Abstract

The Paleocene/Eocene age First Eocene dolomite reservoir is estimated to contain than 10 billion barrels of oil of which only a small percentage will be produced during primary development. Consequently, steam flooding is being investigated as an appropriate EOR option. A 1.25-acre, single pattern pilot (SST) and a 40-acre, 16 pattern pilot (LSP) are in progress. The detailed pilot area log, core, and seismic data provide a unique opportunity to assess reservoir heterogeneity. Analysis of temperature and petrophysical logs obtained in a temperature observation well located 35 feet from the SST injector show that a vertical barrier to steam migration exists. Two, relatively thick, very low porosity and very low permeability nodular evaporite-rich zones that were predicted to be the most likely barriers do not appear to be a vertical barrier. Instead, an interval characterized by numerous thin, cycle caps, characterized by muddy, finely crystalline dolomites interpreted to be tidal flat facies may be the vertical barrier. Each of these cycle caps also exhibit signs of subaerial exposure which may also contribute to the generally low porosity and very low permeability of the cycle caps. Detailed studies, including micro-permeameter measurements, quantitative mineralogical studies, and micro-CT scans were used to further characterize this interval. The geological assessments of heterogeneity are supplemented by a history-matched simulation model that suggests the evaporite-rich zones may have acted as short term baffles but that the vertical barrier to steam migration is coincident with the interval with abundant tidal flat cycle caps and exposure surfaces. Geological and other reservoir data obtained from the LSP suggest that similar vertical barriers may exist in the pilot area. Early steamflooding results show a very positive response to steam injection as well as multiple thermal "events" (most likely baffles rather than barriers) in the lowermost flooded zones at the LSP. The LSP data allows inferences to be made regarding the occurrence and distribution of lateral high permeability "connections" between injectors and producers as well as the overall reservoir response to steam injection. While the rapid temperature response observed in a few wells may reflect localized fractures or karst-like zones, numerical simulation using very fine grids (1.25 m cell size) shows that some of the LSP wells may experience very short breakthrough times without the need for fracture or karst-like zones.

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