Wang, Yang (China University of Petroleum – Beijing and Pennsylvania State University) | Cheng, Shiqing (China University of Petroleum – Beijing) | Zhang, Kaidi (Lusheng Petroleum Development Co., Ltd, SINOPEC Shengli Oilfield Company) | Xu, Jianchun (China University of Petroleum – East China) | Qin, Jiazheng (China University of Petroleum – Beijing) | He, Youwei (China University of Petroleum – Beijing and Texas A&M University) | Luo, Le (China University of Petroleum – Beijing) | Yu, Haiyang (China University of Petroleum – Beijing)
Pressure-transient analysis (PTA) of water injectors with waterflood-induced fractures (WIFs) is much more complicated than hydraulic fracturing producers due to the variation of fracture properties in the shutting time. In plenty of cases, current analysis techniques could result in misleading interpretations if the WIFs are not well realized or characterized. This paper presents a comprehensive analysis for five cases that focuses on the interpretation of different types of pressure responses in water injectors.
The characteristic of radial composite model of water injector indicates the water erosion and expansion of mini-fractures in the inner region. The commonplace phenomena of prolonged storage effect, bi-storage effect and interpreted considerably large storage coefficient suggest that WIF(s) may be induced by long time water injection. Based on this interpreted large storage coefficient, fracture half-length can be obtained. In the meanwhile, the fracture length shrinks and fracture conductivity decreases as the closing of WIF, which has a considerable influence on pressure responses. Results show that the upward of pressure derivative curve may not only be caused by closed outer boundary condition, but also the decreasing of fracture conductivity (DFC). As for multiple WIFs, they would close successively after shutting in the well due to the different stress conditions perpendicular to fracture walls, which behaves as several unit slopes on the pressure derivative curves in the log-log plot.
Aiming at different representative types of pressure responses cases in Huaqing reservoir, Changqing Oilfield, we innovatively analyze them from a different perspective and get a new understanding of water injector behaviors with WIF(s), which provides a guideline for the interpretation of water injection wells in tight reservoirs.
Yu, Wei (Texas A&M University) | Zhang, Yuan (China University of Geosciences Beijing) | Varavei, Abdoljalil (The University of Texas at Austin) | Sepehrnoori, Kamy (The University of Texas at Austin) | Zhang, Tongwei (The University of Texas at Austin) | Wu, Kan (Texas A&M University) | Miao, Jijun (SimTech LLC)
The effectiveness of CO2 injection as a Huff-n-Puff process in tight oil reservoirs with complex fractures needs to be investigated due to the fast decline of primary production and low recovery factor. Although numerous experimental and numerical studies have proven the potential of CO2 Huff-n-Puff, relatively few numerical compositional models exist to comprehensively and efficiently simulate and evaluate CO2 Huff-n-Puff considering CO2 molecular diffusion, nanopore confinement, and complex fractures based on an actual tight-oil well. The objective of this study is to introduce a numerical compositional model with an embedded discrete fracture model (EDFM) method to simulate CO2 Huff-n-Puff in an actual Eagle Ford tight oil well. Through non-neighboring connections, the EDFM method can properly and efficiently handle any complex fracture geometries without the need of local grid refinement (LGR) nearby fractures. Based on the actual Eagle Ford well, we build a 3D reservoir model including one horizontal well and multiple hydraulic and natural fractures. Six fluid pseudocomponents were considered. We performed history matching with measured flow rates and bottomhole pressure using the EDFM and LGR methods. The comparison results show that a good history match was obtained and a great agreement between EDFM and LGR was achieved. However, the EDFM method performs faster than the LGR method. After history matching, we evaluated the CO2 Huff-n-Puff effectiveness considering CO2 molecular diffusion and nanopore confinement. The traditional phase equilibrium calculation was modified to calculate the critical fluid properties with nanopore confinement. The simulation results show that the CO2 Huff-n-Puff with smaller CO2 diffusion coefficients underperforms the primary production without CO2 injection; nevertheless, the CO2 Huff-n-Puff with larger CO2 diffusion coefficients performs better than the primary production. In addition, both CO2 molecular diffusion and nanopore confinement are favorable for the CO2 Huff-n-Puff effectiveness. The relative increase of cumulative oil production after 7300 days with CO2 diffusion coefficient of 0.01 cm2/s and nanopore size of 10 nm is about 12% for this actual Eagle Ford well. Furthermore, when considering complex natural fractures, the relative increase of cumulative oil production is about 8%. This study provides critical insights into a better understanding of the impacts of CO2 molecular diffusion, nanopore confinement, and complex natural fractures on well performance during CO2 Huff-n-Puff process in the Eagle Ford tight oil reservoirs.
