A Parametric Study on the Applicability of Miscible Gases Based EOR Techniques in Unconventional Liquids Rich Reservoirs


Shale formations in North America such as Bakken, Niobrara, and Eagle Ford have a huge oil volume in place, 100-900 Billion barrels of oil in Bakken only. However, the predicted primary recovery is still below 10%. Therefore, seeking for techniques to enhance oil recovery in these complex plays is inevitable. In shale oil reservoirs, EOR is relatively novel compared with in conventional oil reservoirs. The most investigated technique among EOR methods to be applied in shale oil reservoirs is injecting miscible gases which mainly include CO₂, N₂ and enriched natural gases. However, these different gases showed different performance in both of lab scale and field pilots conducted in shale reservoirs. In this paper, numerical simulation methods of compositional models have been incorporated with LS-LR-DK (logarithmically spaced, locally refined, and dual permeability) models to mimic the performance of CO₂ as well as natural gases (lean gas and rich gas) in different scenarios of unconventional reservoirs. The models of this study are mainly built on the sensitivity analysis for the fluid and rock properties of Bakken formation. Sensitivity analysis methods used in this study were conducted by using two main methods of Design of Experiments (DOE) which are Response Surface Methodology (RSM) and One Parameter At A Time (OPAAT) approach. This study found that the main parameters affecting CO₂-EOR performance are not the same parameters influencing natural-gases (NGs) EOR performance in shale reservoirs. This happens due to the difference in the physical nature among gases, especially the molecular weight difference between CO₂ and NGs where the molecular diffusion flow is the dominated flow type in those very tight formations. This study also indicated that NGs-EOR performance exceeds the performance of CO₂-EOR in the formations with very small pore throats (Permeability in range of 0.00001-1 mD). However, injecting CO₂ is highly recommended over injecting NGs in the reservoirs with the permeability of more than 1 mD. Moreover, it has been observed that NGs are not very strong function of natural fractures intensity as CO₂. Furthermore, due to the small molecular weight of NGs, they do not require very large contact areas as CO₂ does. This study explains the effects of different nano and macro mechanisms on the performance of CO₂-EOR and natural-gases EOR in unconventional reservoirs since these plays are much complex and very different from conventional formations. Also, general guidelines have been provided in this study to enhance success of CO₂-EOR in unconventional reservoirs.

Meeting Name

SPE Canada Unconventional Resources Conference, URC 2018 (2018: Mar. 13-14, Calgary, Canada)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Carbon dioxide; Design of experiments; Enhanced recovery; Gases; Mechanical permeability; Molecular weight; Natural gas; Natural gas wells; Numerical methods; Oil shale; Oil well flooding; Petroleum reservoirs; Resource valuation; Sensitivity analysis; Shale; Shale oil, Compositional models; Dual-permeability; Enhance oil recoveries; Molecular diffusion; Numerical simulation method; Response surface methodology; Unconventional reservoirs; Weight difference, Petroleum reservoir engineering

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Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2018 Society of Petroleum Engineers, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2018

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