Unified Theory of Ultimate Hydrocarbon Recovery for Primary and Cyclic Injection Processes in Ultratight Reservoirs

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This paper presents a simple method to estimate ultimate recovery factors (URF) of ultratight reservoirs based on equilibrium by diffusion in which URF is only a function of changes in hydrocarbon density between initial and final states. URF is defined at infinite time and therefore does not depend on the transient behavior. Although URF may not be achievable during the life-cycle of the field development and production, it provides valuable insights on the role of phase behavior. We show that equilibrium phase behavior defines the absolute upper-bound for URF during primary production and explains the poor recovery from shale oil reservoirs compared to the high recovery factor in shale gas reservoirs in a unifying way. Further, we quantify how injected solvent compositions (CH4, CO2, N2, and C2H6) during huff’n’puff enhanced oil recovery (EOR) improve recovery based on density reduction and compositional dilution, and show that the largest percentage increase in recovery occurs for heavier oils. Our calculations provide a practical means to define the URF from primary production as a function of reservoir fluid composition, temperature, and pressure drawdown. In addition, our calculations articulate incremental URF (IURF) of solvent huff‘n’puff based on net solvent transfer into ultratight rock, which is a key design consideration. The results illustrate that solvent transfer dilutes the hydrocarbons in place, thus maximizing long-term hydrocarbon recovery. Net mass transfer can be improved by enhancing the diffusion of solvent into the matrix based on the huff‘n’puff design parameters including solvent composition, drawdown pressure, and the net amount of solvent injected based on optimal frequency and cycle duration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10706
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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