• Alkali-surfactant-polymer (ASP) flooding - potential and simulation for Alaskan North Slope reservoir

      Ghorpade, Tejas S. (2014-09)
      Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is essential to recover bypassed oil and improve recovery factor. Alkaline-surfactant-polymer (ASP) flooding is a chemical EOR method that can be used to recover heavy oil containing organic acids from sandstone formations. It involves injection of alkali to generate in situ surfactants, improve sweep efficiency, and reduce interfacial tension (IFT) between displacing and displaced phase, and injection of a polymer to improve mobility ratio; typically, it is followed by extended waterflooding. The concentration of alkali, surfactant, and polymer used in the process depends on oil type, salinity of solution, pressure, temperature of the reservoir, and injection water quality. This project evaluates the effect of waterflooding on recovery, calculates the recovery factor for ASP flooding, and optimum concentration of alkali, surfactant, and polymer for an Alaskan reservoir. Also, the effects of waterflooding and improvement with ASP flooding are evaluated and compared. Studies of these effects on oil recovery were analyzed with a Computer Modeling Group (CMG)-generated model for the Alaskan North Slope (ANS) reservoir. Based on a literature review and screening criteria, the Western North Slope (WNS) 1 reservoir was selected for the ASP process. A CMG - WinProp simulator was used to create a fluid model and regression was carried out with the help of actual field data. The CMG - WinProp model was prepared with a 5 spot well injection pattern using the CMG STARS simulator. Simulation runs conducted for primary and waterflooding processes showed that the recovery factor increased from 3% due to primary recovery to 45% due to waterflooding at 500 psi drawdown for 60 years with a constant producing gas oil ratio (GOR). ASP flooding was conducted to increase recovery further, and optimum ASP parameters were calculated for maximum recovery. Also, effect of alkali, surfactant and polymer on recovery was observed and compared with ASP flood. If proved effective, the use of ASP chemicals for ANS reservoirs to increase the recovery factor could replace current miscible gas injection with chemical EOR. It will help to develop chemical flooding processes for heavier crude oil produced in harsh environments and create new horizons for chemical industries in Alaska.
    • Application of design of experiments for well pattern optimization in Umiat oil field: a natural petroleum reserve of Alaska case study

      Gurav, Yojana Shivaji; Dandekar, Abhijit; Patil, Shirish; Khataniar, Santanu; Clough, James; Patwardhan, Samarth (2020-05)
      Umiat field, located in Alaska North Slope poses unique development challenges because of its remote location and permafrost within the reservoir. This hinders the field development, and further leads to a potential low expected oil recovery despite latest estimates of oil in-place volume of 1550 million barrels. The objective of this work is to assess various possible well patterns of the Umiat field development and perform a detailed parametric study to maximize oil recovery and minimize well costs using statistical methods. Design of Experiments (DoE) is implemented to design simulation runs for characterizing system behavior using the effect of certain critical parameters, such as well type, horizontal well length, well pattern geometry, and injection/production constraints on oil recovery. After carrying out simulation runs using a commercially available simulation software, well cost is estimated for each simulation case. Response Surface methodology (RSM) is used for optimization of well pattern parameters. The parameters, their interactions and response are modeled into a mathematical equation to maximize oil recovery and minimize well cost. Economics plays a key role in deciding the best well pattern for any field during the field development phase. Hence, while solving the optimization problem, well costs have been incorporated in the analysis. Thus, based on the results of the study performed on selected parameters, using interdependence of the above mentioned methodologies, optimum combinations of variables for maximizing oil recovery and minimizing well cost will be obtained. Additionally, reservoir level optimization assists in providing a much needed platform for solving the integrated production optimization problem involving parameters relevant at different levels, such as reservoir, wells and field. As a result, this optimum well pattern methodology will help ensure optimum oil recovery in the otherwise economically unattractive field and can provide significant insights into developing the field more efficiently. Computational algorithms are gaining popularity for solving optimization problems, as opposed to manual simulations. DoE is effective, simple to use and saves computational time, when compared to algorithms. Although, DoE has been used widely in the oil industry, its application in domains like well pattern optimization is novel. This research presents a case study for the application of DoE and RSM to well optimization in a real existing field, considering all possible scenarios and variables. As a result, increase in estimated oil recovery is achieved within economical constraints through well pattern optimization.
    • A comprehensive analysis of the oil fields of the North Slope of Alaska: their use as analogs, recent exploration, and forecasted royalty and production tax revenue

