More than 62% of the world’s oil and 40% of the gas reserves reside in carbonates, with recovery factors that are significantly lower than in sandstones. With a global average recovery rate of 30% today, can we make a 60% or higher recovery a reality for carbonate oil fields in the future? This SPE forum will address new and emerging science and technology such as reservoir characterisation, nano and bio-technologies, material and computational science, and physics and chemistry that could provide significant gains. It will focus on the future needs and opportunities.
As oil recovery processes involve the interplay of rock/fluids and thermodynamic interactions, the optimisation of hydrocarbon production requires a clear understanding of both static and dynamic reservoir properties at different scales, ranging from pore to meso-scale. Variability of the connected pore space or “flow channels” throughout the reservoirs tends to dominate fluid sweep. Vugs, fractures, micro-porosity, and karsts all play a significant role. Variable wettability within carbonate systems can also differ significantly from sandstones that tend to be strongly water-wet, affecting the relative mobility of the displacing fluids.
By addressing some of the fundamental understandings at the outset, the forum will address the needed and emerging technologies to improve reservoir properties and their impact on fluid sweep at different levels. The forum also addresses data upscaling from the laboratory to the field.
Taking this understanding beyond the range of the wellbore is crucial in managing field production strategies. The use and improvement of secondary and enhanced oil recovery techniques such as chemical and/or biological will be covered by linking back to the fundamentals. What is needed for deeper understanding of mechanism and control of wettability alteration towards minimal residual oil? Can thermal recovery processes or solvents work effectively? How can new well geometries (e.g. MRC, ERC wells) be optimised? Reservoir monitoring also plays a key role to get a clear understanding of the recovery efficiency. As less gas becomes available for secondary recovery, can we utilise other gases like N₂ or CO₂ or make polymers really work? What would be the optimum measurement set that would allow a comparison with field development and experimental results? And how about the scale-up issues; can these be short circuited somehow? As we understand and monitor flooding; what control mechanisms are available for us to optimise production, and what are the “gotcha’s” in the production stream from an assurance and surveillance standpoint. Finally the technology possibilities of the future will be discussed with a view to providing some of the key roadmap requirements for doubling carbonate recovery.
This forum will appeal to multidisciplinary teams and technical experts in operating companies, service companies and academic institutions who are involved in aspects of field planning, reservoir gesociences, reservoir, and production engineering.