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.
Zhang, Fan (Texas A&M University) | Saputra, I. W. R. (Texas A&M University) | Niu, Geng (Texas A&M University) | Adel, Imad A. (Texas A&M University) | Xu, Liang (Halliburton) | Schechter, David S. (Texas A&M University)
Field experience along with laboratory evidence of spontaneous imbibition via the addition of surfactants into the completion fluid is widely believed to improve the IP and ultimate oil recovery from unconventional liquid reservoirs (ULR). During fracture treatment with surface active additives, surfactant molecules interact with the rock surface to enhance oil recovery through wettability alteration combined with interfacial tension (IFT) reduction. The change in capillary force as the wettability is altered by the surfactant leads to oil being expelled as water imbibes into the pore space. Several laboratory studies have been conducted to observe the effectiveness of surfactants on various shale plays during the spontaneous imbibition process, but there is an insufficient understanding of the physical mechanisms that allow scaling the lab results to field dimensions.
In this manuscript, we review and evaluate dimensionless, analytical scaling groups to correlate laboratory spontaneous imbibition data in order to predict oil recovery at the field scale in ULR. In addition, capillary pressure curves are generated from imbibition rate theory originally developed by
Correlated experimental workflows were developed to achieve the aforementioned objectives including contact angle (CA) and IFT at reservoir temperature. In addition, oil recovery of spontaneous imbibition experiments was recorded with time to evaluate the performance of different surfactants. Capillary pressure-based scaling is developed by modifying previously available scaling models based on available surfactant-related properties measured in the laboratory. To ensure representability of the scaling method; contact angle, interfacial tension, and ultimately spontaneous imbibition experiments were performed on field-retrieved samples and used as a base for developing a new scaling analysis by considering dimensionless recovery and time. Based on the capillary pressure curves obtained from the scaling model, relative permeability is approximated through a history matching procedure on core-scale numerical models. CT-Scan technology is used to build the numerical core plug model in order to preserve the heterogeneity of the unconventional core plugs and visualize the process of water imbibition in the core plugs. Time-lapse saturation changes are recorded using the CT scanner to visualize penetration of the aqueous phase into oil-saturated core samples. The capillary and relative permeability curves can then be used on DFN realizations to test cases with or without surfactant. The results of spontaneous imbibition showed that surfactant solutions had a higher oil recovery due to wettability alteration combined with IFT reduction. Our upscaling results indicate that all three methods can be used to scale laboratory results to the field. When compared to a well without surfactant additives, the optimum 3-year cumulative oil production of well that is treated with surfactant can increase by more than 20%.
Cronin, M. (Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and EMS Energy Institute, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park) | Emami-Meybodi, H. (Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and EMS Energy Institute, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park) | Johns, R. T. (Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and EMS Energy Institute, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park)
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) by solvent injection offers significant potential to increase recovery from shale oil reservoirs, which are typically between 3 and 7% OOIP. The rather sparse literature on this topic typically models these tight reservoirs based on conventional reservoir processes and mechanisms, such as by convective transport using Darcy's law, even though there is little physical justification for this treatment. The literature also downplays the importance of the soaking period in huff'n'puff.
In this paper we propose for the first time a more physically-realistic recovery mechanism based solely on diffusion-dominated transport. We develop a diffusion-dominated proxy model assuming first-contact miscibility (FCM) to provide rapid estimates of oil recovery for both primary production and the solvent huff'n'soak'n'puff (HSP) process in ultra-tight oil reservoirs. Simplified proxy models are developed to represent the major features of the fracture network.
The key results show that diffusion-transport only can reproduce the primary production period within the Eagle Ford shale and model the HSP process well, without the need to use Darcy's law. The mechanism for recovery is based solely on density and concentration gradients. Primary production is a self-diffusion process, while the HSP process is based on counter-diffusion. Incremental recoveries by HSP are several times greater than primary production recoveries, showing significant promise in increasing oil recoveries. We calculate ultimate recoveries for both primary production and for the HSP process, and show that methane injection is preferred over carbon dioxide injection. We also show that the proxy model, to be accurate, must match the total matrix contact area and the ratio of effective to total contact area with time. These two parameters should be maximized for best recovery.