      Michie, Joshua J.; Patil, Shirish; Dandekar, Abhijit; Khataniar, Santanu; Sonwalker, Vikas (2018)
      Revenues from petroleum production supply most of the revenue for unrestricted general funds for the State of Alaska. As such, variations in the price of oil, decline from existing production and new developments greatly affect the money available for the state to spend on everything from roads to education. This study reviewed all producing oil fields on the North Slope, characterized their reservoir performance and forecasted future production. This was coupled with analysis of recent exploration discoveries and ongoing project developments to forecast future North Slope production and create potential royalty and production tax revenue forecasts. After 40 years of production, Prudhoe Bay remains the dominant field on the North Slope, accounting for 45% of current production. Relatively large changes in the non-anchor field pools are only able to change North Slope production by a couple of percent due to the nature of their size compared to Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk and Alpine. New developments however, are able to materially contribute to changes in North Slope production if they are large enough. With continued activity in the many fields, creating an accurate forecast is challenging, however, without new developments, the Trans Alaska Pipeline will need to make changes to accommodate low flow rates. Currently identified new developments have the potential to extend current production rates 10-20 years. Some of these announced developments and discoveries have announced productivity rates that are not realistic compared to analog well performance, and will likely require many more wells to achieve the announced rates and volumes.
    • Economic assessment of Alaska North Slope hydrate-bearing reservoir regional production development schemes

      Nollner, Stephanie P.; Dandekar, Abhijit; Patil, Shirish; Ning, Samson; Khataniar, Santanu (2015)
      The objective of this project was to evaluate the economic feasibility of producing the upper C sand of the Prudhoe Bay Unit L Pad gas-hydrate-bearing reservoir. The analysis is based on numerical modelling of production through depressurization completed in CM G STARS by a fellow UAF graduate student, Jennifer Blake, (2015). A staged field development plan was proposed, and the associated capital and operating costs were estimated using Siemens's Oil and Gas Manager planning software and costing database. An economic assessment was completed, incorporating the most common royalties, the current taxes laws applicable to conventional gas development, and most recent tariff estimates. The degree of vertical heterogeneity, initial average hydrate saturation, well spacing and well type had a significant impact on the regional gas production profiles in terms of cumulative volume produced, and more importantly, the expediency of gas production. The volume that is economically recoverable is highly dependent on how the field is developed. A field that has higher vertical heterogeneity and corresponding lower average initial hydrate saturation is most economically produced using horizontal wells at 160 acre spacing; the acceleration of gas production outweighs the increased drilling costs associated with the longer wells and tighter well spacing. The choice of development scenario does not impact the project economics significantly given a field that has lower vertical heterogeneity; however, development using horizontal wells at 320 acre spacing is marginally more economic than the alternatives. Assuming a Minimum Attractive Rate of Return of 20%, the minimum gas price that would allow economic production of ANS gas hydrates was found to be $29.83 per million British thermal units; this value is contingent on the reservoir having high average initial hydrate saturation and being developed with horizontal wells at 320 acre spacing. A slightly higher gas price of $36.18 per million British thermal units would allow economic production of a reservoir having low average initial hydrate saturation that is developed with horizontal wells at 160 acre spacing.
    • Electromagnetic heating of unconventional hydrocarbon resources on the Alaska North Slope

