This field case history details the objectives, design, field operations, and production, pressure, and other surveillance results of the first rich gas multiwell cyclic huff ‘n’ puff pilot in the Bakken and Three Forks intervals of the Williston Basin. The broad goal of the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) pilot was to identify key performance metrics of rich gas injection leading to the design of a commercial field-scale EOR process. Objectives included demonstrating the ability to contain gas within the target intervals vertically and laterally and build pressure to promote a miscible displacement process in a fully developed 1280-acre drill spacing unit (DSU) in the Bakken tight oil play.
The paper includes the geologic reservoir description of the pilot area in the northeast Williams County Nesson Anticline area based on well logs, seismic, and core materials. Background includes the development history of the eleven-well, 1280-acre DSU including well completions and production data. The paper describes details on methods and results of laboratory studies of representative Bakken fluids and core materials including characterizing PVT (pressure, volume, temperature) properties, minimum miscibility pressure (MMP) measurements, and fluid extraction tests. Case results include a description of the facilities and field operations through the execution of the pilot. Further, the paper includes key considerations in the planning and design phase, including injection order, offset monitoring, and facilities design considerations for gas rates and volumes. Production results from within the DSU and surrounding DSUs include a total of 24 horizontal Bakken or Three Forks wells. Surveillance results include oil, water, and gas rates; injection and downhole pressures; and gas chromatograph data from injection and offset wells as a basis for assessing pilot results versus goals and objectives.
Bakken/Three Forks produced gas is miscible with reservoir fluids at pressures above ~2500 psi, given the relatively high fluid fraction of ethane and propane. This produced gas recovers a large fraction of reservoir fluids from Middle Bakken, Three Forks, and Upper and Lower Bakken Shales in laboratory extraction tests. Gas injection into the Bakken and Three Forks intervals was achieved through the full range of the pilot design, and over 90% of the injection gas was recovered as wells were returned to production based on measured rates, volumes, and other surveillance data. While actual pilot gas injection rates were too low to achieve a material EOR oil response, surveillance data indicated that pressures increased with gas injection and that gas was contained within the 1280-acre DSU as designed. Further, history-matched simulations indicated that higher gas injection rates could yield EOR recoveries comparable to that reported in successful Eagle Ford projects. Key insights include that much higher gas injection rates are required for an economical process and that initiation of gas injection cycles earlier in the well life will reduce the volume of gas and injection time required to build bottomhole pressures above the MMP to promote EOR.
This first multiwell rich gas injection pilot in the Bakken/Three Forks play identified several design and operational efficiencies beneficial to an economical field-scale project. For example, jet pump installations allowed gas injection operations without modifying production wells via costly workovers. Injection/production conversions could be completed at minimal cost by cycling out jet pumps and installing pressure gauges. Further, wells completed with cemented plug and perforated liners for hydraulic fracture stimulation may promote improved gas injection conformance across the horizontal completed intervals.