MORGANTOWN, WV - The Department of Energy is adding
two new projects to its program to develop new technologies that can increase
natural gas production from low-permeability, or "tight," reservoirs.
The new projects - to be carried out by Advanced Resources International,
Arlington, VA, and Cementing Solutions, Houston, TX - were selected for
federal cost-sharing when Congress increased DOE's budget for natural
gas research in fiscal year 2002. They will join two earlier projects
selected last August (see
August 15, 2001 Techline). All four projects had been proposed
in an industry-wide competition run earlier this year by the Energy Department's
Strategic Center for Natural Gas, part of the government's National Energy
Developing new technologies that can tap "low permeability"
gas-bearing formations is likely to become increasing important as the
nation's gas demand expands in coming years. President Bush's National
Energy Policy cautions that production from "conventional" gas
sources could peak within the next 15 years, and domestic gas producers
will likely turn to harder-to-produce "unconventional" reservoirs
to meet demand.
If successful, new technologies could add trillions of cubic feet of
natural gas to the nation's gas supply. Much of the nation's low-permeability
gas formations are found at depths greater than 15,000 feet. Many of these
formations lack an extensive, well-connected network of natural fractures
through which the gas can flow to producing wells.
Also, gas producers are increasingly encountering surprising levels of
water production from formations where water was not expected to be a
problem. Many operators are now thinking twice about developing certain
areas where excessive water production has been encountered.
The new projects focus specifically on these challenges. Together, the
projects are valued at nearly $1.6 million, 64% of which, or about $1
million, will be provided by the Energy Department.
Advanced Resources International, Arlington, VA - This
project represents the first in-depth, comprehensive attempt to understand
and address water-production dilemmas of gas fields in the Rocky Mountains.
Unwanted water production adds costs for disposal, reduces gas production,
and increases the risks of natural gas exploration and development in
these promising formations. And little is known about what causes high
water production, its sources and flow paths. Consequently, no consistent
strategies now address this problem. The presence of mobile water and
high water production is becoming more of a problem in major gas producing
basins including the Piceance Basin in Western Colorado, the Greater Green
River Basin in southwest Wyoming, and the Wind River Basin in Central
Specifically, the proposal sets out to accomplish three goals:
To build a regional database on water composition
and chemistry for key Rocky Mountain gas basins,
To identify sources and waterways in close
proximity to natural gas formations, and
To verify regional water storage, flow models
and field tests to avoid or mitigate high water production. The effort
is aimed at the major northern Rocky Mountain gas basins, with emphasis
on the Green River and Wind River basins of Wyoming, and the Waltman/Cave
Gulch field on the eastern side of the Wind River basin.
Selected proposer: Advanced Resources International,
Business contact: Vello A. Kuuskraa, President
Phone number: (703) 528-8420; Fax Number: 703-528-0439;
Technical contact: Vello A. Kuuskraa, Project
Director (see above)
Business office address: 1110 North Glebe Road,
Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22201
Length of contract: 27 months
Total value of project: $678,316
Government share: $499,986
Participant share: $178,330
Cementing Solutions, Houston, TX - This project will examine
several aspects of zone isolation to increase gas production from low-permeability
reservoirs. Gas is harvested by drilling a borehole, inserting a steel
casing and injecting cement between the casing and reservoir, thereby
isolating a "zone." The zone is then perforated - holes are
shot through the casing and cement - and water-based fluid and proppant
(sand) are pumped through the perforations to create vertical fractures
through which gas flows. At times, the rock formation containing natural
gas may be damaged, making it more difficult to recover the fuel.
This projects looks at how to achieve good zone isolation. Experimental
results and mathematical modeling will be fed into a computer-based, best-practice
decision matrix, which will permit gas producers to evaluate the best
types of cements, properties and placement methods that maximize gas stimulation
and minimizes formation damage.
Focusing primarily on the Ardmore basin in southcentral Oklahoma, the
project will identify other basins that may benefit from the findings.
These strategies will be followed throughout the course of the project:
Determining the effectiveness of zone isolation for establishing
effective pressure isolation (a hydraulic seal),
Using post-fracture-treatment data to confirm how well the hydraulic
seal prevents near wellbore fracturing out of a zone,
Measuring the loss production from low-permeability reservoirs because
of the effects of fluid invasion during cementing, and
Assessing procedures to seal in vertical wells to determine if these
procedures could be successfully applied to horizontal wells.
Selected Proposer: Cementing Solutions, Inc.
Business Contact: Fred Sabins, President, Phone
(713) 957-4210; Fax: 713-957-0083 email@example.com
Technical Contact: Same
Business Office Address: 4613 Brookwoods Dr.,
Houston, TX, 77092-8339
Length of Contract (months): 24
Total value of contract: $887,001
Government Share: $498,051
Participant's Share: $338,950