The hydrocarbon gas huff and puff (HnP) technique has been used to improve oil production in unconventional oil reservoirs where excess capacity of produced gas is available and hydrocarbon prices are in a range to result in an economically viable case. Eagle Ford (EF) is one of the largest unconventional oil plays in the United State where HnP has been applied for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at reservoirs within various oil windows. Our previously published Huff-n-puff results on dead oil with produced gas from Eagle Ford (EF) showed the recovery factor of hydrocarbon varying from 40 to 58%. The objective of this paper is to extend the experiments to live oil with EF core plugs to investigate the mechanisms of HnP which are affected by the composition of injected gas and resident oil, injection and soaking time as well as injection/depletion pressure gradient.

Eagle Ford live oil and natural gas produced from the target area were used for HnP tests. Four representative core plugs were used with the tests conducted at reservoir conditions (125 °C and 3,500 psi).

The live oil experiments with four reservoir core plugs showed an improvement in oil recovery with recovery factor (RF) varying from 19.5 to 33 % in six cycles of HnP, whereas the primary depletion on the same core plug showed RF below 11 %. A lower recovery factor of HnP from live oil saturated core in this study was observed as compared to dead oil saturated core reported in a previous publication. It is attributed to a lesser diffusion effect on mass transfer between injected gas and resident oil when the core is saturated with live oil. This behavior is displayed by the pressure decline curve during the first soaking period. A sharper diffusion pressure decline occurred in the dead oil saturated core plug where a higher concentration gradient between injected gas and resident oil drives a faster gas transport into the oil due to the molecular diffusion during the soaking period.

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