Implementing enhanced hydrocarbon recovery projects, both at pilot and commercial scale, requires several previous stages to increase the probability of success. In this sense, both national (NOC’s) and international (IOC’s) operators have established and adapted their methodologies to evaluate the technical-economic feasibility of implementing certain technologies that increase their assets’ production and recovery factor. These projects can be sub-divided into three main phases.
Phase I: Technical Evaluation and Screening
It consists of understanding the reservoir data regarding its petrophysical properties, fluid types, and pressure and temperature conditions. Based on this, the information is compared with analogous fields. The necessary laboratory tests are planned to understand the micro-scale phenomena and their impact on capillary and viscous forces.
Phase II: Design and Planning
- It starts with the development of a subsurface model that represents the areal heterogeneity of the petrophysical properties and their integration with the fluid properties.
- Then, the historical collation is performed to select the potential zones for implementing the EOR project. It should be noted that the analysis of sensitivities and uncertainty on the technical and operational variables allows mitigating the risk and determining the project’s economic viability.
Finally, work is done on planning and prioritizing activities to be carried out in the areas with the most significant potential.
These two analyses of sensitivities and uncertainties on the technical and operational variables mitigate the risk and determine the project’s economic viability.
Phase III: Execution and Monitoring
Proactive planning during phase II is essential to guarantee a good execution of the project. It allows the continuous monitoring of the critical subsoil and surface variables during a third phase, which helps optimize the project’s performance and guarantees the obtaining of lessons learned.
The success of Enhanced Recovery projects depends mainly on several technical, operational, and economic variables. However, following a systematic and consistent work methodology will ultimately increase the probability of obtaining the expected results or, in any case, understand the behavior of the reservoir when subjected to fluid injection and with this information to extrapolate, optimize and improve the continuity of the process to maximize the extraction of hydrocarbon reserves and thus achieve a high impact on production and Recovery Factors.
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