Huff 'n' Puff Gas-Injection Pilot Improves Oil Recovery in the Eagle Ford
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 91 - 92
- 2018. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 207 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 189816, “Huff ’n’ Puff Gas-Injection Pilot Projects in the Eagle Ford,” by B. Todd Hoffman, SPE, Montana Tech, prepared for the 2018 SPE Canada Unconventional Resources Conference, Calgary, 13–14 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
The Eagle Ford formation has produced approximately 2 billion bbl of oil during the last 7 years, yet its potential may be even greater. Using improved oil-recovery (IOR) methods could result in billions of additional barrels of production. While a number of companies have field-tested an IOR method called huff ’n’ puff gas injection, most of the published results are from laboratory and modeling studies. This paper evaluates the results of these field tests and discusses the potential of the huff ’n’ puff method in the formation.
The Eagle Ford formation, formed during the late Cretaceous, is a laminated calcareous organic rich shale. The shale was deposited in a low-energy anoxic marine shelf environment, which allowed for rapid deposition and burial of abundant organic material. The Eagle Ford is divided typically into two sections: the Upper, which was deposited during a regional marine regression, and the Lower, which was deposited during a transgressional period and tends to have more organic-rich black shale. The Eagle Ford is laterally continuous and spatially extensive throughout much of southern Texas.
The matrix permeability of the reservoir is low enough that typical hydrocarbon migration is restricted, causing the oil-rich rocks to be stratigraphically higher than the gas-filled ones.
Results of Previous Huff ’n’ Puff Pilot Projects
The huff ’n’ puff process involves injecting a miscible gas into a well and then, after some time has passed, producing back from that same well. Data have been collected on seven pilot projects in the Eagle Ford that have been completed during the last 5 years. Data from four of these seven are discussed in this synopsis. All of the pilots used hydrocarbon gas, but the composition of the gas varied across the locations. In addition, all of the field trials used a huff ’n’ puff injection scheme.
Pilot A. The first pilot was a single isolated well where the nearest offset producers were more than 2 miles away. This provided some assurance that the injected gas would not migrate to other wells. The oil rates for the well indicated a positive response to the process. Each cycle increased the production rate to approximately half of the well’s initial rate. Once the oil rate began to drop, another injection cycle was started. This is encouraging because not only the first cycle but also subsequent cycles were able to increase production.
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