- M.H. Gaskell (Humble Oil & Refining Co.) | D.C. Lindley (Humble Oil & Refining Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 1961
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 377 - 382
- 1961. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 2.2.2 Perforating, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 4.6 Natural Gas, 5.1.2 Faults and Fracture Characterisation, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal
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Small, steeply inclined reservoirs without natural water drives often are found associated with salt domes or other highly faulted structures. Frequently, only one well may be economically justified in these reservoirs, from which oil is produced by an expanding gas-cap drive or by a dissolved-gas drive. Although a large fraction of the oil upstructure from the well may be recovered during primary depletion, only a small fraction of the downdip oil can be produced because of gravity effects. This downdip oil has been defined as "cellar oil"' in contradistinction to "attic oil" which is the oil above the structurally highest well in reservoirs where a natural water drive is present. In this study, two methods of producing cellar oil by water flooding a one-well reservoir were investigated by means of a laboratory model. This model was scaled to represent a prototype reservoir having an area of 30 acres, a permeability of 500 md, and a thickness and dip of 30 ft and 30, respectively. One method considered, the simultaneous injection of water and production of oil from a single well, would require that the lower portion of the productive interval of a well be completed for water injection and the upper portion for oil production. The other method considered, intermittent injection, would involve alternate injection of water into and production of oil from a single well. Injection of water into the formation would repressure the reservoir, causing gas to go back into solution. Since some of the injected water would flow updip from the well, water injection usually would be followed by a waiting period during which the water could drain from above the wellbore. Production of oil by gravity drainage and gas-cap drive could be initiated when water drainage became sufficiently complete. The amount of water produced along with the oil would naturally depend on how soon after water injection ceased that production was started. This process could be repeated in cycles until oil could no longer be produced economically.
Of these two methods, the intermittent injection technique would be simpler to put into operation since it does not require a dual completion. Also, it is probably more generally applicable than the simultaneous injection-production method. It is to be expected that in some reservoirs the rock and fluid properties would be such that practical oil-production rates could not be achieved by the simultaneous technique. However, in reservoirs where the simultaneous method will result in practical rates of oil production, it does have the advantage of permitting immediate, continuous oil production; whereas in the intermittent method, oil production is interrupted by periods of water injection and drainage. It was the objective of this study to determine whether these two methods of cellar oil production are practical for the representative prototype investigated and to evaluate their relative merits.
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