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Using CO2 Prophet to estimate recovery factors for carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery

July 17, 2017


The Oil and Gas Journal’s enhanced oil recovery (EOR) survey for 2014 (Koottungal, 2014) showed that gas injection is the most frequently applied method of EOR in the United States and that carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is the most commonly used injection fluid for miscible operations. The CO2-EOR process typically follows primary and secondary (waterflood) phases of oil reservoir development. The common objective of implementing a CO2-EOR program is to produce oil that remains after the economic limit of waterflood recovery is reached. Under conditions of miscibility or multicontact miscibility, the injected CO2 partitions between the gas and liquid CO2 phases, swells the oil, and reduces the viscosity of the residual oil so that the lighter fractions of the oil vaporize and mix with the CO2 gas phase (Teletzke and others, 2005). Miscibility occurs when the reservoir pressure is at least at the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP). The MMP depends, in turn, on oil composition, impurities of the CO2 injection stream, and reservoir temperature. At pressures below the MMP, component partitioning, oil swelling, and viscosity reduction occur, but the efficiency is increasingly reduced as the pressure falls farther below the MMP.

CO2-EOR processes are applied at the reservoir level, where a reservoir is defined as an underground formation containing an individual and separate pool of producible hydrocarbons that is confined by impermeable rock or water barriers and is characterized by a single natural pressure system. A field may consist of a single reservoir or multiple reservoirs that are not in communication but which may be associated with or related to a single structural or stratigraphic feature (U.S. Energy Information Administration [EIA], 2000).

The purpose of modeling the CO2-EOR process is discussed along with the potential CO2-EOR predictive models. The data demands of models and the scope of the assessments require tradeoffs between reservoir-specific data that can be assembled and simplifying assumptions that allow assignment of default values for some reservoir parameters. These issues are discussed in the context of the CO2 Prophet EOR model, and their resolution is demonstrated with the computation of recovery-factor estimates for CO2-EOR of 143 reservoirs in the Powder River Basin Province in southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming.

Publication Year 2017
Title Using CO2 Prophet to estimate recovery factors for carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery
DOI 10.3133/sir20175062B
Authors Emil D. Attanasi
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2017-5062
Index ID sir20175062B
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Energy Resources Science Center