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Advanced Resources International has published the U.S. CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery Survey for end-of-year 2020.

The Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute’s Acting Director, Lon Whitman, is a contributor to an important and anticipated publication of the U.S. CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery Survey.

The purpose of this updated survey is to provide a comprehensive status report of the 142 active CO2-EOR projects in the U.S., including enhanced production totals, reservoir characteristics, and other project parameters.

Throughout a challenging year, incremental oil production from CO2-EOR declined about 8% to 273,000 barrels per day -- this total is on par with the overall decline in U.S. crude oil production in 2020.

Despite a significant decrease in the volumes of CO2 available for injection and storage the CO2-EOR industry was able to maintain production by recycling CO2 rather than having to shut in wells. This strategy shows the resiliency of CO2-EOR during challenging economic conditions, and further supports the viability of this method as a means of storing CO2 and producing lower carbon intensity oil in the U.S.

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

The primary objective of the study is to assess the possible implications to GHG emissions associated with this proposed ban and to do so, estimate the drilling and production losses from policies to restrict oil and gas development on federal lands. From that estimate, the emissions impacts are assessed by examining the difference in emissions associated with possible makeup production, compared to the production loss resulting from the ban, or from higher natural gas drilling levels that may be required to make up for lost supplies.

This study estimates the investment and production losses from policies to restrict oil and gas development on federal lands. The first policy is a moratorium on all new federal leases. The second involves an outright drilling ban on all onshore federal lands. The scope of this inquiry includes a study region that includes eight states: Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, California, and Alaska. These lost opportunities are estimated by first projecting how drilling and production activity is likely to evolve from 2021 through 2040 and then identifying what portion would be affected by the two policies.

The Institute predicts unconventional drilling will become less important while improved and enhanced recovery methods in conventional reservoirs will be of critical importance to Wyoming’s oil and gas sector due to expected oil prices. The Institute offers immediate changes be considered to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) policies regarding the approval of idle well bonds to initiate construction.

EORI Offers Imperative and Immediate changes to WOGCC Policies that May Improve Production in Wyoming:

The Institute predicts unconventional drilling will become less important while improved and enhanced recovery methods in conventional reservoirs will be of critical importance to Wyoming’s oil and gas sector due to expected oil prices. The Institute offers immediate changes be considered to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) policies regarding the approval of idle well bonds to initiate construction.

EORI Offers Imperative and Immediate changes to WOGCC Policies that May Improve Production in Wyoming:

• Eliminate the Idle Well Bond Policy
• Consider establishing a tiered Blanket Bond
• Incentivize EOR activity
• Establish a maximum 60-day time limit for reviewing and actioning water flood and disposal well applications
• Extend the time period of inactivity before a well is considered “Idle” to consecutive 24 months.
• Before the state demands that a well should be plugged, it should be evaluated to determine if it has any remaining recoverable reserves.

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?

Outline:

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

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.

Is CCUS Feasible in WY? Wyoming’s Unique Position in the World’s CCUS Arena - The Cowboy Unicorn.

Summary of Executive Orders Actions taken by the Biden administration in January 2021 which will have a direct impact on Wyoming’s economy. 

In their study, Open Water Capital Partners highlights solutions to mitigate the long-term effects of a sustained downturn in coal, oil and natural gas and introduces strategies to limit the downturn’s impact while supporting Wyoming’s energy industry.

Open Water Capital Partners introduce strategies to curtail this impact to Wyoming’s economy with a three-pronged approach providing “immediate financial relief to operators, access to longer term liquidity amidst the volatility, and establishes a platform to more broadly diversify state revenue streams. 

The purpose of this study was to report on the effectiveness of the Hyperscratcher tool in improving production or injection by cleaning out boreholes that have reported problems with scale, paraffin, or asphaltene build-up.

The Hyperscratcher tool was initially designed and used in California in the 1980s for workovers; as yet it has not been widely used in Wyoming.

Test results show use of the Hyperscratcher Tool significantly improved production in 7 of the 8 wells tested with production improvement varying from 20% to 120%.

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 purpose of this survey is to provide a comprehensive status report of active CO2 EOR projects in the U.S., as of end-of-year 2019. This survey provides the first update of CO2 EOR project data since the final publication of the Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ) EOR Survey in 2014.

The 2019 U.S CO2 EOR survey shows that incremental oil recovery from CO2 EOR in the U.S. has held steady at approximately 300,000 barrels of oil per day. A total of 3.0 Bcf per day of CO2 is purchased for CO2 EOR, including 1.0 Bcf per day from “industrial” sources, which represents an increase of 30% over the last seven years.

Carbon management, in the form of CO2 capture and storage, is the most viable pathway to meeting significant carbon emission reduction targets over the next several decades. This survey demonstrates the value and potential of CO2 EOR to the overall carbon management strategy in the U.S.

Periodic updates will be made to this survey to include the latest CO2 EOR project data available. This publication is intended as a public resource for petroleum and energy industry stakeholders, and is offered free of charge by ARI. The next survey update is anticipated for Fall 2021.

Recent studies have shown that methane leak rates from abandoned oil and gas (AOG) wells may constitute a significant portion of a state’s emissions inventory. These emissions were shown to vary by region which introduces large uncertainty in the US national emissions inventory. In Wyoming, there are currently around 1900 wells identified as “orphaned” which indicates that they are both abandoned and unplugged. In this study, ten orphaned coalbed methane wells were sampled to characterize AOG emission rates in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. The mean methane emission rate measured at these wells was 645 mg CH4/hr with the majority of these wells emitting in the 100-1000 mg CH4/hr range.