Huff and Puff gas injection through horizontal wells in shale petroleum reservoirs is moving cautiously from being a promising theoretical possibility, to becoming a reality for increasing oil recovery. This study investigates how oil recoveries from shales can be increased by (1) a combination of refracturing and huff and puff gas injection, and (2) huff and puff gas injection when the length of the gas injection and production cycles are increased over time.
The possibility of improving oil recoveries from shales by a combination of refracturing and huff and puff gas injection is investigated using a compositional simulation approach. Previous studies published in the literature, have considered the implementation of regular constant-time cycles throughout the huff and puff process. This may not be the optimum strategy. In this work, the use of cycles with increasing time-lengths is investigated with a view to maximize the oil recovery by huff and puff gas injection.
The combination of (1) huff and puff gas injection followed by (2) refracturing and (3) stopping gas injection is found to be a good option to increase oil recovery from shale petroleum reservoirs when the initial hydraulic fracturing (IHF) has been successful. The benefits of this approach are demonstrated through a comparison made when refracturing is carried out without previous huff and puff injection. If the IHF has not been implemented properly, the huff and puff gas injection does not provide attractive recoveries. In this case, a refracturing job followed by huff and puff gas injection is shown to improve recoveries significantly. A comparison of the different scenarios considered in this paper shows that proper design of the injection and production schedule is very important in the development of a huff and puff gas injection. Optimizing the schedule by using the appropriate cycles with variable increasing-time spans can lead to improving the huff and puff performance.
This study investigates how to increase oil recovery from shale petroleum reservoirs by (1) the combined use of refracturing and huff and puff gas injection, and (2) the use of cycles of variable length as opposed to the regular-length constant-time cycles considered in previous publications. To the best of our knowledge, the two cases considered in this paper are novel and have not been published previously in the literature.
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.
Horizontal drilling was successfully applied in a mature waterflood at Occidental's North Wasson Clearfork Unit (NWCFU) as the first waterflooded longitudinal fractured horizontal in the Permian Basin Leonardian Series. The field is located on the northwestern shelf of the Permian Basin, where the Middle Clearfork (MCF) reservoir had been developed with 20-acre vertical well spacing. Recent geological models revealed a series of relatively thin, discontinuous lenticular extensions of "pay" quality porosity in areas of poor areal sweep efficiency. Although horizontal development is typically used for greenfield tight unconventional resources, this concept was evaluated as an alternative to traditional vertical infill drilling in this conventional, heterogeneous, waterflooded reservoir.
Because the widely accepted practice of maximizing stimulated rock volume with closely spaced, transverse fractures would jeopardize the waterflood sweep efficiency, the horizontal well was drilled parallel to the in-situ maximum horizontal stress (SHmax), rather than perpendicular.
A horizontal pilot well was drilled with the following objectives: 1) to prove the effectiveness of multistage, longitudinal fractures to increase oil production from a heterogeneous reservoir, thereby improving recovery efficiency in a mature waterflood, and 2) to investigate the ability to manage the well's decline with waterflood support from offset vertical injection wells.
Initial results have shown that the pilot was successful in meeting both objectives. Furthermore, this horizontal well, which cost five times as much as a vertical well, had an initial peak rate that was seven times as much as a typical vertical well in the field, and in the first year, it produced about seven times as much as a typical vertical well. In this paper, we will discuss the successes and challenges of the pilot project and share the lessons learned.
