The goal of this research is to develop brine compositions that increase oil recovery in the Goldsmith-Landreth San Andres Unit (GLSAU) [West Texas] and conduct several single-well and one multi-well pilot to test the technology.
University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78759
Kinder Morgan, Houston, TX 77002
This R&D effort is designed to inject water with a composition engineered to improve oil recovery from the carbonate matrix in fractured reservoirs. Carbonate reservoirs tend to be oil-wet/mixed-wet due to positively charged carbonate mineral surfaces and negatively charged acidic/asphaltic components in oil. Many carbonate reservoirs are also highly fractured. Water injection is generally not effective in fractured oil-wet reservoirs because water does not imbibe into the matrix. The water composition can be engineered with ionic modification, surfactants, and nanoparticles which can change the wettability of carbonate rocks towards more water-wet conditions under which water can imbibe into the matrix and displace oil into the fractures. The engineered water can also lower interfacial tension and minimize capillary forces so that gravitation forces influence oil recovery from the matrix. Specifically, this effort aims to develop brine compositions that would increase oil recovery in the Goldsmith-Landreth San Andres Unit (GLSAU) [West Texas] and to conduct several single-well pilots and one multi-well pilot to test the technology.
This technology, if successful, can improve oil recovery from carbonates reservoirs. The learnings from the field tests will be used to develop a full field implementation plan for the Goldsmith-Landreth San Andres Unit (GLSAU) in West Texas and define engineering criteria to apply this process economically in carbonate reservoirs more broadly. There are many other carbonate reservoirs in West Texas with a large volume of conventional remaining oil. Yates alone has an Original Oil in Place of 3 billion barrels. Beyond the US, successful demonstration of this technology could also improve recovery from other giant fractured carbonate reservoirs, e.g., Cantarell, Ku-Maloob-Zaap in Mexico; Tengiz in Kazakhstan. In general, development of improved oil recovery techniques from fractured carbonates has the potential to unlock 5 billion barrels of oil in West Texas and 100 billion barrels world-wide.