Video: Tight Oil EOR through Inter-Fracture Gas Flooding within a Single Horizontal Well
- Xuebing Fu (Goolsby Finley & Associates) | Paul Bonifas (Goolsby Finley & Associates) | Andy Finley (Goolsby Finley & Associates) | Julia Lemaster (Goolsby Finley & Associates) | Zhiyong He (ZetaWare, Inc) | Kiran Venepalli (CMG Inc.)
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- Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 2019. Copyright is retained by the author. This presentation is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this video.
- all perspectives, inter-fracture gas flooding, secondary recovery, tight oil
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Over the last decade, tight oil production has become significant with the success of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. However, the recovery factor of tight oil production remains very low and no standard secondary recovery method exists after primary depletion. We propose a new secondary recovery method: to use existing hydraulic fractures (every other fracture) in a horizontal well as gas injection and oil production sites to conduct inter-fracture gas flooding within a single well.
An ideal process of this method envisions a horizontal well centered in an enclosed reservoir, where the hydraulic fractures are evenly distributed along the well, parallel to each other. If the hydraulic fractures can be effectively isolated, and injection and production can be conducted through alternate fractures at the wellbore, then highly efficient flooding patterns can be created. Key questions include:
Is there adequate injectivity and productivity in a sub-microdarcy reservoir?
How far are the ideal reservoir conditions from reality?
How difficult is it to isolate individual fractures within the wellbore?
In addressing these key questions, first, the success of a flooding process relies on reasonable injectivity and response time between the injector and producer – in this case the injector being one hydraulic fracture and the producer being an adjacent hydraulic fracture; both economical rates and reasonable communication time between adjacent fractures are demonstrated through analytical calculations and reservoir simulations in a typical well setting; nearly 100% recovery is achieved in the reservoir units between the fractures in a miscible flooding process. Second, actual reservoir conditions are incorporated in our study, focusing on direct fracture communications; the effects are demonstrated, and comparisons among different methods are made. Finally, potential challenges in operations are summarized and current technologies are reviewed; the gaps between the current settings and the required settings are demonstrated. Economic discussions are made, indicating positive scenarios with large tolerances.
With the rapid development of tight oil reservoirs, Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technologies are urgently required to improve the recovery factor beyond primary depletion. An effective flooding process may be conducted if the hydraulic fractures can be used as injection and production ports. As a first attempt to envision an inter-fracture flooding process, key aspects are defined and examined, showing promising results. Inter-fracture gas flooding may become a standard secondary recovery technique for tight oil reservoirs and add significant reserves.