Reservoir Engineering

Kishore K. Mohanty (mohanty@mail.utexas.edu) is the Program Manager of the Reservoir Engineering research program.

The Reservoir Engineering research program at CPGE covers a wide range of interests. Subjects include reservoir simulation, miscible gas injection, enhanced oil recovery processes, gas condensate reservoir studies, CO2 sequestration, reservoir characterization, foam mobility control, new generation reservoir simulator development, cluster computing, EOR in naturally fractured reservoir, wettability alteration in naturally fractured reservoir, improved SAGD processes, and mobility control. Our research in these areas has been supported by U.S. Government (DOE), The Texas State Government, major and independent domestic operating and service companies, and many international independent companies.

Acknowledgments

We thank Petroleum Experts for their donation of 10 licenses of the IPM Suite, the equivalent of $1,787,860.

Research Projects

Quoc P. Nguyen, Gary A. Pope

Conventional Alkaline-Surfactant-Polymer (ASP) flooding is an attractive enhanced oil recovery method. However, a significant fraction of reservoirs, such as naturally fractured carbonates with low matrix permeability, are not suitable candidates for the use of polymers.

Matt Balhoff

Surprisingly, recent experimental and field observations indicate that the addition of viscoelastic polymers improve oil recovery by an additional 20%, contrary to the conventional wisdom that polymers should have no impact on residual oil saturation.

David DiCarlo

In many reservoirs, gravity drainage is an effective recovery technique yielding very low residual oil saturations, with the total recovery depending on the ratio of the capillary force to the gravitational force.

Matt Balhoff

An extension of our work in computational fluid dynamics, this new project involves microfluidic and coreflood experiments to better understand the reduction of residual oil.

Matt Balhoff

Polymers are useful during EOR because of their high viscosity, caused largely by the long chains of the molecules.

Nicolas Espinoza

Advanced completion methods seek to maximize the stimulated reservoir volume as a result of hydraulic fracturing. Shale acidization has been proposed as one method to improve drainage efficiency.

Nicolas Espinoza

Tight rocks host hydrocarbons in different pore habits, including fluid in bulk conditions, in adsorbed state, as a solute in fluid phases, or a mixture of these three. Organic rocks show a high potential for adsorption. In fact, sometimes more fluid can be stored in adsorbed state than in bulk conditions in these types of rocks.

Quoc P. Nguyen

The current state of the art in steam flooding, SAGD, and cyclic steam stimulation suffers from inherent geological heterogeneity and poor solvent mass transfer, frequently leading to high operating costs and poor sweep efficiency.

Quoc P. Nguyen

This project is aimed at insuring better control of gas mobility during gas or gas-water injection in stratified reservoirs with high permeability contrast.

Quoc P. Nguyen, Gary A. Pope

This funded project is aimed at development of novel surfactants that improve the conformance of CO2 in subsurface processes such as CO2 enhanced oil recovery and/or sequestration.

Matt Balhoff, Mojdeh Delshad, Chun Huh

Polymers are often injected into horizontal wells during EOR processes. During injection of these high-viscosity, non-Newtonian polymers, a significant pressure drop may occur along the length of the well. Accurate models for pressure drop in the well and polymer leakage into the reservoir are necessary for simulation but presently do not exist.

David DiCarlo

Understanding the dynamics of three-phase flow is essential for optimizing enhanced oil recovery and vadose zone remediation processes. The ultimate recovery of oil and other non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) depends on the residual saturations and relative permeabilites of each of the phases. In particular, the wettability of the porous media affects the placement of the fluids in the porous media and the relative permeabilities.

Mojdeh Delshad

Excess water production is a major problem leading to early well abandonment and unrecoverable hydrocarbons for mature wells. The ultimate purpose of the project is to provide a simulation tool to optimize particle gel treatments to increase oil recovery and reduce water production.

DOE Research

Steven L. Bryant, Larry N. Britton

Funding amount: $755,000 for the period of Oct. 2004 - Sep. 2007

This research will investigate biofilm growth in porous media to better understand and harness indigenous microorganisms that promote increased oil recovery from depleted oil reservoirs at low cost.

Mojdeh Delshad, Kamy Sepehrnoori, Gary A. Pope

Funding amount: $445,000 for the period of Oct. 2004 - Sep. 2007

This research will provide a computer model of the complex wettability alterations that occur when detergents are used to induce oil production from fractured oil reservoirs. Extremely large volumes of oil remain in such known oil reservoirs and better models are needed to economically produce such oil by enhanced oil recovery methods.

Mukul M. Sharma, Steven L. Bryant, Chun Huh

Funding amount: $790,000 for the period of Oct. 2004 - Sep. 2007

This research will develop better ways to use polymers to enhance the oil recovery from depleted oil reservoirs and provide inexpensive oil from existing domestic oil reservoirs that might otherwise be uneconomic to produce and subject to abandonment.

Reservoir Engineering Related Research

Research Initiatives

Sanjay Srinivasan

Public Abstract

This proposal seeks to increase oil recovery by in situ combustion in both heavy-oil and light-oil reservoirs. Currently, in situ combustion is limited to steeply dipping, homogeneous reservoirs. Application is further limited by the lack of a reliable model for the process that can be used in process design. The proposed research will investigate the application of foam to prevent gas channeling and thereby extend in situ combustion to a wider class of reservoirs.

Larry Lake

Public Abstract

The proposed work relates to the goal of ensuring the availability of affordable energy to the Nation's future by improving the accuracy and usefulness of forecasts of hydrocarbon recovery. Improved forecasts will lead to more efficient capital expenditure that will, in turn, lead to more profitable investments and to the ability to produce resources that would be uneconomic with existing technology.