La Cira Infantas is the oldest oil field in Colombia. It has approximately 100 years of production, and it is located in the Middle Magdalena Valley Basin, producing from a black oil multilayered and heterogeneous sandstone reservoir. Primary production began in 1918 until 1959 when the first water flooding process began. In 2005, Oxy Colombia and Ecopetrol initiated a joint venture of a new redeveloped water flooding process. Since the joint venture, the field has expanded to 400 patterns and 1,000 active producer wells, 95% of which are under a water flooding process. The redesign of the field considers 20-acre to 25-acre on average and 5-spot to 7-spot inverted patterns. Injector wells have a selective string completion, with mandrels and packers that allow having control on the vertical distribution of the volume of water per mandrel group. In order to monitor water flood performance in the field, a reservoir surveillance methodology, based on dimensionless variables, has been implemented.
The methodology was originally applied for a CO2 flood surveillance and was later extended to fit water flooding monitoring purposes. The paper presents the application of the dimensionless methodology, which allows the evaluation of water flood areas independently of their pattern configuration. This allows the comparison between patterns, sector or areas versus a theoretical ideal performance curve and quickly identify underperforming patterns in order to propose remedial actions.
The application of this methodology has opened new opportunities in the field including the identification of well candidates for chemical stimulation jobs and conformance jobs, isolation jobs in producer wells as well as pump upsize opportunities. Additionally, it has improved the technical evaluation of workover jobs. Because of this, in the last four years La Cira Infantas has extended its portfolio activity, executing over 400 workover jobs. More importantly, it has allowed the transfer of more than 20MMBO into PDP reserves, and the production of 3,000BOPD of incremental oil production per year since 2014.
This paper will provide an insight into the water flooding surveillance carried out in La Cira Infantas, which has proven to be very successful in Oxy's business units.
We present the first comprehensive experimental evaluation of CO2 EOR in organic rich shale. Experiments in preserved core demonstrated the potential of CO2 to extract the naturally occurring oil in organic rich shale reservoirs, whereas tests in re-saturated core plugs were used to compute accurate recovery factors, and evaluate the effect of soak time, operating pressure, and the relevance of slim-tube MMP on recovery. 18 core-flooding experiments were conducted in sidewall cores from different shale plays.
The cores re-saturated with crude oil, were first cleaned by Dean-Stark extraction, and submitted to porosity and compressibility determination. The re-saturation, confirmed by CT-scanning, was attained by aging the core plugs at high pressure for two to four months. In all experiments, glass beads surrounding core samples were used to simulate the proppant and physically recreate in the laboratory a hydraulic fracture connected to the shale matrix. The slim-tube MMP was measured with CO2, and core-flooding experiments were performed below, close to, and above the MMP. The displacement equipment was coupled to a medical CT-scanner that enabled us to track the changes in composition and saturation taking place within the shale cores during the experiments. Continuous CO2 injection and huff-and-puff were evaluated using soak time from zero to 22 hours. Fixed reservoir temperature was used in all the experiments.
Recovery factors ranged from 1.7 to 40%. The wide variation was the result of different experimental conditions for pressure and soak time. Both operational parameters were found to significantly affect the recovery. Increasing soak time at constant pressure consistently resulted in significant increase in recovery. The increase varied from 78 to 464% for different pressures and oil composition. Similarly, increasing operating pressure at constant soak time resulted in significant increase in recovery factor from 44 to 338% depending on soak time and oil composition. Unlike the typical response during CO2 EOR in conventional rocks, in organic rich shale, further pressure increases beyond the slim-tube MMP continued to increase the recovery factor significantly. In all runs, almost all oil recovery occurred within three days from the start of the experiment, and in all huff-and-puff tests the highest rate of recovery was observed in the first cycle, implying oil recovery with CO2 is a fast process, in comparison to oil re-saturation of the samples which occurs at a significantly slower rate.
This investigation demonstrates CO2 EOR is a technically feasible method to extract significant amounts of crude oil from organic rich shale reservoirs and it provides operational understanding of how to manage pressure and soak time to maximize recovery. The recovery factors obtained in this investigation, in the context of the vast reserves of crude oil contained in organic rich shale, can sustain a second shale revolution and further capitalize oilfield infrastructure.
We investigated the combined contributions of gravity drainage and miscibility as recovery mechanisms during CO2 flooding. The effects of gravity stable and unstable CO2 fronts under immiscible, near miscible and miscible displacements of crude oil by CO2 are presented. We contrast our results in porous media, with slim tube experiments, core floods, and bead packed tubes.
Standard slim-tube, vertically and horizontally oriented bead packed tubes, as well as vertical and horizontal reservoir core flood experiments, were used to investigate the role of the gravitational forces in improving oil recovery under different conditions regarding the crude oil – CO2 miscibility. Three crude oils with different minimum miscibility pressure (MMP) values were used in this study.
Our results show the gravity drainage mechanism has a much greater significance than previously thought when compared to the effects of phase behavior or the miscibility alone. Not surprisingly, vertically stable, downward displacement resulted in better performance compared to horizontal displacement in all cores and bead packed tubes in our experiments. Recovery is only slightly higher in the gravity stable floods when miscibility is achieved. However, in immiscible and near miscible displacements, recovery is significantly higher in the gravity stable floods, reaching up to 90% RF at 250 psi below the MMP value, compared to only 33% in horizontal floods. Our results suggest that achieving miscibility is not necessary to obtain high recovery efficiency during a gravity-stable displacement. Breakthrough is reached faster in horizontal floods as a consequence of fingering and gravity override.
