A Critical Review of CO₂-enhanced Oil Recovery in Tight Oil Reservoirs of North America and China


Primary oil recovery remains less than 10% in tight oil reservoirs, even after expensive multistage horizontal well hydraulic fracturing stimulation. Substantial experiments and simulation works have been performed to investigate CO2enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) potential in tight reservoirs; however, some results conflict with each other. The objectives of this paper are to fully understand the CO2-EOR mechanisms and to figure out the difference between tight oil exploitation in North America and China through a comprehensive literature review. It is shown that compared with Bakken and Eagle Ford formation, China's tight oil reservoirs feature higher mud content and oil viscosity while they have a lower brittleness index of rock and formation pressure coefficient, leading to confined stimulated reservoir volume and further limited CO2-oil contact. The effect of CO2molecular diffusion is relatively exaggerated in experimental results, which can be attributed to the dual restrictions of exposure time and oil-CO2area in field scale. Numerical simulation works show that the shifted phase properties in nanopores lead to an oil recovery increment. The development of nano-scale chips withholding high pressure/temperature may advance the experimental study on the nanopore confinement effect. CO2-fluid-rock minerals interaction might be more complex due to the large specific surface area of nanopores in tight formations. The geomechanics coupling effect cannot be ignored when examining the CO2-EOR performance in tight reservoirs. And a comprehensive simulation study coupling with technical and economic feasibility is highly recommended before running a field test of CO2-EOR.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

CO2-injection; Enhanced oil recovery; Recovery mechanism; Tight oil reservoir

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

15 Sep 2020