In this study we compare real data from an Eagle Ford Shale huff ‘n’ puff (H&P) gas‐injection pilot with reservoir simulation and tank material‐balance calculations. The comparison is good and supports the conclusion that oil recovery from the Eagle Ford (and likely other shales) can be increased significantly using H&P.
For H&P to work, the injected gas and the in‐situ oil in the shale must be contained vertically and laterally following hydraulic fracturing. Containment is critical for the success of H&P. Containment implies that the injected gas flows into the hydraulic fractures, penetrates the tight matrix, and does not escape or leak outside the target stimulated reservoir volume (SRV). Vertical and lateral containment exists in the Eagle Ford as demonstrated previously (Ramirez and Aguilera 2016) with an upside‐down distribution of fluids: Natural gas is at the bottom of the structure, condensate in the middle, and oil at the top. Two different matching and forecasting approaches are used in this study: reservoir simulation and tank‐material‐balance calculations.
The results show a good history match of primary recovery and secondary recovery by H&P in the pilot well. The history match is good in the case of both reservoir simulation and tank material‐balance calculations. Once a match is obtained, the simulation and material balance are used to forecast secondary recovery over a period of 10 years with sustained H&P injection of dry gas. The results indicate that dry‐gas H&P can increase oil recovery from the Eagle Ford Shale significantly. Under favorable conditions, oil recovery can be doubled and even tripled over time compared with the primary recovery. The addition of heavier ends to the H&P gas injection can increase oil recovery even more, putting it on par with recoveries in conventional reservoirs. The benefit of H&P occurs in the case of both immiscible and miscible gas injection. The H&P benefits can likely be also obtained in other shale reservoirs with upside‐down containment of dry gas, condensate, and oil.
The novelty of this work is the combined use of reservoir simulation and tank material‐balance calculations to match the performance of an H&P gas‐injection pilot in the Eagle Ford Shale of Texas. We conclude that oil recoveries can be increased significantly by H&P.