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%.
Post-fracturing production data analysis indicates stimulation of some west Texas wells with surfactant additives did not enhance production as high as expected. Analysis of flowback and produced water for surfactant residues revealed 99% of surfactant was retained inside wells (
Literature precedent exists that polyelectrolyte (PET)-based SAs could significantly reduce surfactant adsorption not only onto a variety of outcrop minerals (Carlpool dolomite, calcite, kaolinite, Berea sandstone, Indiana limestone, etc.) and metal oxide nanoparticles, but also unconventional shale formulations in which surface area can be up to 700 m2/g. In this study, the adsorptions of surfactant and SA to proppants were first examined. Results indicate no adsorption was observed to proppant for both surfactants and PET-based SAs. SAs (0.5 to 1 gal/1,000 gal (gpt)) were then injected with surfactant (1 to 3 gpt) at an appropriate ratio into column-packed shale formulations (primarily composed of calcite, dolomite, quartz, illite, pyrite, and plagioclase feldspar) to investigate its effectiveness in controlling surfactant retention caused by adsorption. Laboratory testing revealed injection of 3 gpt mixture of surfactant and SA has a similar adsorption profile (surface tension as a function of time) as 3 gpt surfactant alone based on the dynamic surface tension measurement. Notably, the addition of SAs resulted in lower surface tension and enhanced hydrocarbon solubility; and thus, an improved oil recovery by surfactant was achieved as evidenced by the oil recovery tests. Additionally, 68% friction reduction of the fracturing fluid with surfactant and SA was sufficient for the field operation compared to the guar-based fluid used in the hydraulic fracturing applications.
As a result of the laboratory findings, field trials were executed on a three well pad in the Permian basin (PB). For the first 30 days oil and gas production appeared to be significantly higher than the average production from offset wells in the same area that were previously fractured with the same surfactant.
Foamed fluids with the gas phase of carbon dioxide (CO2) have been applied as fracturing fluids to develop unconventional resources. This type of fracturing fluids meets the waterless requirements by unconventional reservoirs, which are prone to damage by clay swelling and blocking pore throat in water environment. Conventional CO2 foams with surfactants have low durability under high temperature and high salinity, which limit their application. Nanoparticles provide a new technique to stabilize CO2 foams under harsh reservoir conditions. It's essential to determine in-situ rheology of CO2 foams stabilized by nanoparticles in order to predict proppant transport in reservoir fractures and improve oil production.
The shear viscosity and foam texture of non-Newtonian fluids under reservoir conditions are critical to transport proppant and generate effective micro-channels. This study determined the in-situ shear viscosity of supercritical CO2 foams stabilized by nano-SiO2 in the Flow Loop apparatus with shear rates of 5950~17850 s-1 at the pressure of 1140±20 psig and the temperature of 40 °C. Supercritical CO2 with the density of 0.2~0.4 g/ml and the viscosity of 0.02~0.04 cp under typical reservoir conditions were applied to generate foams. The foams were tested with high foam quality up to 80% to minimize the usage of water. The effects of shear rates, salinity, surfactant, and nanoparticle sizes and on the rheology of gas foams with different foam qualities were experimentally investigated. The foam texture and stability were observed through an in-line sapphire tube. Further, proppant transport by CO2 foams and the placement in fractures were analyzed by considering the rheology of non-Newtonian fluids and the mechanisms of gravity driven settling and hindered settling/slurry flow.
The conditions of nanoparticle foaming systems were optimized through orthogonal experimental design. The dense and stable foams were generated and observed under high pressure and elevated temperature conditions. It was observed that CO2 foams with high quality of 80% demonstrated the highest viscosity and stability under optimal conditions. The foams with nanoparticles demonstrated both shear- thinning and shear-thickening behaviors depending on foam quality and components. The salinity and nanoparticle size affect foam rheology in two ways depending on components, foam quality, and shear rates.
