Eagle Ford - Introducing the Big Bad Wolf
- Scott Malo (RS Energy Group) | Jimmy McNamara (RS Energy Group) | Nick Volkmer (RS Energy Group) | Ehsan Amirian (RS Energy Group)
- Document ID
- Unconventional Resources Technology Conference
- SPE/AAPG/SEG Unconventional Resources Technology Conference, 22-24 July, Denver, Colorado, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2019. Unconventional Resources Technology Conference
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- 70 since 2007
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Historically, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) through the injection of a miscible gas into the subsurface has successfully been applied only to conventional reservoirs as a tertiary recovery mechanism to extend the life of an oil field. This study analyzes the application of this recovery method to increase production and value from the Eagle Ford play. Several companies are incorporating a “huff-n-puff” EOR technique that injects natural gas into the reservoir to increase oil recovery factors from the low permeability interval. This technique has boosted estimated ultimate recoveries (EUR) and net present values (NPV) in multiple pilots, generating interest among operators and investors in the play. This study will evaluate the viability of EOR across the Eagle Ford and discuss which areas have the highest chance of success.
The study started by evaluating existing Eagle Ford EOR projects and developed a model to assess the key parameters driving oil EUR uplift. Next, leases with appropriate data to assess EOR performance were selected. The model was then used to compare the oil recovery and economic impact of converting wells to EOR.
This research integrates a principal component analysis (PCA) followed by clustering techniques to identify areas where we expect future EOR development. Wells within the derived clusters that were completed similarly to existing EOR pilots have the most potential to observe similar uplift. Wells with comparable completion styles and reservoir characteristics to existing EOR locations are the most favorable for conversion.
Pilot tests showed an average oil EUR uplift of 30% and an average incremental NPV increase of $0.3 million per well, base case, and $1.0 million per well assuming 50% of capital is sunk. Three principal components were derived from the PCA study and used in the cluster analysis to identify similar reservoir types. The first two components explained 75% of the variance of the dataset and were dominated by oil in place and reservoir conditions. The three components together explained 90% of the variance. Current EOR development is located within two clusters; therefore, we expect future EOR development within these clusters as they are defined by similar reservoir type.
With inventory becoming a concern in mature unconventional plays such as the Eagle Ford, EOR methods, along with well spacing and completion optimization, provide operators with attractive options to attain additional value. The described workflow could provide a valuable EOR screening and evaluation methodology for Eagle Ford operators and investors.
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