Oil & Natural Gas Projects
Exploration and Production Technologies
Multidisciplinary Imaging Rock Properties in Carbonate Reservoirs for Flow Unit
This project was selected in response to DOE's Oil Exploration and Production
solicitation DE-PS26-01NT41048, focus area Critical Upstream Advanced Diagnostics
and Imaging Technology. The goal of the solicitation was to continue critical
upstream cross-cutting, interdisciplinary research for the development of advanced
and innovative technologies for imaging and quantifying reservoir rock and fluid
properties for improved oil recovery.
The objectives of the project were to develop and test new methodologies for
improved imaging, measuring, modeling, and prediction of reservoir properties
in carbonate reservoirs based on an analysis of data from the Permian-age Fullerton
Clear Fork reservoir in the Permian Basin of West Texas. The ultimate goal of
the project was to develop new, more cost-effective ways to locate and recover
the oil remaining in this and analogous carbonate reservoirs in the Permian
Basin and throughout the United States.
University of Texas
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
Los Angeles, CA
The major achievement of the project was the development of a detailed and comprehensive
characterization of a low recovery-efficiency carbonate platform reservoir that
can be used to design strategies for more-efficient recovery of the large remaining
oil volume that exists in this and similar reservoirs in the Permian Basin.
Project findings and data provide an incredibly valuable resource for encouraging
new investment in older oil fields in the Permian Basin. This knowledge will
decrease risk and therefore improve the economics of oil recovery in this and
analogous fields. Project data sets already have elucidated numerous opportunities
for drilling and recompletion in the subject field. Derivative studies also
have provided an incentive for enhanced recovery activities in other reservoirs.
These results already are resulting in an increase in oil production from the
Permian Basin, benefiting the State of Texas and the Nation.
Despite declining production rates, existing reservoirs in the United States
contain large quantities of remaining oil and gas that constitute a huge target
for improved diagnosis and imaging of reservoir properties. The Permian Basin
alone contains as much as 30 billion barrels of remaining mobile oil. The project
provides new data, models, and methods to recover the large volume of oil remaining
in the subject field and many others.
Among the project's major achievements, researchers have:
- Constructed a full-field (35,000 acre) reservoir model (including porosity,
permeability, and saturation).
- Performed fluid flow simulation of a 2,000-acre area to analyze flow
patterns and provide basis for assessing the viability of CO2 injection.
- Developed techniques for constructing a 3-D inversion model for improved
porosity and permeability imaging.
- Provided recommendations to the operator on new infill drilling locations.
- Produced revised estimates of original-oil-in-place and the distribution
of remaining oil.
- Created improved images of porosity, permeability, and oil saturation.
- Created an enhanced image of reservoir architecture.
- Developed approaches to define permeability and saturation relationships
in analogous reservoirs.
- Delivered all data (12 gigabytes) to the operator.
Current Status(October 2005)
After completion of the project, 14 new wells were drilled in the field as a
result of recommendations made during the study. Data from these wells have
been added to the project data set for evaluation.
Based on results of this Fullerton study, the project team was asked by another
operator to apply project results to another Clear Fork reservoir in the basin.
This work is complete and now forms the basis of plans for implementing a new
CO2 injection program in that field.
Final technical report, December 2004; available at http://www.beg.utexas.edu/resprog/fullerton/index.htm.
Project Start: November 1, 2001
Project End: July 31, 2004
DOE Contribution: $499,605
Performer Contribution: $1,861,151 (79% of total)
NETL - Daniel Ferguson (Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-699-2047)
U. of Texas - Stephen Ruppel (Stephen.email@example.com or 512-471-1534)
3-D seismic amplitude extractions provide excellent images of porosity distribution
for selecting optimum areas for infill drilling. Areas of high negative amplitude
(orange-red colors) define high porosity, whereas gray-black areas define low
porosity. 3-D data show that proposed wells in the northern half of the area
will encounter reservoir porosity but those in the southern half will not. Based
on these data, the latter wells were not drilled.
3-D seismic inversion provides excellent control on porosity distribution where
well logs are absent or of poor quality. Blind testing demonstrates predictive
ability of 3-D seismic in areas where wells are absent. When one well is removed,
the wireline log model (A&B) predicts too little porosity at x and too much
at y. The inversion model (C&D) does a much better job of defining true
porosity in both zones.