Enhanced oil recovery in unconventional plays has been a focus of many E&P operators to increase recovery factors. Conventional displacement-based secondary (e.g. water flooding) and tertiary EOR methods are not viable options due to their low injectivity in these ultra-low permeability formations. As such, huff-n-puff (HnP) EOR techniques involving field gas injection may be the most effective EOR methods to increase the recovery factors from these shale formations. Several numerical reservoir simulation studies have showed the efficiency of CO2 HnP process in shale and tight formations (Yu et al, 2014); however, these studies show little to no field results to support the simulation predictions. This paper describes the conceptual development of the reservoir simulation models to investigate the viability of gas injection HnP in unconventional reservoirs and the results of applying those methods in Eagle Ford field test sites.
Single-well and multi-well models with multi-stage hydraulic fractures were constructed and history matched using their primary production period performance. Sensitivity studies were conducted on well communication behavior/impacts, injection gas compositions, injection rates, injection/production cycling, and reservoir fluid types to optimize the pilot project well location(s) and to inform development strategies. Optimal cases from the simulation study were successfully applied to multi-well pads in the Eagle Ford formation across multiple fluid types.
The simulation and the field application results were summarized and compared to provide detailed insights of unconventional HnP EOR. This study indicates the importance of confinement of the gases to afford optimal recovery factors during unconventional gas HnP EOR. An optimization engine was used in this study to optimize key operational parameters, such as injection pressures and slug sizes, to maximize recovery and efficiency. The resulting EOR designs were successfully implemented in field operations. Field recovery factors are within 10% of those predicted by simulation, indicating the value of numerical reservoir simulation prior to field trials and subsequent future development.