Injection of blocking gels in the near wellbore of producer wells is a technique employed for water production control. A proven and effective alternative to control this water excess is the application of crosslinked gels.
Water shut-off (WSO) treatments efficiency depends on several aspects such as reservoir fluid flow patterns, rock petrophysics, formation heterogeneities and gel characteristics. Although experimental laboratory tests previous field implementation, are many times underestimated, they provide valuable information that increases the chances of success. Integrating lab results with reservoir and field data creates a proper scenario that diminishes the uncertainties during field implementation. It is also crucial the support of a multidisciplinary team work while injecting the WSO tretament.
This paper presents a successful water shut-off treatment specially designed for high temperature, applied in a production well located in Vizcacheras field, Mendoza Agentina.
O'Brien, W. J. (Nitec LLC) | Moore, R. G. (Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary) | Mehta, S. A. (Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary) | Ursenbach, M. G. (Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary) | Kuhlman, M. I. (MK Tech Solutions)
This paper outlines the results of a comparative study of air- and immiscible CO2 - Water injection based Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) processes for a 30+ °API tight, light oil reservoir. This was accomplished by embedding multiple low- permeability core plugs in crushed reservoir core material to create a composite core that was contained in a 1.84 m long core holder. The objectives of this unscaled experimental work were: 1) to understand the suitability of each EOR process for a low permeability reservoir, 2) to define process parameters prior to a potential field pilot, and 3) to understand the relative merits of each EOR process to mobilize light oil from a tight matrix to a fracture network.
A detailed experimental investigation was conducted at realistic reservoir conditions to evaluate the feasibility of an air injection-based EOR process. The air injection results were compared with those from an immiscible CO2-Water injection EOR experiment using the same experimental setup and reservoir conditions. Both the air- and CO2 - Water coreflood tests were performed at 10.3 MPa (1500 psig) and 99 °C in a 100 mm diameter, 1.84 m long composite core-holder using 38 mm diameter reservoir core plugs (that represented the matrix) and mounted within the crushed reservoir core material (that represented the fracture); inert helium gas was used to pressure up the core-holder to reservoir pressure. Permeability of the core plugs was from 0.3 to 3 millidarcies, while the permeability of the crushed core material was 1 to 3 Darcies.
Air injection was performed as a standard combustion tube test with injection of 2.3 pore volumes (PV) of air to burn 71% of the packed core length (including helium, a total of 4.3 PV of gas injected). The CO2-Water coreflood was performed with the injection of 2.86 PV of CO2 followed by an extended soak period, then a second injection of an additional 2.86 PV of CO2, followed by the injection of 2.6 PV of water.
The pre- and post-test core plug measurements of oil saturation show that the air injection process removed significantly larger quantities of hydrocarbons than the immiscible CO2-Water injection process. Relative to the initial conditions of the core plugs for the Air-Injection experiment, 95+ percent of the hydrocarbons were removed; noting that some fraction of original oil was consumed as fuel. In the post-test CO2-Water injection core plugs, oil recovery was in the range of 30 to 55 percent of OOIP. These findings suggest, under an appropriate field design, that both processes have the potential to recover incremental oil from tight reservoirs. However, the air-injection may be better suited to mobilize oil, due to thermal expansion, rather than the CO2 - Waterflood process.
The in-situ steam based technology is still the main exploitation method for bitumen and heavy oil resources all over the world. But most of the steam-based processes (e.g., cyclic steam stimulation, steam drive and steam assisted gravity drainage) in heavy oilfields have entered into anexhaustion stage. Considering the long-lasting steam-rock interaction, how to further enhance the heavy oil recovery in the post-steam injection era is currently challenging the EOR (enhanced oil recovery) techniques. In this paper, we present a comprehensive review of the EOR processes in the post steam injection era both in experimental and field cases. Specifically, the paper presents an overview on the recovery mechanisms and field performance of thermal EOR processes by reservoir lithology (sandstone and carbonate formations) and offshore versus onshore oilfields. Typical processes include thein-situ combustion process, the thermal/-solvent process, the thermal-NCG (non-condensable gas, e.g., N2, flue gas and air) process, and the thermal-chemical (e.g., polymer, surfactant, gel and foam) process. Some new in-situ upgrading processes are also involved in this work. Furthermore, this review also presents the current operations and future trends on some heavy oil EOR projects in Canada, Venezuela, USA and China.
