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.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) flooding is a mature technology in oil industry, which finds broad attention in oil production during tertiary oil recovery (EOR). After five decade’s developments, there are many successful reports for CO2 miscible flooding. However, operators recognized that achieving miscible phase is one of big challenge in fields with extremely high minimum miscible pressure (MMP) after considering the safety and economics. Compared with CO2 miscible flooding, immiscible CO2 flooding demonstrates the great potentials under varying reservoir/fluid conditions. A comprehensive and high-quality data set for CO2 immiscible flooding are built by collecting various data from books, DOE reports, AAPG database, oil and gas biennially EOR survey, field reports and SPE publications. Important reservoir/fluid information, operational parameters and project performance evaluations are included, which provides the basis for comprehensive data analysis. Combination plot of boxplot and histogram are generated, where boxplots are used to detect the special cases and to summarize the ranges of each parameter; histograms display the distribution of each parameter and to identify the best suitable ranges for propose guidelines.
Results show that CO2 immiscible flooding could recover additional 4.7 to 12.5% of oil with average injection efficiency of 10.07 Mscf/stb; CO2 immiscible technique can be implemented in light/medium/heavy oil reservoirs with a wide range of net thickness (5.2 - 300 ft); yet in heavy oil specifically reservoir (oil gravity <25 °API) with thin layer (net thickness< 50 ft) is better.
This paper presents the integrated approach for the redevelopment of the waterflood in Howard-Glasscock field located primarily in Howard County, Texas. Originally discovered in 1925, the majority of production is now commingled across the Guadalupe, Glorieta and Clearfork formations. This is a mature field which is currently in the midst of a 5 and 10 acre infill drilling program that began in 2009. Emphasis has primarily been focused on drilling producing wells, but the basis for this project was to optimize an existing waterflood to guide the development strategy of the field moving forward.
A study of the production of the wells drilled since 2009 identified stronger performance in wells with offset waterflood support. On average, waterflood was responsible for a 22% improvement in the expected recovery per well, despite a lack of patterns or a comprehensive waterflood management plan. As a result, a multi-disciplined team was commissioned to design a strategy for the redevelopment of the flood and more active management of the daily operations. Geology and reservoir engineering aspects were used to characterize the reservoir in conjunction with classical waterflood methods to understand the current performance and validate the expectations for secondary recovery.
Fracture orientation was studied based on cases of early breakthrough and was utilized in pattern identification and well placement to maximize sweep and discourage direct communication between injectors and producers. Further, the success of the waterflood in Howard-Glasscock relies on the ability to control the flow of water over a 2,000 foot vertical interval. To address this, the team has implemented a surveillance plan with improved monitoring and communication with the operations team to enhance the collection of data and in order to react to the dynamics of a waterflood. The rapid response to injection observed in this field requires proper surveillance and timely control of water flow which ultimately drives the success of the program by moving water from high water cut intervals to bypassed oil zones.
This paper details the systematic approach that was used to design the redevelopment plan for a waterflood in a 90 year old field. The scope of work is being implemented and represents an adjustment in the development plan of Howard-Glasscock moving forward. Ultimately, the enhanced performance observed in recent drilling programs and the continued success of development in this mature field hinges on understanding and managing the waterflood moving forward.
SmartWater flooding through injection of chemistry optimized waters by tuning individual ions is recently getting more attention in the industry for improved oil recovery in carbonate reservoirs. Most of the research studies described so far in this area have been limited to studying the interactions at rock-fluids interfaces by measuring contact angles, zeta potential, and adhesion forces. The other widely reported interfacial tension data at oil-water interfaces do not consider the formation of interfacial monolayer and the interfacial tension is estimated as an average parameter relying on the properties of two individual bulk phases. As a result, such measurements have serious shortcomings to provide any details on complex microscopic scale interactions occurring directly at the interface between crude oil and water to understand the SmartWater flood recovery mechanism.
In this study, two novel interfacial instruments of interfacial shear rheometer and surface potential sensor were used to study microscopic scale interactions of various individual water ions at both air-water and complex crude oil-water interfaces. The measured interfacial rheology data indicated totally different interfacial behavior at crude oil-water interface when compared to air-water interface due to presence of crude oil functional groups. Viscous dominated response was observed at crude oil-water interface for all brine compositions. These interfaces behaved like a viscous fluid without exhibiting viscoelastic solid like properties. Lower interfacial viscous modulus was observed for certain key ions such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium. The interfacial viscous modulus was found to be substantially much higher for sulfates, besides exhibiting some elasticity. The surface potential was gradually decreased by replacing seawater with calcium only brine. The better surface activity with seawater can be attributed to adsorption of more key water ions at the surface.
The interesting results observed with certain water ions at fluid-fluid interfaces are expected to work in tandem with rock-fluids interactions to impact oil recovery in SmartWater flood. At first, they play a role to control the accessibility of active water ions to approach the rock surface, interact with it and subsequently alter wettability. Next oil droplets adhering to the rock surface will be detached and released due to favorable interactions occurring at rock-fluids interfaces. The interfacial film between oil and water can then quickly be destabilized due to less viscous interfaces observed with certain ions to promote drop-drop coalescence and easy mobilization of released oil droplets. This coalescence process is sequential and it would continue until the formation of small oil bank.
This is the first study that showed added importance of fluid-fluid interactions in SmartWater flood by using direct measurements on individual water ions at crude oil-water interface. In addition, a new oil recovery mechanism was proposed by combining both the interactions occurring at fluid-fluid and rock-fluids interfaces. The new fundamental knowledge gained in this study will provide an important guidance on how to synergize water ion interactions at fluid-fluid interfaces with those at rock-fluids interfaces to optimize oil recovery from SmartWater flood.