This work challenges the paradigm that miscibility is required to achieve high recovery factors during CO2 flooding, and highlights the overlooked role of gravity drainage as a displacement mechanism. This finding has an essential impact on field operations as it allows for lower operating pressures in CO2 flooding processes under stable gravity displacement that will result in positive impact on economics. The relevance of our results is exacerbated by the current low crude oil price environment.
This paper examines a priori equation to describe recovery factors of EOR processes in oil shale plays. The existing studies imply promising future for implementing gas cyclic injection through hydraulically fractured wells completed in shale plays; the EOR agent (a mixture of HC gas or CO2) is injected and after a soaking period, the well is put back on production. However, translation of lab-scale EOR results to field-scale is yet to be resolved. Dynamic penetration volume (DPV) controls the amount of contacted oil by the EOR agent (fluid-fluid interface), slowly grows with
We use a combination of modeling, theoretical, and experimental work to investigate potential recovery loss in well-scale compared to recovery measured in the lab-scale. In our formulation, the recovery in pilot-scale is defined as the product of recovery in lab-scale by field factor. Recovery in lab-scale is a function of pressure drawdown during production (choke effect). Choke-size controls how fast the mixture of gas and vaporized oil components will be produced back after soaking time.
Field factor entails two parameters that control how much of in-situ liquid hydrocarbon can potentially interact with EOR agent; basically, field factor is evaluated as a fraction of reservoir volume prescribed within inter-well spacing accessible to the EOR agent when injection process begins. Field factor is calculated as a product of fraction of stimulated reservoir volume (SRV) accessible to EOR agent (DPV/SRV) at any given time by fraction of reservoir volume stimulated during fracturing; SRV is controlled by the efficiency of fracturing treatment. The pore connectivity loss can occur because of the physical closure of flow path at the fracture-matrix interface and/or two-phase blockage. The limiting two phase phenomena that can potentially prevent the injected gas from getting into pore space because of capillary forces.
Our results suggest that recovery in the pilot-scale can be significantly reduced owing to pore connectivity loss (a factor of two). The pore connectivity is reduced as pore pressure decreases and effective stress increases. We evaluate change of fluid conductivity under stress and differentiate contribution of pore connectivity loss and pore shrinkage. Moreover, our results suggest that chokes size effect observed in the experiments can be explained by loss of pore connectivity.
For the first time, an equation is presented to upscale the EOR results obtained in lab-scale to pilot-scale. The outcome is expected to help operators with the pilot-test performance evaluations.
To speed up coreflood experiments, we have developed a state of the art experimental setup (CAL-X) designed for high throughput coreflood experimentation. The setup is composed of an X-ray radiography facility, a fully instrumented multi-fluid injection platform and a dedicated X-ray transparent core holder. The equipment was designed to handle small samples of 10 mm in diameter and 20 mm in length, and can be operated at up to 150 bar and 150 °C. The X-ray facility consists of a high power X-ray tube and a high speed-low noise detector allowing real-time radiography acquisition and offering sufficient density resolution to use dopant-free fluids. The injection platform is fully automated and allows the control and monitoring of different parameters (pressure, temperature, flow rate…). 1-D and 2-D saturation profiles are followed in real-time, allowing a precise determination of the recovery curve, reducing thus drastically time-consuming effluent measurements. Using this setup, a typical coreflood experiment can be run in less than a day. To validate the setup we have run a series of experiments on water-wet sandstone samples to determine capillary desaturation curve, steady-state relative permeabilities and recovery factor for a formulation designed for high temperature conditions (110°C). The results show good repeatability as well as good agreement when compared to standard coreflood experiments. In the recovery factor experiment, during surfactant injection, the formation and displacement of an oil bank was observed, yielding a recovery factor of 92% OOIP.
We present a technique that enables the determination of the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP) of a CO2 – oil system using a short 20 ft slim tube in less than two weeks, about a third of what it normally takes using the conventional 80 ft slim tube. MMP is a crucial parameter in designing a CO2 enhanced oil recovery project and its value needs to be known with a degree of accuracy that cannot be provided by the use of equations of state or correlations, and therefore, needs to be determined experimentally. The slim tube technique is recognized to be the most accurate experimental method for determining the MMP, however its use has not been favored because it is time consuming.
We determined the MMP for five CO2 – crude oil systems from the North Burbank Unit and the Oklahoma/Texas Panhandle. The reduction in the length of the slim tube from 80 ft to 20 ft resulted in a decrease in the total time of the experiment. The validity of our technique was proven with performing recovery factor measurements using a conventional 80 ft long slim tube. The MMP values obtained are valid when the length of the slim tube is sufficient to host the mixing zone and the velocity of the displacement is slow enough to enable the transverse dispersion to eliminate viscous fingering. In the case of light oil, the use of the 20 ft slim tube is justified as the length of the mixing zone is shorter. We support our results with the use of numerical simulation.
The reduction in the time required for slim tube experiments results in a fast, economic and accurate technique for the determination of MMP in CO2 – light crude oil systems. Taking into account that CO2 flooding is the most applied EOR technique in the US and that it is mainly applied to light oil reservoirs, this work can be of great impact by providing a rapid and reliable method to determine the MMP for designing a CO2 enhanced oil recovery project.