This review showsthat the offshore heavy oilfields will be the future exploitation focus. Moreover, currently several steam-based projects and thermal-NCG projects have been operated in Emeraude Field in Congo and Bohai Bay in China. A growing trend is also found for the in-situ combustion technique and solvent assisted process both in offshore and onshore heavy oil fields, such as the EOR projects in North America, North Sea, Bohai Bay and Xinjiang. The multicomponent thermal fluids injection process in offshore and the thermal-CO2and thermal-chemical (surfactant, foam) processes in onshore heavy oil reservoirs are some of the opportunities identified for the next decade based on preliminary evaluations and proposed or ongoing pilot projects. Furthermore, the new processes of in-situ catalytic upgrading (e.g., addition of catalyst, steam-nanoparticles), electromagnetic heating and electro-thermal dynamic stripping (ETDSP) and some improvement processes on a wellbore configuration (FCD) have also gained more and more attention. In addition, there are some newly proposed recovery techniques that are still limitedto the laboratory scale with needs for further investigations. In such a time of low oil prices, cost optimization will be the top concerns of all the oil companies in the world. This critical review will help to identify the next challenges and opportunities in the EOR potential of bitumen and heavy oil production in the post steam injection era.
Izadi, M. (Ecopetrol S.A.) | Vicente, S. E. (Ecopetrol S.A.) | Zapata Arango, J. F. (Ecopetrol S.A.) | Chaparro, C. (Ecopetrol S.A.) | Jimenez, J. A. (Ecopetrol S.A.) | Manrique, E. (Ecopetrol S.A.) | Mantilla, J. (Ecopetrol S.A.) | Dueñas, D. E. (Ecopetrol S.A.) | Huertas, O. (Ecopetrol S.A.) | Kazemi, H. (Colorado School of Mines)
Surfactant-polymer (SP) flooding (also known as micellar flooding) is an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) process resulting from the interaction of three mechanisms: (1) oil solubilization, (2) interfacial tension reduction, and (3) aqueous-phase mobility reduction by polymer. Surfactant-polymer flooding has been studied both in the laboratory and field pilot tests for several decades. In SP flooding, traditionally a tapered polymer solution follows the injected surfactant slug. However, in recent years, co-injection of surfactant and a relatively high concentration of polymer solution has been used in several field trials. Despite a significant increase in oil recovery in several surfactant-polymer flood projects, the increased oil production period has been of short duration.
The first objective of this paper is to present two field pilot tests which encountered productivity impairment, and the second objective is to describe the probable causes of the productivity impairment. The third objective of the paper is to present a methodology, using field and laboratory data, to anticipate the nature of long-term problems. To shed light on the issues, we will present two pilot tests located in the Illinois basin in the United States and San Francisco Field in Colombia. The results of the pilot tests and several laboratory experiments will be presented to address the productivity loss observed in the two pilot projects. Laboratory measurements to determine crude oil propensity for emulsions, with and without surfactants, are not part of the routine chemical EOR protocol in the industry. Nonetheless, understanding the cause and type of emulsion formation in crude oil, brine, and polymer at different salinities is critical and will be presented in the paper. In addition, in the paper, we will present the results of a numerical simulator to evaluate experimental laboratory results and the field test performance. In conclusion, because of the experience with numerous laboratory experiments and the conduct of associated field tests, we will be able to shed light on the complexity of surfactant-polymer EOR field applications.
