Simulation of Injectivity and Fracture Containment: Water Injection in a Turbidite Reservoir, Offshore Ghana

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.