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Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute of Wyoming documents, studies & presentations relating to the topic of geology.


Thermal maturity, the degree to which the total organic carbon in a formation has been transformed from kerogen to producible hydrocarbons due to heat and pressure, is an important measure for not just the quality of a source rock, but also helps for delineating areas more favorable for unconventional drilling. EORI’s report of thermal maturity of the Mowry Shale in the Powder River Basin provides a detailed map based on a large public Tmax data set.

Key observations include:

  • Nearly all of the Mowry deeper than 8000’ currently generates hydrocarbons
  • The basin axis has shifted slightly westward since the Mowry began generating hydrocarbons
  • The Mowry 8000’ line plays an important role in demarcating the over-pressured Mowry and related clay diagenesis.
  • The maximum maturity levels in the Mowry are in the “wet gas” stage

Wyoming, perhaps more than any other state, is dependent on revenues generated from the development and sales of minerals within its borders and has a vested interest in ensuring that its resources are properly and efficiently exploited. Maximizing the efficiency of oil and gas production in Wyoming is one of the primary goals of the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute (EORI). Potential methods or practices that can improve or enhance the recovery efficiency of oil and gas production in the state are of paramount interest. Likewise, those policies or practices that hinder such efforts are also important to discuss.

Wyoming has nearly one billion barrels of proved oil reserves, a significant portion of which is still on primary production. Assessing the potential for secondary recovery from current oil fields is always a daunting task and requires evaluations regarding whether any given field will respond favorably to secondary recovery efforts.

This paper makes general assumptions regarding the feasibility of using a water flood to enhance oil recovery in a field based on publicly available data. The conclusions resulting from these assumptions are meant to be a guideline for the potential of future water flooding and are not meant to provide detailed evaluations of any given field’s ultimate recovery.

Ash Minnelusa Unit Conclusions

• Monitor, monitor, monitor. Make changes based upon reservoir response.
• Improved understanding of the problem improves process application and results
• Volumetric sweep (gels) should be applied before mobility control
• Implement gel processes early for maximum benefits
• Incremental oil expected to exceed 400,000 BBLS (18.4%%5 OOIP) for $0.88/BBL
• Field experience is critical with gel processes. Experience at Ash can be applied to other reservoirs

Background and objective

How do the high K strikes in core data possibly impact oil production Ash Creek field in Pilot 3?


  • Introduction & model settings
  • Comparison of the simulation results
  • Primary analysis of Ash Creek data
  • Conclusions


  1. The synthetic models of Pilot 3 area are generated and the simulations are completed.
  2. The high values of core permeability do impact the production, injection efficiency, and sweep efficiency.
  3. In general, an uniform permeability distribution over the entire field is better for high production, high injection and high sweep efficiency over the entire field.
  4. However, in a small local area, cells having high permeability seems better for production. seems better for production.
  5. High heterogeneity of the field made a high remaining oil in place and a high homogeneity field will produce a high amount of oil.

Polymer-augmented waterflooding of the Minnelusa in Wyoming has proven to be a successful method for improving production in most cases compared to normal waterfloods. Polymer is a lowcost, low-risk option when considering a method for enhancing production of a particular field. Its primary function is to improve the mobility ratio of the injected water by increasing its viscosity, thereby improving the volumetric sweep and conformance within the reservoir.

Advantages of using polymer include: (1) low cost, (2) preventing early water breakthrough, (3) improving volumetric sweep and conformance, (4) increasing oilwater ratios, (5) mobilizing oil that would likely have been bypassed under normal waterflood conditions, (6) mitigating heterogeneous permeabilities within the reservoir, and (7) other enhanced oil recovery injection technologies can still be applied after the polymer flood. Most, but not all, Minnelusa fields examined exhibited improved recoveries using polymer compared to fields under conventional waterfloods. Uneconomical polymer floods can be caused by a variety of factors, chief of which is the failure to properly understand the internal architecture of the reservoir prior to initiating the flood.

The authors use multivariate statistics to highlight best practices in the drilling of Codell and Niobrara reservoirs of the northern Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin in southeastern Wyoming. The conclusions in this paper differ from a 2017 report by the Wyoming State Geological Survey on the same topic and illustrate why simple crossplots are not sufficient to properly analyze plays where a number of variables must be addressed and weighed simultaneously.

For the Codell, this study reveals that the attributes of Proppant Volume, Horizontal Length, Gas-Oil Ratio (GOR), and Treatment Rate have the greatest influence on 6-, 12-, and 18-month cumulative oil production. By examining the individual attribute responses, the current best design in the Codell is a lateral length of at least 9,600 feet (ft), a job size of 12 million (MM) lbs, a treatment rate of at least 40 barrels per minute (bpm), and a GOR of 570 standard cubic feet per barrel (scf/bbl). The type curves from decline curve analysis provided predictive monthly production. The best EURs were obtained with the optimized design and yielded better overall economics when entered into the economic model.

For the Niobrara, a 9MM lb job size with a lateral length of 10,000 ft, a GOR of 900 scf/bbl, and a treatment rate between 40 and 45 bpm is optimal. Due to lack of available pricing data and the inability to generate valid type curves of production, an economic analysis could not be conducted for the Niobrara.