Phased Pilot Approach Reduces Uncertainty in Carbonate Steamflood Development
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2019
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 60 - 62
- 2018. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 74 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 191695, “Results From a Phased Piloting Approach in the First Eocene Reservoir of Wafra: Reducing Uncertainties in Carbonate Steamflood Development,” by David Barge, SPE, Joel Brown, Raushan Kumar, Chris Lolley, SPE, Ruurd Bartlema, and Saleh Al-Ghamdi, Chevron, prepared for the 2018 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, 24–26 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
The First Eocene is a multibillion-barrel heavy-oil carbonate reservoir in the Wafra field, located in the Partitioned Zone (PZ) between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. After more than 60 years of primary production, expected recovery is low and provides a good target for enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) processes. A phased piloting approach has been used to reduce the uncertainties (subsurface and surface) related to application of thermal EOR processes in this field.
Wafra is one of four major fields located in the PZ (Fig. 1). Because of the low primary oil recovery and large original oil in place of the Wafra Eocene reservoirs, a significant EOR opportunity exists. A detailed geological description of the reservoir is provided in the complete paper.
Because of key surface and sub-surface uncertainties, along with the high cost of implementing a full-field steamflood-development (FFSFD) project, a phased, sequential approach, from piloting to FFSFD, was implemented. This approach was required so that critical uncertainties could be evaluated efficiently and sequentially in a time-frame consistent with overall reservoir- development objectives while managing capital exposure.
Pilot Planning and Design Steamflood Pilots. A specific set of objectives, primary and secondary, was developed for each of the continuous-steam-injection (CSI) pilots. Primary objectives were identified as being critical for progression to the next phase (piloting/FFSFD); secondary objectives were regarded as important in understanding identified uncertainties, but not necessarily project roadblocks. Success measures for the pilots were derived from the key metrics that were prerequisites for the next phase. These success measures were formulated to ensure that learnings gained will be used to support the design and operational planning of the next phase.A five-spot pattern on a 1.25-acre steamflood-pilot, small-scale test (SST) was a continuation of the phased approach in managing and mitigating technical uncertainties related to implementing steamflooding. The primary objectives of the SST were to test whether Eocene-produced water could be treated to produce suitable feedwater for steam generation and to test steam injectivity in the First Eocene reservoir. The SST was conducted in First Eocene C Zone/Steam Zone 3 and successfully proved sustained injectivity using steam generated from the produced water. The SST was a pre-lude to a multipattern steamflood pilot known as the large-scale pilot (LSP).
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