      Peraser, Vivek; Patil, Shirish L.; Khataniar, Santanu; Sonwalkar, Vikas S.; Dandekar, Abhijit Y. (2012-05)
      The heavy oil reserves on the Alaska North Slope (ANS) amount to approximately 24-33 billion barrels and approximately 85 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable gas from gas hydrate deposits. Various mechanisms have been studied for production of these resources, the major one being the injection of heat into the reservoir in the form of steam or hot water. In the case of heavy oil reservoirs, heat reduces the viscosity of heavy oil and makes it flow more easily. Heating dissociates gas hydrates thereby releasing gas. But injecting steam or hot water as a mechanism of heating has its own limitations on the North Slope due to the presence of continuous permafrost and the footprint of facilities. The optimum way to inject heat would be to generate it in-situ. This work focuses on the use of electrical energy for heating and producing hydrocarbons from these reservoirs. Heating with electrical energy has two variants: high frequency electromagnetic (EM) heating and low frequency resistive heating. Using COMSOL ® multi-physics software and hypothetical reservoir, rock, and fluid properties an axisymmetric 2D model was built to study the effect of high frequency electromagnetic waves on the production of heavy oil. The results were encouraging and showed that with the use of EM heating, oil production rate increases by ~340% by the end of third year of heating for a reservoir initially at a temperature of 120°F. Applied Frequency and input power were important factors that affected EM heating. The optimum combination of power and frequency was found to be 70 KW and 915 MHz for a reservoir initially at a temperature of 120°F. Then using CMG-STARS ® software simulator, the use of low frequency resistive heating was implemented in the gas hydrate model in which gas production was modeled using the depressurization technique. The addition of electrical heating inhibited near-wellbore hydrate reformation preventing choking of the production well which improved gas production substantially.
    • End-to-end well planning strategies for Alaska north slope directional wells

      Mahajan, Neeraj Hemant; Khataniar, Santanu; Patil, Shirish; Dandekar, Abhijit; Fatnani, Ashish (2018-05)
      Directional well planning has gained special attention in the Alaska North Slope (ANS) as operators are being compelled to drill increasing numbers of wells from already congested pads because of low oil prices, Capex restrictions, and environmental regulations. This research focuses on two major components of directional well planning: anti-collision and torque and drag analysis in Schrader Bluff, Milne Point. The drilling pattern at the ANS implies very high wellbore collision risk, especially at the shallower section, which affects the safety of drilling operations. However, satisfying anti-collision norms is not the solitary step towards successful well planning. Integration of anti-collision results with torque and drag analysis is essential in evaluating the safety and feasibility of drilling a particular well path and avoiding drill string failures. In the first part of the study, three well profiles (horizontal, slant, and s-shaped) were planned for each of the two new targets selected in the Schrader Bluff OA sand. Initially, this part of the research compared the performance of the newly developed Operator Wellbore Survey Group (OWSG) error model and the industry-standard Industry Steering Committee for Wellbore Surveying Accuracy (ISCWSA) error model. To provide effective guidelines, the results of error model comparison were used to carry out sensitivity analyses based on four parameters: surface location, well profiles, survey tools, and different target locations in the same sand. The results of this study aid in proposing an improved anti-collision risk management workflow for effective well planning in Arctic areas. The second part of the study investigates the drillability of the well paths planned using the improved anti-collision risk management workflow. Furthermore, this part of the research aims at defining the end point limits for critical well planning parameters, including inclination and dogleg, such that within these limits, the well path satisfies anticollision as well as torque and drag considerations. These limits were generated using a drill string optimized in terms of steerable tool, drill pipe size, mud rheology, trip speed, rotational speed, and weight on bit (WOB) during drilling and tripping out operations. The results of this study would help reduce the cumbersome iterative steps and narrow down the design domain for any well to be drilled on the North Slope of Alaska.
    • Experimental investigation of low salinity water flooding to improve viscous oil recovery from the Schrader Bluff Reservoir on Alaska North Slope

