EOR Performance and Modeling

We can easily state that incorporating enhanced-recovery focus into field-management practices as early as possible is finally becoming the norm. No longer is enhanced oil recovery (EOR) something operators procrastinate about and not act on until the end of the life of a field. Growing recovery challenges of maturing fields definitely are one of the reasons for this historical change in focus. We should also acknowledge the effect of growing unconventional oil operations and, more importantly, their severe recovery challenges. Increasing recovery factors in tight, light reservoirs is one of the more prominent research topics in the oil industry in recent years. Last but not least, EOR is being implemented in offshore operations.

This new paradigm—caring for production and recovery, optimizing production rates and recovery factors simultaneously—is being realized with significant help from new technologies. Significant enhancements in reservoir characterization, EOR chemicals, modeling capabilities (EOR software and computational power), conformance capabilities, and monitoring and control systems, along with improved understanding of flow physics, are making EOR easier for our industry. Ongoing EOR research is bringing complex EOR schemes to the industry; some of the examples are low-salinity CO2 water-alternating-gas (WAG) injection, CO2/steam injection, steam/solvent injection, and microbial EOR. Integration for successful EOR projects is also maturing. Historically, with steam-assisted gravity drainage, we all recognized the effect of well trajectory on recovery. More recently, we have identified the relationship between massive fracture architecture and EOR in tight, light reservoirs. It is worth mentioning that unconventionals have been pushing reservoir characterization, drilling, and completions to yet another level. All that effort not only improves the performance of those special reservoirs but also makes EOR easier for conventionals.

As a result of the focus on enhancing recovery for all types of reservoirs, many great technical papers were available for this feature this year. The following pages will provide some insights into how EOR is being tested for tight, light reservoirs; into low-salinity CO2 WAG experimentation; and into giant-field EOR applications. More papers can be found in the OnePetro online library, including those listed for recommended additional reading.

Additional Reading

SPE 169076 Modeling of Viscous Displacement in Dual-Porosity Naturally Fractured Reservoirs: Application to Surfactant Enhanced Oil Recovery by Mojtaba Kiani, Tiorco, et al.

SPE 169170 Assessment of Three-Phase Relative Permeability and Hysteresis Models for Simulation of Water-Alternating-Gas Injection in Water-Wet and Mixed-Wet Systems by Omid Shahrokhi, Heriot-Watt University, et al.

SPE 169102 Low-Salinity Waterflooding at West Salym: Laboratory Experiments and Field Forecasts by B.M.J.M. Suijkerbuijk, Shell, et al.

OTC 24483 Relative Permeability Effects on the Miscible CO2 WAG Injection Schemes Through Compositional Simulations of Brazilian Small-Scale Water-Wet Synthetic Presalt Reservoir by S.F. Mello, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, et al.

Omer Gurpinar, SPE, is the technical director of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) for Schlumberger. He leads Schlumberger in development of technologies and services to help improve recovery factors in oil fields. Gurpinar has more than 35 years of industry experience in various aspects of numerical reservoir modeling, with specific focus on naturally fractured reservoirs, reservoir optimization, and EOR. He has contributed to recovery optimization for numerous oil and gas fields globally. Since joining Schlumberger in 1998, Gurpinar has served as the vice president and technical director in various segments. He holds BS and MS degrees in petroleum engineering. Gurpinar is a member of the JPT Editorial Committee.

EOR Performance and Modeling

Omer Gurpinar, SPE, Technical Director, Schlumberger

01 January 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 1