While the viscosities of CO2 foam stabilized by nanoparticles have been widely studied recently, no work has been done to observe the stability and texture of supercritical CO2 foam after shearing under high pressure and high temperature, not to mention proppant transport by CO2 foam. This study provided a pioneering insight to the proppant transport by viscous supercritical CO2 foam stabilized by nanoparticles.
Imqam, Abdulmhsin (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Wang, Ze (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Bai, Baojun (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Delshad, Mojdeh (The University of Texas at Austin)
Preformed particle gels (PPG) have been successfully applied as a plugging agent to solve the conformance problem in fractured reservoirs. They are injected to plug fractures and then divert displacing fluid into poorly swept zones and areas. However, PPG propagation and plugging mechanisms through open fractures have not been studied thoroughly. This paper investigated the influence of some factors (particle size, brine concentration, heterogeneity, injection flow rate, and brine salinity) on gel injectivity and plugging performance for water flow through opening fractures. Five-foot tubes were used to mimic opening fractures. Three models were designed to gain understanding on how fracture geometry and PPG properties affect gel injection and plugging efficiency, including (1) single fracture with uniform fracture width, (2) single fracture with different widths, and (3) two parallel fractures with different width ratios between each other. Results from single uniform fracture experiments showed that PPG injection pressure was more sensitive to gel strength than gel particle size. When large PPG size and high gel strength were used, high injection pressure and large injection pore volume were required for PPG and brine to reach fracture outlets. Results from single heterogeneous fracture model experiments showed PPG injection pressure increased as the fracture heterogeneity in sections increased. Particle gel accumulated at the choke point within each fracture and caused injection pressure to increase accordingly. Furthermore, results showed that having a lower salinity within a fracture, which was less than the brine salinity that was used to prepare PPG, would improve the PPG plugging efficiency for water flow. Parallel fracture models results showed that when weak PPG was used, a large volume of PPG flowed into a large fracture width and a small portion of the gel particle volume flowed into small fracture width. However, with increased gel strength and fracture width ratio, PPG only flowed through larger fracture widths. This paper demonstrates important impact elements of gel propagation and water flow for different opening fracture situations.
Waterflood implementation accounts for more than half of the oil production worldwide. Despite the observations and extensive research from a large number of floods and thousands of simulation studies, managing waterfloods and Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) floods is still a technical challenge. A major contributor to this challenge are waterflood induced fractures (WIF). Managing waterfloods is a multivariable problem although WIF are one aspect, it is by no means the only controlling factor.
The best evidence that WIF are one of the main factors controlling flow in reservoirs is the insensitivity of injection pressure to injection rates. With our experience, in hundreds of waterfloods, we have frequently observed this phenomenon in the field data. If fluid flow depended on diffusive Darcy flow alone, we would expect higher injection rates with higher injection pressures. However, it is common to observed relatively constant injection pressures over a wide range of water injection rates. Rapid well communication and changes in water cuts that vary with injection rates also support an interpretation of high permeability induced fractures between injector and producer. In some reservoirs, interwell tracer data can be used to determine the influence of induced fracture features. The interwell tracers usually show very fast water movement.
Induced fractures in waterfloods and EOR projects can be caused by a number of mechanisms such as but not limited to, pressure depletion, changing pressure regimes, thermal effects, or plugging effects. These fractures can either be beneficial to the reservoir performance or effect performance negatively. Benefits include improved injectivity and increased throughput of the displacing fluid. Negative effects can come in the form of reduced volumetric sweep efficiency, impaired ultimate recovery or injected fluid losses out of zone.
Case studies, theory, and available literature from Western Canada will be reviewed in order to suggest and improve reservoir management strategies for waterfloods. We have completed hundreds of waterflood feasibility, waterflood management and EOR flood studies worldwide and continue to be amazed and humbled by the complexity that many waterfloods and EOR floods exhibit due to induced fracturing. WIF and EOR induced fractures (EIF) are common and should be analysed to optimize production. Growth of the WIF, response to waterflood with the presence of WIF, implication of WIF and reservoir management are the main areas which will be addressed.