Novel modelling technologies that includes induced fractures in a dynamic reservoir simulator has been used to analyse subsurface aspects of an inverted 5-spot injection pilot. The techniques have allowed an accurate depiction of growing induced fractures. Simulation results indicate that induced fracture growth is limited at injection rates < 200 m3/d but that higher injection rates will result in fracture propagation and a risk of rapid water breakthrough. The results have been validated by field observations. A controlled and cautious increase in injection rate has resulted in a positive production response with rate increases of 50–100% in three of the four producers in the pilot.

Results from the pilot have increased the current reservoir understanding and reduced subsurface uncertainties. The knowledge gained is being included in an updated Field Development Plan that will be issued in 2005. The plan will incorporate an optimised injection strategy by a careful and controlled ramp up in injection rate. This project has also advanced induced fracture research with a field verification of the predictive capabilities of the modelling technology.


The Marmul Haima West sandstone reservoir in South Oman, containing heavy and viscous crude (22 ºAPI, μo = 90 cP) and on production since 1980, was initially developed on depletion/solution gas drive using vertical wells. To boost production and improve recovery, an aggressive waterflood development using horizontal wells was initiated in 1999. The development was, however, stopped prematurely in 2000 after excessive induced fracture growth resulted in water short-circuiting and poor well performances.

To improve subsurface understanding and redefine a development strategy, an inverted 5-spot produced water injection pilot project was initiated in 2002 with the procurement and construction of dedicated water cleaning and injection facilities and drilling of 5 new vertical pilot wells (i.e. wells I-1, P-1, P-2, P-3 and P-4). A map of the field and the placement of the 5-spot pilot have been shown in Figure 1.

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