fault likelihood attribute (Hale, 2013) has provided a breakthrough improvement in the quality of seismic-derived fault attributes. Typically, the fault likelihood attribute is used in exploration settings to rapidly generate a broad-scale structural interpretation, being used both as a guide to manual fault interpretation and as input into automated fault extraction algorithms. This paper demonstrates the value of fault likelihood in development settings for assisting the well planning and geosteering process.
The East Duvernay shale basin is the newest addition to the list of prolific reservoirs in Western Canada. Over the last 3 years, horizontal drilling and multistage hydraulic fracturing have increased significantly. Because much of the play is still relatively new, much of the drilling has been limited to single wells or two wells per pad. Due to the low permeability of the matrix, hydraulic fracturing is required to unlock the full potential of the East Duvernay field. Because geomechanics is a critical factor in determining the effectiveness of hydraulic fracture propagation, we examined how varying the pore pressure profiles affects modeled in situ stresses, hydraulic fracture geometries, and overall field optimization.
The pore pressure varies across the East Duvernay shale basin with the depth of the reservoir and other geomechanical parameters. The stresses in the Ireton, Upper Duvernay, Lower Duvernay, and Cooking Lake reservoirs also varies from the West to the East shale basins. High-tier logging, core measurements, and field data were used to build a mechanical earth model, which is then input for hydraulic fracture simulations. Whole core images and image logs indicate the Duvernay to be a naturally fractured reservoir. Because pore pressure is a direct input into the interpretation for in situ stresses, we sensitized on seven pore pressure profiles through the Ireton, Upper and Lower Duvernay, and Cooking Lake reservoirs. Typical pumping design currently being implemented in the Upper Duvernay was used to determine hydraulic fracture geometry based on the various in situ stress profiles. Black oil PVT models were built to run numerical reservoir simulation production forecasts to understand the effect of variations in geomechanical properties on well production performance. The effect of the varying hydraulic fracture properties on well spacing was also investigated for the seven pore pressure profiles, by combining the complex hydraulic fracturing and reservoir simulation.
The results clearly indicated the need to better understand, quantify, and constrain the in situ stress profiles variations with changes in pore pressure models. Hydraulic fracture length is greater within the Upper Duvernay when a constant pore pressure is modeled in the Ireton, Duvernay and the Cooking Lake, which leads to an overestimation of production. If a normal pore pressure is modeled in the Ireton with overpressure in the Duvernay, the hydraulic fracture grows into the Ireton and gives a more realistic production forecast. When the modeled pore pressure is gradually ramped up from the Lower Ireton into the Duvernay, slightly greater fracture length is created in the Duvernay but not enough to make a huge difference in forecasted production. These varying results for the modeled hydraulic fracture geometries impact the optimum number of wells per section.
As more wells come on production and the economic viability of the play is proven, operators will drill more wells per section. Thoroughly understanding the variations in geomechanics across the formations above and below the Duvernay is important. This objective of this study was to drive the conversation about the data that need to be collected and tests that should be run to support the optimization of economic development of the play for years to come.