Infill Drilling To Increase Reserves—Actual Experience in Nine Fields in Texas, Oklahoma, and Illinois
- A.H. Barber Jr. (Exxon Co. U.S.A.) | C.J. George (Exxon Co. U.S.A.) | L.H. Stiles (Exxon Co. U.S.A.) | B.B. Thompson (Exxon Co. U.S.A.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 1983
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,530 - 1,538
- 1983. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.8.7 Carbonate Reservoir, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.6 Natural Gas, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal
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Evaluation of reservoir discontinuity has been used by industry to estimate potential oil recovery to be realized from infill drilling. That this method may underestimate the additional recovery potential is shown by continuity evaluation in a west Texas carbonate reservoir, as infill drilling progressed from 40-acre (162×103-m2) wells to 20-acre (81×103-m2) wells and eventually to 10-acre (40.5×103-m2) wells.
Actual production history from infill drilling in nine fields, including carbonate and sandstone reservoirs, shows that additional oil recovery was realized by improving reservoir continuity with increased well density.
One objective of an orderly field-development program is to determine the maximum well spacing that will effectively drain oil and gas reserves. While wide spacing has proved effective in many oilfield applications, there are a growing number of examples where infill drilling, combined with water-injection pattern modifications, has provided substantial additional oil reserves. This paper deals with such fields: Means, Fullerton, Robertson, IAB (Menielle Penn), Howard Glasscock, Dorward, and Sand Hills fields in west Texas, Hewitt field in southern Oklahoma, and Loudon field in Illinois. The paper will quantify the contribution to current production and the additional reserves attributable to this action, using data available through Oct. 1981. Infill drilling has continued in most of these fields. Also revealed by infill drilling is the fact that the west Texas carbonate reservoirs are more stratified, and porous stringers are more discontinuous than revealed by initial studies.
The theoretical concepts indicating that infill drilling will increase reservoir continuity and improve waterflood pattern conformance in heterogeneous west Texas carbonate reservoirs were researched and published in the early 1970's by Ghauri,1 Ghauri et al.,2 Stiles,3 George,4 and Driscoll.5
Detailed field studies recommending infill-drilling and waterflood-pattern modifications were made for the Means, Fullerton, and Robertson fields by Stiles and George.3,4 Unpublished studies were made for the other reservoirs prior to infill drilling.
Borrowed from a previous work by George and Stiles,4 Fig. 1 is a type cross section in the Fullerton Clearfork reservoir that illustrates the concept of "continuity," the percentage of pay in a well that is continuous to another well. The two original Wells A and B are 40-acre (162×103-m2) locations, and the center well is an infill location 660 ft (201.2 m) from either original well. Note the discontinuous nature of the porosity stringers and that correlation before the infill well was drilled would have been considerably different than it is after the infill well was drilled. The increase in net pay in the infill well, especially in the upper pan of the Clearfork formation, illustrates the fact that the more wells that are drilled, the more highly stratified, discontinuous, and complex a given west Texas carbonate reservoir is found to be. This fact leads to a conservative evaluation of the potential increased recovery from an infill well.
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