      Cheng, Yaoze; Zhang, Yin; Dandekar, Abhijit; Awoleke, Obadare; Chen, Gang (2018-05)
      Alaska's North Slope (ANS) contains vast resources of viscous oil that have not been developed efficiently using conventional water flooding. Although thermal methods are most commonly applied to recover viscous oil, they are impractical on ANS because of the concern of thawing the permafrost, which could cause disastrous environmental damage. Recently, low salinity water flooding (LSWF) has been considered to enhance oil recovery by reducing residual oil saturation in the Schrader Bluff viscous oil reservoir. In this study, lab experiments have been conducted to investigate the potential of LSWF to improve heavy oil recovery from the Schrader Bluff sand. Fresh-state core plugs cut from preserved core samples with original oil saturations have been flooded sequentially with high salinity water, low salinity water, and softened low salinity water. The cumulative oil production and pressure drops have been recorded, and the oil recovery factors and residual oil saturation after each flooding have been determined based on material balance. In addition, restored-state core plugs saturated with viscous oil have been employed to conduct unsteady-state displacement experiments to measure the oil-water relative permeabilities using high salinity water and low salinity water, respectively. The emulsification of provided viscous oil and low salinity water has also been investigated. Furthermore, the contact angles between the crude oil and reservoir rock have been measured. It has been found that the core plugs are very unconsolidated, with porosity and absolute permeability in the range of 33% to 36% and 155 mD to 330 mD, respectively. A produced crude oil sample having a viscosity of 63 cP at ambient conditions was used in the experiments. The total dissolved solids (TDS) of the high salinity water and the low salinity water are 28,000 mg/L and 2,940 mg/L, respectively. Softening had little effect on the TDS of the low salinity water, but the concentration of Ca²⁺ was reduced significantly. The residual oil saturations were reduced gradually by applying LSWF and softened LSWF successively after high salinity water flooding. On average, LSWF can improve viscous oil recovery by 6.3% OOIP over high salinity water flooding, while the softened LSWF further enhances the oil recovery by 1.3% OOIP. The pressure drops observed in the LSWF and softened LSWF demonstrate more fluctuation than that in the high salinity water flooding, which indicates potential clay migration in LSWF and softened LSWF. Furthermore, it was found that, regardless of the salinities, the calculated water relative permeabilities are much lower than the typical values in conventional systems, implying more complex reactions between the reservoir rock, viscous oil, and injected water. Mixing the provided viscous oil and low salinity water generates stable water-in-oil (W/O) emulsions. The viscosities of the W/O emulsions made from water-oil ratios of 20:80 and 50:50 are higher than that of the provided viscous oil. Moreover, the contact angle between the crude oil and reservoir rock in the presence of low salinity water is larger than that in the presence of high salinity water, which may result from the wettability change of the reservoir rock by contact with the low salinity water.
    • Modeling the injection of CO₂-N₂ in gas hydrates to recover methane using CMG STARS

      Oza, Shruti; Patil, Shirish; Dandekar, Abhijit; Khataniar, Santanu; Zhang, Yin (2015-08)
      The objective of this project was to develop a reservoir simulation model using CMG STARS for gas hydrates to simulate the Ignik Sikumi#1 field trial performed by ConocoPhillips at the North Slope, Alaska in 2013. The modeling efforts were focused exclusively on the injection of CO₂-N₂ in gas hydrate deposits to recover methane after an endothermic reaction. The model was history matched with the available production data from the field trial. Sensitivity analysis on hydrate saturation, intrinsic permeability, relative permeability curves, and hydrate zone size was done to determine the impact on the production. This was followed by checking the technical feasibility of the reservoir model for a long-term production of 360 days. This study describes the details of the reservoir simulation modeling concepts for gas hydrate reservoirs using CMG STARS, the impact on the long term production profile, and challenges and development schemes for future work. The results show that appropriate gas mixture can be successfully injected into hydrate bearing reservoir. The reservoir heat exchange was favorable, mitigating concerns for well bore freezing. It can be stated that CO₂-CH₄ exchange can be accomplished in hydrate reservoir although the extent is not yet known since the production declined for long term production period during forecasting study.
    • Reservoir simulations integrated with geomechanics for West Sak Reservoir

