Evaluation of Strategies for Enhancing Production of Low-Viscosity Liquids From Tight/Shale Reservoirs
- Additional Document Info
- View All
Production of low-viscosity liquids (including condensates) from tight reservoirs (such as shales) is severely restricted by the ultra low-permeability of such formations, limiting production to a very small fraction (usually less than 5 percent) of the liquids-in-place. In this study, which is part of a wider investigation, we evaluate by means of numerical simulation several possible strategies to enhance low-viscosity liquids production from such reservoirs. These strategies include (a) physical displacement processes, (b) non-thermal processes to reduce the viscosity and the critical saturation of the liquids, (c) thermal processes, (d) enhanced reservoir stimulation, (e) novel well configurations and (f) combinations thereof. The objectives of this effort are to (1) to remove from further consideration potential production strategies that hold limited (if any) promise, and (2) to identify production strategies that appear to have potential for further study and development. We first determine the baseline production performance of such reservoirs corresponding to several reference production regimes that involve minimal or no reservoir stimulation, standard displacement fluids (H20 or CH4), standard well configurations and no thermal treatment. We then evaluate the efficiency of several production strategies: (a) traditional continuous gas flooding using parallel horizontal wells and using the currently abundant shale gas, (b) water-alternating-gas (WAG) flooding, (c) huff-and-puff injection/production strategies using lean gas/rich gas in a traditional (single) horizontal well with multiple fractures, (d) flooding using appropriate gases (e.g., C02, N2, CH4) using appropriate well configurations (mainly horizontal), with the viscosity reduction resulting from the gas dissolution into the liquids, and (e) thermal processes, in which the viscosity reduction is achieved by heating, possibly to the point of liquid vaporization and transport through the matrix to the production wells as a gas. Our study includes an analysis of the sensitivity of the liquids production to the main parameters defining each of the strategies listed above in an effort to determine the critically important parameters and factors that control the production performance and efficiency. Copyright 2014, Society of Petroleum Engineers.
author list (cited authors)
Moridis, G. J., & Blasingame, T. A.