The improved oil recovery of unconventional shale reservoirs has attracted much interest in recent years. Gas injection, such as CO2 and natural gas, is one of the most considered techniques for its sweep efficiency and effectiveness in low permeability reservoirs. However, the uncertainties of fluid phase behavior in shale reservoirs pose a great challenge in evaluating the performance of gas injection operation. Shale reservoirs are featured with macro-scale to nano-scale pore size distribution in the porous space. In fractures and macropores, the fluid shows bulk behavior, but in nanopores the phase behavior is significantly altered by the confinement effect. The integrated behavior of reservoir fluids in this complex environment remains uncertain.
In this study, we investigate the nano-scale pore size distribution effect on the phase behavior of reservoir fluids in gas injection for shale reservoirs using a multi-scale equation of state modeling. A case of Anadarko Basin shale oil is used. The pore size distribution is discretized as a multi-scale system with pores of specific diameters. The phase equilibria of methane injection into the multi-scale system are calculated. The constant composition expansions are simulated for oil mixed with various fractions of injected gas. Bubble point, swelling factor, criticality and fluid volumetrics are studied in comparison to the behavior of the bulk fluid. It is found that fluid in nanopores becomes supercritical with injected gas, but lowering the pressure below bubble point will turn it into the subcritical state. The swelling factor is slightly higher with nanopores, and bubble point is lower than the bulk. The degree of deviation depends on the amount of injected gas.
With the synergy of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, commercial production of Unconventional Liquid Reservoirs (ULR) has been successfully demonstrated. Due to the low recovery factor of these reservoirs, it is inevitable that Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) will ensue. Experimental results have shown promising oil recovery potential using CO2. This study investigates oil production mechanisms from the matrix into the fracture by simulating two laboratory experiments as well as several field-scale studies, and evaluates the potential of using CO2 huff-n-puff process to enhance the oil recovery in ULR with nano-Darcy range matrix permeability in complex natural fracture networks.
This study fully explores mechanisms contributing to the oil recovery with numerical modeling of experimental work, and provides a systematic investigation of the effects of various parameters on oil recovery. The core scale modeling utilizes two methods of determining properties that are used to construct 3D heterogeneous models. The findings are then upscaled to the field scale where both simple and complex fractures in a single stage are modeled. The effects of reservoir properties and operational parameters on oil recovery are then investigated. In addition, this study is the first to present simulation results of CO2 huff-n-puff using complex fracture networks which are generated from microseismic-constraint stochastic models.
Diffusion is proven to be the dominant oil recovery mechanism at the laboratory scale. However, the field-scale reservoir simulation indicates diffusion is negligible compared to the well-known mechanisms accompanying multi-contact miscibility. This includes swelling, viscosity reduction, and gas expansion in the matrix. Overall, the CO2 huff-n-puff process was found to be beneficial in both models in terms of enhancing the ultimate oil recovery in ULR.
Given limited CO2 supply, operational constraints, and pattern specific reservoir performance, WAG schedule can be customized such that NPV or other metrics are optimized. Depending on the WAG schedule, recovery can fluctuate between 5–15% at the pattern scale due to reservoir heterogeneity causing variations in sweep efficiency. An analytical method was developed to optimize WAG schedules that couples traditional reservoir modeling and simulation with machine learning, enabling the discovery of optimal WAG schedules that increase recovery at the pattern level. A history-matched reservoir model of Chaparral Energy's Farnsworth Field, Ochiltree County, TX was sampled intelligently to perform predictive reservoir flow simulations and artificially build an intelligent reservoir model that samples a broad range of possible WAG scenarios for optimization. The intelligent model generates the next "best" sample to investigate in the numerical simulator and converges on the optima, quickly reducing the number of runs investigated. Results in this paper demonstrate that there can be significant improvements in net present value as well as net utilization rates of CO2 using this analytical technique. The WAG design generated by the intelligent reservoir model should be deployed in the field in early 2016 for validation. It is intended that the intelligent reservoir model will be updated on a regular basis as injection and production data is obtained. This effort represents the beginning of a paradigm shift in the application of modeling and simulation tools for significant improvements in field production operations.