      Chauhan, Nitesh; Khataniar, Santanu; Dandekar, Abhijit; Patil, Shirish (2014-07)
      Geomechanics is the study of the mechanical behavior of geologic formations. Geomechanics plays an important role in the life of a well. Without a proper understanding of the geomechanics of a reservoir, the projects associated with it may run into problems related to drilling, completion, and production. Geomechanics is important for issues such as wellbore integrity, sand production, and recovery in heavy oil reservoirs. While studying geomechanics, proper weight is given to mechanical properties such as effective mean stress, volumetric strain, etc., and the changes that these properties cause in other properties such as porosity, permeability, and yield state. The importance of analyzing geomechanics increases for complex reservoirs or reservoirs with heavy oil. This project is a case study of the West Sak reservoir in the North Slope of Alaska. Waterflooding has been implemented as enhanced oil recovery method in the reservoir. In this study, a reservoir model is built to understand the behavior and importance of geomechanics for the reservoir. First, a fluid model is built. After that, reservoir simulation is carried out by building two cases: one coupled with geomechanics and one without geomechanics. Coupling geomechanics to simulations led to the consideration of many important mechanical properties such as stress, strain, subsidence etc. Once the importance of considering geomechanical properties is established, different injection and production pressure ranges are used to understand how pressure ranges affect the geomechanical properties. The sensitivity analysis defines safer pressure ranges contingent on whether the formation is yielding or not. The yielding criterion is based on Mohr's Coulomb failure criteria. In the case of waterflooding, injection pressure should be maintained at 3800 psi or lower and production at 1600 psi or higher. And if injection rates are used as the operating parameter, it should be maintained below 1000 bbls/day. It is also observed that injection pressure dominates the geomechanics of the reservoir.
    • A study of waterflood sweep efficiency in a complex viscous oil reservoir

      Jensen, Marc Daniel; Khataniar, Santanu; Dandekar, Abhijit; Patil, Shirish (2014-12)
      West Sak is a multi-billion barrel viscous oil accumulation on the North Slope of Alaska. The unique geologic complexities and fluid properties of the West Sak reservoir make understanding ultimate sweep efficiency under waterflood a challenge. This project uses uncertainty modeling to evaluate the ultimate sweep efficiency in the West Sak reservoir and honors a rich dataset gathered from 30 years of development history. A sector model encompassing the area of the West Sak commercial pilot was developed and a sensitivity analysis conducted to determine the most important parameters affecting sweep efficiency. As part of this process unique constraints were incorporated into the model including measured saturations at the end of history, and observed completion performance. The workflow for this project was documented and can be adapted for use in larger scale models. The workflow includes the development of static cell properties which accurately represent field behavior, a preliminary history match using conventional methods and a sensitivity analysis employing a multi-run visualization tool to effectively navigate and process large amounts of data. The main contributions of this work include the identification of key parameters affecting sweep efficiency in the West Sak oil field, a documented workflow, and increased insight into observed production behavior.
    • Thermal analysis on permafrost subsidence on the North Slope of Alaska

      Agrawal, Neha Dinesh; Patil, Shirish; Chen, Gang; Dandekar, Abhijit; Bray, Matthew (2015-11)
      One of the major problems associated with the oil fields on the North Slope of Alaska is thawing permafrost around producing oil wells. In these wells, the heat from the producing well fluid gradually thaws the permafrost. This thawing in turn destroys the bond between the permafrost and the casing and causes instability that results in permafrost subsidence which further causes subsidence of the soil surrounding the wellbore and, subjects the casing to high mechanical stresses. The above problem has been addressed by several engineers, and several preventive measures, such as controlling the subsidence by refrigeration or by insulation of the wellbore, have been analyzed. Understanding the thermal behavior of the permafrost is imperative to analyzing permafrost subsidence and providing preventative measures. The current project focuses on building a scaled-down axi-symmetric model in FLAC 7.0 that will help us understand the thermal behavior (i.e., the heat input to the permafrost interval due to hydrocarbon production) and temperature distributions that result in permafrost subsidence. The numerical analysis estimated the thaw influence of steam injection used for heavy oil recovery and its effect on the area around the wellbore for 10 years. The developed model was compared with Smith and Clegg (1971) axi-symmetric model and COMSOL model and correlations of thaw radius and wellbore temperatures were obtained for different types of soils. Heat transfer mitigation techniques were also attempted which are discussed in the report further.