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Immiscible gas injection case studies

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A number of early successful and unsuccessful gas injection projects are summarized by Muskat in his 1949 classic book Physical Principles of Oil Production.[1] Immiscible gas injection has been used in oil fields with a wide range of characteristics.

Muskat discusses four gas injection projects in the United States from the 1930s and 1940s.[1] Two of these projects were termed successes, and two were viewed as having poor response.

Cunningham pool (Kansas)

This 1,400-acre anticlinal 31 to 36°API oil field had a maximum closure of 75 ft and 53 producing wells. The reservoir is an oolitic limestone and had an initial gas cap. Field discovery was in 1932, and gas injection began in 1936 into three to five wells after the reservoir pressure had declined from 1,115 to 424 psi. The average reservoir properties were as follows: net thickness, 8 ft; porosity, 11% BV; and permeability, 105 md. Muskat termed this project a success because of its GOR history and concluded that "in spite of the thin pay section there has been effective gas segregation, so that the injected gas largely remained trapped in the reservoir and helped to sustain the oil saturation within the oil zone." [1]

Schuler field (Arkansas)

This 3,000-acre anticlinal 34°API oil field had a maximum closure of 135 ft and 146 wells drilled on 20-acre well spacing. This sandstone reservoir had a small initial gas cap. Field discovery was in 1937; gas injection began in 1941 into six wells at the crest of the structure and after the reservoir pressure had declined from 3,520 to about 1,550 psi. The average reservoir properties were as follows: net thickness, 0 to 70 ft; porosity, 17.6% BV; and permeability, 0 to 4,000 md (355-md average). Success was achieved because the reservoir pressure was stabilized, producing GORs were decreased, and produced gas was reinjected instead of flared. Because of proration limits on production, the allowed oil rate was being produced from a few optimally located downdip wells.

Grayburg lime (West Texas)

This 750-acre section of a west Texas anticlinal reservoir is a sandy dolomite and had an average net pay of 18 ft (in a gross thickness of 130 ft). Pay porosity ranged from 8 to 14% BV, and permeabilities ranged from 2 to 10 md. Oil gravities were in the 33 to 37°API range. In 1942, 1 of the 26 producing wells was converted to gas injection after the reservoir pressure had declined from 1,800 to 1,275 psi. Approximately a year after the start of gas injection, there was a sharp rise in the producing GOR. Because the oil production rate was considerably increased at about the same time as the GOR rise, Muskat reasons that, although the gas may have traveled rapidly through "a substantially continuous and intercommunicating fracture system," the GOR rise may have resulted from the inability of the reservoir matrix to supply oil to the fracture system at the higher oil rate.

Canal field(California)

This 1,100-acre dome oil field had a maximum closure of 150 ft with wells drilled on 20-acre well spacing. The reservoir is a sand of variable character with silt/shale streaks. There was no original gas cap; the original reservoir pressure was 3,550 psi; and the oil bubblepoint pressure was 2,800 psi. Porosity ranged from 15 to 32% BV with an average of 22% BV, and permeability ranged from 10 to 1,000 md with an average of 200 md. Field discovery was in 1937. Gas injection began in 1942 into a single crestal well, but within a year, two other injection wells located down the flanks of the structural axis were added. Within 6 months, the ethyl mercaptan tracer was spotted in one well, and within a year, two other wells showed tracer responses. It was concluded that "the appearance of the tracer at the producing wells definitely proves gas channeling through high-permeability streaks, rather than a uniform drive through the sand as a whole." [1]

In these four situations, the first two were deemed successful applications of immiscible gas injection; the last two were deemed failures. All these fields were relatively small. In small fields, there is less opportunity to optimize well placement and make changes in the course of the project life.

More recent gas injection examples

Examples of immiscible gas injection are described for the following fields:


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Muskat, M.: Physical Principles of Oil Production, McGraw-Hill Book Co. Inc., New York City (1949) 470–502.

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See also

Immiscible gas injection in oil reservoirs