TULSA, OK - With America's oil production increasingly being
supplied by small independent producers, the U.S.
Department of Energy is continuing its efforts to help
the smallest of these companies test higher-risk
technologies that could keep oil flowing from thousands
of U.S. fields.
As part of its Fossil Energy research program, the
Department has added two new projects to its "Technology
Development with Independents Program:"
Corporation, Wichita, KS, to study ways
to improve "hydraulic fracturing," a technique in
which water is injected into an oil-bearing formation
to open fractures in the underground rock and free oil
that might otherwise not be produced;
Tenneco Energy LLC,
Wheat Ridge, CO, to help restore production in East
Texas oil fields by using advanced computer imaging
technology, new logging tools to locate promising
geologic features, and high capacity pumps.
The "Technology Development with Independents
Program" provides matching grants of up to $75,000 to
companies willing to apply innovative approaches that
can lower operating costs and extend the life of
marginally producing fields.
The program reflects the growing importance of small
oil producers in supplying America's demand for oil. The
domestic oil industry has changed significantly over the
last 15 years, with larger oil companies moving to more
lucrative prospects overseas leaving behind smaller
companies to continue producing aging and often
declining U.S. oil fields. Independent producers now
account for 40 percent of the oil produced in the United
States and nearly 60 percent of the oil produced from
onshore fields in the lower 48 states.
Since 1999, the "Technology Development with
Independents Program" has provided small businesses in
13 states, each with less than 50 employees, the
financial backing to test new techniques that might
otherwise have remain untried.
The program is one of several initiatives in the
Energy Department's fossil energy program that is
working to slow or halt the decline in U.S. oil
production. The types of technologies considered
included reservoir characterization, well drilling,
completion or stimulation, environmental compliance,
artificial lift, well remediation, secondary or tertiary
oil recovery, and production management.
Companies that achieve success in prolonging the
productive life of their fields convey the techniques to
other small producers facing similar difficulties.
Optimizing Fracture Treatment in a
Mississippian "Chat" Reservoir, South-Central Kansas
Corporation - Wichita, KS
This 12-month project will investigate geologic and
engineering factors critical for designing hydraulic
fracture treatments. The target reservoirs for this
project ? the Mississippian reservoirs of Kansas ?
account for over 1 billion barrels of oil produced in
Kansas or roughly 40% of the state's annual production.
Although geographically widespread, the oil-bearing
formation varies widely in geologic features. Optimum
hydraulic fracturing design is poorly defined in the
formations with poor correlation of treatment size to
Woolsey Petroleum Corporation will extract sample
rock cores from a well drilled between existing wells ?
called an "infill" well ? and run modern wireline logs
to determine the location and extent of oil remaining in
the formation that remains unrecovered by prior
operations. Using the data, the company will design a
way to hydraulically fracture the reservoir to free the
Partners include the Kansas Geological Survey and an
independent geological consultant.
Total Project Cost: $768,130
DOE Share: $ 75,000
Woolsey Petroleum Corp: $693,128
(private sector cost share: 90%)
Length of Project: 12 months
Point of Contact: I. Wayne Woolsy (316)
Using 3D Computer Modeling, Borehole
Geophysics, and High capacity Pumps to Restore
Production to Marginal Wells in the East Texas Field
Tenneco Energy LLC -
Wheat Ridge, CO
The East Texas oilfield, in the east central part of
the state, is the largest and most prolific oil
reservoir in the contiguous United States. Since its
discovery on October 5, 1930, some 30,340 wells have
been drilled within its 140,000 acres to yield over 5.2
billion barrels of oil.
The goal of this project is to extend the life of
marginal wells in the East Texas Field using advanced
computer imaging technology, geophysical tools and high
capacity pumps. Tenneco will collect data on key
geologic features from at least four wells using modern
slimhole Array Induction/Neutron Density logs. This
information will then be correlated with features from
old well logs to determine the sections of the formation
that could still contain unproduced oil.
Three dimensional geological images will be
constructed with historical data from several hundred
surrounding leases. A demonstration well will be drilled
to validate the results of this project.
Successful demonstration of this combined technology
will assist operators in evaluating and producing
petroleum resources in mature reservoirs throughout the
Partners include Industrial Gas Services, and
Schlumberger Wireline and Testing.
Total Project Cost: $179,732
DOE Share: $ 74,558
Tenneco Energy LLC: $105,174 (private
sector cost share: 59%)
Length of Project: 12 months
Point of Contact: R.L. Bassett (303)