A miscible injectant was used in a single injection well pilot in the Yates field to mobilize remaining oil in the gas cap and accelerate gravity drainage. Nitrogen, CO2 and recycled gas injection, all immiscible with Yates oil due to low original and current reservoir pressure, have been used historically to assist the gas-oil gravity drainage (GOGD) development. The result of immiscible injection has been a lowering of the gas-oil contact, a thinning of the oil column, and leaving a remaining oil saturation in the gas cap of up to 40 percent. A hydrocarbon mixture rich in ethane and propane and miscible with Yates oil was injected in a CO2 injector for six months after which the well was returned to pure CO2 injection.
Data collection during the pilot included repeat saturation logging of a newly drilled observation well, well tests of nearby horizontal producers, frequent gas and oil sampling, and chromatographic analysis. Phase behavior PVT experiments were also conducted which confirmed miscibility of the injectant and improvement over CO2 injection. Numerical simulation of pilot performance was also used as part of the interpretation.
Pilot results to date show a doubling of oil rate at peak over base oil decline, breakthrough in horizontal producers within 3-5 months matching an a priori prediction from numerical simulation, 10 percent reduction in oil saturation in the target interval in the gas cap, and the return of two wells to continuous production after having been shut-in due to high gas-oil ratios. Early interpretation of pilot results showed that most of the incremental oil and back produced enriched hydrocarbons came from one well. During the follow-up CO2 injection phase, one of the horizontal wells completed in the gas cap (unlike other pilot producers), was redrilled deeper into the oil column to improve the pilot areal and vertical sweep.
The pilot design, results, and interpretation will be discussed. Results from the pilot will be used to support evaluation of a field wide development, which could lead to substantial incremental reserves and extension of the field life.