Sunday, November 05
Monday, November 06
This opening session of the forum will establish the rules of the forum, as well as the definitions of terms and concepts that will be discussed throughout the week. This session will discuss
- Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) mechanisms
- How EOR response can be segregated from simple rate acceleration
- The differences between EOR in conventional and unconventional tight reservoirs
- The introduction of different approaches to EOR techniques in tight reservoirs and how organic-hosted porosity differs from other tight oil reservoirs systems
- Overview of past and current pilot testing efforts.
Characterizing hydrocarbon fluids in unconventional reservoirs is a complex matter. It requires defining the movement of the fluids in a nanoscale porous environment, the behavior of the fluids in the fractures, and the interaction of the EOR injection fluids such as gases, surfactants, and any interaction with fluids that reside in the matrix and the organic matter.
This session will be focused on fluid properties and phase equilibria research, and development work in EOR for unconventional reservoirs. The participants will discuss the
- interplay of fluid and multi-phase flow properties that include transport properties, miscibility, saturation point representation, and their meaning for unconventional reservoirs
- future of lab studies, implementation in computational applications, and consideration of containment and fluid interaction such as adsorption, diffusion, and organic matter (OM), how to apply currently proposed methods, visualize future advances and pinpoint pitfalls, while asking - would the confinement matter in our workflows?
- The initial state of the rock-fluid system and whether the fluids captured for analysis are representative of the reservoir conditions.
Tuesday, November 07
The small grain and pore sizes, and the organic material and mixed mineral chemistry of unconventional rocks require measurements and physics solutions at a scale that have not yet fully developed, but needed, to describe flow in this porous media or their impact on different EOR processes. The key questions for now and the future are
- what in the rock matters, and what role does rock stress plays?
- how can we identify key physics that impact the transport of hydrocarbon in tight rocks, examining the transport physics of matrix pores and their interaction with flow through hydraulic and natural fractures?
- what are the possible transport mechanisms for different EOR processes and fluid types?
Enhanced oil recovery processes applied to conventional reservoirs have predominantly included gas injection, chemical, or thermal methods associated with continuous displacement processes. Although many of the technologies and insights from conventional EOR can be used to jump-start applications in unconventional reservoirs, the ultimate success of unconventional EOR will likely require significant modifications, completely new methods, and/or new ways to integrate technologies. Questions to consider in this session include
- Which conventional EOR methods can still apply to unconventional reservoirs? Can anything be ruled out?
- What attributes of unconventional reservoirs necessitate modifications to traditional EOR methods?
- What are attributes of unconventional reservoirs so unique to require completely new solutions? What are technical areas relevant to these challenges?
- What technical areas offer high potential if integrated properly?
- What strategic steps should the industry take to foster rapid growth of unconventional EOR?
Wednesday, November 08
Geomechanics is a significant component in the proper characterization of EOR effectiveness in unconventional reservoirs. This session will focus on discussing important geomechanical effects pertinent to EOR processes in unconventional reservoirs, such as
- Analytical failure models and advanced geomechanical analyses coupled with fluid flow to study the stress and deformation of unconventional rock during EOR processes
- Applicability of diagnostic and monitoring technologies relevant to the geomechanical effects in unconventional reservoir performance
Thoughtful planning in well design and completion will mitigate some of the pitfalls associated with EOR projects in unconventional reservoirs. The challenge of uniform distribution of EOR injectants along completed intervals in horizontal wells is a well-known challenge, but there are some existing completion technologies to leverage. For problems such as the smaller casing in existing unconventional horizontal wells that limit the options of controlling distribution, a more creative solution is needed. Solutions include the use of actively controlled valves or sleeves. With gas injection and the need for higher bottom-hole injection pressures, stronger gas-tight tubing may be needed at shallower depths. Also, optimizing the wellbore trajectory to allow for better pump placement should be considered along with a specific horizontal target which could help enhance secondary recovery methods in the future while providing the best completion now. This session will debate these design points and more.
Thursday, November 09
Can we achieve predictability when modeling an incompletely measured system? Currently, production from tight oil and gas formations has spurred innovation in simulation and modeling tools to enable a better understanding of the rock and fluid dynamics containing fractures and organic pores at the micro- and nanoscale levels. The data and computations to run these models are time intensive and the results are non-unique. Moving into the future, upscaling methods, parallelized graphics processing unit (GPU) simulators, surface integration, and coupled geomechanics-fluid flow simulation are a few innovations that will enable insights to understand tight reservoirs better and enable success for enhanced oil recovery. Are these innovations enough to build a predictive model? This session will allow the participants to discuss these options.
EOR pilot projects are typically conducted as a precursor to a full field economic development which can be used to limit what is tried in a pilot. This session will discuss the following aspects of pilot design for gas injection for an unconventional resource play:
- Injectant fluid type - Would sufficient quantities at the desired composition be available for a full field development? Would a full field project be economic, given even the most optimistic incremental recovery scenario?
- Well design - How should the number of wells in a pilot program be determined? What is the impact of existing hydraulic fracture system, geologic containment, affect of well curve design, lateral placement, and artificial lift? How do well spacing and non-pilot offsets impact hydraulic connectivity between wells?
- Surface facilities and equipment - What is the available compression capacity, gas quality impact with items due to H2S, CO2, and H2O versus treatment, and potential removal of compounds before sales? What operational learnings in the pilot can be used for the scaled-up project?
Friday, November 10
This session continues the pilot design, with a focus on what was learned in the pilot and applying learnings to a scaled-up project and commercial development. Topics to be addressed in this session include:
- Pilot surveillance - What data is needed from a pilot program to inform the steep learning curve for EOR strategy? What considerations are critical for the appropriate design of pilot performance diagnostics, including vertical and possibly lateral instrument gauges in impacted wells, injectant tracers, nano and micro-proppants, and monitoring detailed fluid compositional changes with time? What alternative diagnostics are needed to corroborate data from the pilot?
- Scale-up from pilot to full-field - How would the data collected from a pilot be used to design the scaled-up project? How would the overall surface facilities be made more economic by using economies of scale? What factors favorably drive project economics enabling accelerate adoption of the technology?
This session will focus on results-oriented planning for the future by capturing the highlights from the previous sessions. Also for discussion - what are the economic driver implications of EOR trials? Concentration on the major levers toward commerciality will be discussed, such as
- fluid type - lean, rich or even non-hydrocarbon gas
- reservoir fill-up volume prior to cyclic injection
- rental versus purchase compression
- re-drilling of well where necessary