Evaluation of Chemical Blends for Shale EOR

Miller, Chammi (University of Texas at Austin) | Zeng, Tongzhou (University of Texas at Austin) | Mohanty, Kishore (University of Texas at Austin)



Application of horizontal wells and multi-stage fracturing has enabled oil recovery from extremely low permeability shale oil reservoirs, but the decline in production rate is more than two thirds in the first two years. We are trying to develop chemicals that can be injected into old wells to stimulate oil production before putting the well back in production. The goal of this work is to evaluate chemical blends for such a process at the laboratory scale. The chemical blend contains surfactants, a weak acid, a potential determining ion, and a solvent. Six different solvents were screened: Cyclohexane, D-Limonene, Dodecane, Kerosene, Turpentine, and Green Solvent®. Most of the chemical blends with the solvents extracted about 60% of the oil from shale chips, but the Green Solvent® extracted about 84%. Spontaneous imbibition tests were performed with outcrop Mancos shale cores. Oil was injected into these outcrop cores at a high pressure. NMR T2 distributions were measured for the cores in the original dry state, after oil injection and after imbibition. The aqueous phase from the chemical blend imbibed into the cores and pushed out a part of the oil and gas present in the cores. The surfactant in these blends can change wettability and interfacial tension. The solvent can mix with the oil and solubilize organic solid residues such as asphaltenes. The weak acid can dissolve a part of the carbonate minerals and improve permeability. The synergy can make these chemical blends strong candidates to stimulate oil recovery in shale formations.