DOE sees vast energy resource in residual oil zones

By OGJ editors

Billions of barrels of oil that could increase domestic supply, help reduce imports, and improve US energy security may be potentially recoverable from residual oil zones, according to initial findings from a study supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy.

The recently completed study, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas-Permian Basin, is one of several DOE-supported research projects providing insight that will help tap this valuable but overlooked resource.

Residual oil zones, called ROZs, are areas of immobile oil found below the oil-water contact of a reservoir. ROZs are similar to reservoirs in the mature stage of “waterflooding,” in which water has been injected into a formation to sweep oil toward a production well.

In the case of ROZs, the reservoir has essentially been waterflooded by nature and requires enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies, such as CO2 flooding, to produce the residual oil.

DOE estimated in 2006 that ROZs could contain 100 billion bbl of the 1.124 trillion bbl of technically recoverable oil in place in US reservoirs (OGJ, Mar. 13, 2006, p. 30).

The UTPB study focused on understanding and modeling fluid flow in ROZs in the Artesia Fairway, a dolomitized trend in the San Andres formation containing oil-producing fields in eastern New Mexico and West Texas. Utilizing geologic and production data, UTPB researchers determined that oil saturations within ROZs range from 20% to 40% with an average of 32%, which is similar to that of mature, waterflooded reservoirs.

The study also found that ROZs exist in all fields producing from the San Andres formation where it has been uplifted in the western part of the Permian basin resulting in a tilted oil-water contact. The project’s final report should be available within 90 days from the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA).

In another DOE-sponsored research effort, UTPB is developing a state-of-the-art geologic and reservoir characterization model of the main pay zone and residual oil zone in Goldsmith field, Ector County, Tex.

At Goldsmith, Legado Resources has initiated a CO2 EOR pilot project (OGJ, July 2, 2012, p. 72). A numerical simulator will then be used to match past reservoir performance and to examine the performance of the CO2 flood under alternative flood design and operating practices.

The goal of the research effort is to optimize the technical and economical performance of an ROZ CO2 flood and transfer the knowledge to other operators. This will be the first publicly available comprehensive case study of a ROZ flood.

In a third study awarded in June 2012, UTPB will further delineate the presence and size of ROZ areas in the Permian basin of Texas and New Mexico using geophysical well logs and well test data, core and fluid samples, and water chemistry data. Researchers will also determine if 3D seismic can be used to identify the higher-quality portions of the ROZ resource to assist small oil producers within the Permian basin and other US ROZ basins.

According to OGJ’s 2012 worldwide EOR survey, US CO2-EOR production is 350,000 b/d of oil (OGJ, Apr. 2, 2012, p. 57). Nine industry ROZ CO2-EOR pilot projects in the Permian basin of Texas account for 10,000 b/d of oil. Results and findings from DOE-supported research should help to increase recovery from this domestic resource and create American jobs, the Office of Fossil Energy said.

Related Articles

BHI: US rig count forced down by large losses in Texas

12/12/2014 Forced down by large losses in Texas and specifically the Permian basin, the US drilling rig count plummeted 27 units to settle at 1,893 rigs worki...

More West Texas gathering, processing to come onstream

12/09/2014 EagleClaw Midstream Services LLC, Midland, Tex., has bought natural gas gathering and processing in Reeves County, Tex. The company declined to ide...

ConocoPhillips slashes 2015 capital budget

12/08/2014 ConocoPhillips has elected to reduce its 2015 capital budget to $13.5 billion, down 20% compared with this year’s budget. The news comes on the hee...

Plains All American to expand Cactus pipeline takeaway capacity

11/25/2014 Plains All American Pipeline LP (PAA) plans to provide additional pumps to increase the takeaway capacity of the Cactus pipeline in response to hig...

Encana completes acquisition of Athlon Energy

11/13/2014 Encana Corp. now holds a premier 140,000 net acre spread in the oil-rich Permian basin after successfully acquiring Fort Worth-based Athlon Energy ...

BHI: US rig count down slightly during October, past week

11/07/2014

The US drilling rig count dropped 4 units to settle at 1,925 rigs working during the week ended Nov. 7, Baker Hughes Inc. reported.

PAA to buy BridgeTex interest from Oxy in $1.075 billion deal

11/06/2014 Plains All American Pipeline LP (PAA) and Plains GP Holdings LP have signed an agreement with Occidental Petroleum Corp. to purchase Oxy’s 50% inte...

Lone Star begins construction on third Mont Belvieu frac unit

11/06/2014 Lone Star NGL LLC, a joint venture of Energy Transfer Partners LP (70%) and Regency Energy Partners LP (30%), both of Dallas, has begun constructio...

PNR, Reliance seek divestment of Eagle Ford midstream business

11/04/2014 Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PNR), Dallas, and Reliance Holding USA Inc. are pursuing the divestment of their Eagle Ford shale (EFS) Midstream bu...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected