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Enhancing Data to Drive Eagle Ford EOR Value

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Author

Michelle Thoms, Senior Geology Associate

Author Biography

   

The Eagle Ford shale in Texas is one of the more developed plays in North America and operators are exploring whether miscible rich gas injection enhanced oil recovery (EOR) can extend the play’s life. Frequently known as “huff-n-puff,” this process involves three steps: injection, soaking and production, collectively referred to as a cycle. At the right pressures and temperatures, the injected rich gas is miscible with the oil so that during the soaking phase the oil swells and occupies more space in the reservoir. Following the shut-in period the combined oil and gas solution is produced up the wellbore.

The amount of gas injected is one of the primary costs of this process, although the optimal rate is still unknown. In Figure 1, we analyze injection data from seven EOG Resources' leases within the play’s East Volatile Oil window, where EOR activity is concentrated. The company trialed various timings for injection and overall cycle duration, and injected gas averaged ~15 MMcf/d/well. For comparison to a prolific gas play, the average 2019 Haynesville well peaked at 18 MMcf/d.  

Figure 2 looks at the relationship between the annual injected gas volumes and the percent increase in oil EUR per lease. While the data is limited, we observe a positive relationship.

Ultimately, the right amount of gas to inject will come down to economics. While a portion of gas can be self-sourced from the converted wells, the remainder will likely need to be brought in from surrounding leases. As operators test various strategies, we will continue to monitor EOR activity in the play to help inform our clients of best practices.

FIGURE 1 | Gas Injection Data from EOR Positive Response Certification Applications

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FIGURE 2 | Percentage Increase in Oil EUR Versus Annual Injected Volume Per Well

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