A Review of Improved-Oil-Recovery Methods in North American Unconventional Reservoirs

In the complete paper, three stages of review have been combined to find out the applicability of the most-feasible improved-oil-recovery (IOR) methods in North American unconventional reservoirs. The study found that the integration of experimental, simulation, and pilot-test tools is the proper technique to accurately diagnose the most-feasible IOR methods in these reservoirs; these methods, as indicated by the research, include carbon dioxide (CO2), surfactant, and natural-gas injection.

Review of Potential IOR Methods

The ultratight matrix and high conductivity of natural fractures might be the two most important factors that impair success of conventional IOR methods. The authors conducted a critical review of more than 70 studies aiming to find applicability of different IOR methods in unconventional reservoirs.

Chemical Methods. Generally, this category includes three methods: surfactant, polymer, and alkaline injection. Surfactant injection has the most-promising potential to improve oil recovery in North American unconventional reservoirs. These reservoirs are well-known as intermediate-wet to oil-wet; this type of rock affinity would prevent the aqueous phase from invading the matrix to displace the oil in place. Therefore, changing wettability and enhancing water imbibition through surfactant injection would be a good strategy to improve oil recovery.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 185640, “IOR Methods in Unconventional Reservoirs of North America: Comprehensive Review,” by Dheiaa Alfarge, Iraq Ministry of Oil and Missouri University of Science and Technology, and Mingzhen Wei and Baojun Bai, Missouri University of Science and Technology, prepared for the 2017 SPE Western Regional Meeting, Bakersfield, California, USA, 23–27 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
This article is reserved for SPE members and JPT subscribers.
If you would like to continue reading,
please Sign In, JOIN SPE or Subscribe to JPT

A Review of Improved-Oil-Recovery Methods in North American Unconventional Reservoirs

01 January 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 1


Don't miss out on the latest technology delivered to your email weekly.  Sign up for the JPT newsletter.  If you are not logged in, you will receive a confirmation email that you will need to click on to confirm you want to receive the newsletter.