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The present invention relates to a method for enhancing oil and oil residue recovery from oil-containing rock formations by supplementing a water cycle of a water alternate gas process with nutrients such that the formation resident microorganisms are stimulated as an additional oil release mechanism. The method alters three-phase relative permeability in order to increase displacement efficiency while increasing oil release by microbially assisted water alternate gas processing.


A method of increasing oil recovery form a carbonate oil reservoir by determining the presence of microorganisms, determining a specific nutrient package to stimulate the microorganisms, delivering the nutrient package to the carbonate oil reservoir, and allowing the stimulated microorganisms to change the adhesion tension between the carbonate oil rock formation and the oil and the water.


Zahner R.L.,Venoco | Tapper S.J.,Husky Energy | Govreau B.R.,Titan Oil Recovery Incorporated
SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering | Year: 2012

Using a breakthrough process, which does not require microbes to be injected, more than 100 microbial enhanced-oil-recovery (MEOR) treatments were conducted from 2007 to the end of 2010 in oil- producing and water-injection wells in the United States and Canada. On average, these treatments increased oil production by 122%, with an 89% success rate. This paper reviews the MEOR process, reviews the results of the first 100+ treatments, and shares what has been learned from this work. Observations and conclusions include the following: 1. Screening reservoirs is critical to success. Identifying reservoirs where appropriate microbes are present and oil is movable is the key. 2. MEOR can be applied to a wide range of oil gravities. MEOR has been applied successfully to reservoirs with oil gravity as high as 41°API and as low as 16°API. 3. When microbial growth is appropriately controlled, reservoir plugging or formation damage is no longer a risk. 4. Microbes reside in extreme conditions and can be manipulated to perform valuable in-situ "work." MEOR has been applied successfully at reservoir temperatures as high as 200°F and salinities as high as 140,000 ppm total dissolved solids (TDS). 5. MEOR can be applied successfully in dual-porosity reservoirs. 6. A side benefit of applying MEOR is that it can reduce reservoir souring. 7. An oil response is not always observed when treating producing wells. MEOR can be applied to many more reservoirs than thought originallys with little downside risk. This review of more than 100 MEOR well treatments expands the types of reservoirs in which MEOR can be applied successfully. Low-risk and economically attractive treatments can be accomplished when appropriate scientific analysis and laboratory screening are performed before treatments. Copyright © 2012 Society of Petroleum Engineers.


Town K.,Husky Energy | Sheeny A.J.,Titan Oil Recovery Inc. | Govreau B.R.,Titan Oil Recovery Inc.
SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering | Year: 2010

A microbial enhanced-oil-recovery (MEOR) process was successfully applied in a mature waterflooded reservoir in Saskatchewan, Canada. A nutrient solution, which was designed specifically for this reservoir to stimulate indigenous microbes to grow, multiply, and help to release oil, was tested and piloted. A significant decrease in water cut and increase in oil production have been realized through the selective stimulation of bacteria using nutrient injection. The field is a mature waterflood averaging more than 95% water cut. To combat the increasing water-cut issue, an in-situ microbial response analysis (ISMRA) was performed on a typical high-water-cut producer in the area. The test well was treated with a nutrient solution and then was shut in for a number of days to allow indigenous microbes to grow and multiply. Upon return to production, the well produced at an average of 200% more oil with a 10% decrease in water cut for a year. Pretreatment rates averaged 1.2 m3/d of oil (8 BOPD) and post-ISMRA treatment daily production peaked at 4.1 m3/d of oil (26 BOPD). The ISMRA provides a direct support of laboratory studies and frequently increases oil production. As a result of the successful ISMRA, a pilot project was initiated and the nutrients were applied in three batch treatments on an injector with three offset production wells. Three weeks after the first batch treatment, a water-cut decrease was seen at one of the offset producers. This well's oil production gradually increased from 1.4 to more than 8 m3/d (9 to 50 B/D). Oil production in another producer doubled from 1.5 to more than 3.0 m3/d (9 to 19 B/D). Subsequent treatments were tried on marginally economic wells and on a reactivated idle producer. The average decrease in water cut in these wells was more than 10%. On the idle well, oil production increased from 0.5 m3/d (3 B/D) pretreatment to an average of 3.0 m3/d (19 B/D) post-treatment. Throughout the world, there remains a huge target for enhancedoil-recovery (EOR) processes to target (Bryant 1991). This successful MEOR application will have a tremendous impact on ultimate recovery in many of these reservoirs not only through an increase in production, but a decrease in operating costs through associated reduction in lifting costs with less water production. Copyright © 2010 Society of Petroleum Engineers.


Zahner B.,Venoco Inc. | Sheehy A.,Titan Oil Recovery Inc. | Govreau B.,Titan Oil Recovery Inc.
SPE - DOE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium Proceedings | Year: 2010

A Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) process was successfully applied to a mature waterflood in Southern California, using indigenous microbes that normally remain dormant during the producing life. Certain indigenous microbial species can be activated in waterflood reservoirs by introducing the correct blend of nutrients. Once activated, the microbes multiply when the nutrients deplete, then migrate to immobile oil in search of a food source. The microbes break up this residual oil saturation into smaller micro-droplets that can flow through pore throats and be swept to producers, yielding an increase in oil recovery. The application on a producing well led to an increase in well tests from 20 to over 80 BOPD. Following this encouraging test, the nutrients were applied in three batch treatments on each of the waterflood injectors. At peak response a thirty percent oil rate increase was seen in the offset producers. Because this process uses indigenous microbes, there are no compatibility issues with reservoir fluids or concerns about survival in a foreign environment. The results from this field application demonstrate that managing a reservoir's indigenous microbes can yield significant incremental oil production in a mature waterflood with a minimal investment.


A method for improving oil recovery includes determining a specific nutrient package or formulation for stimulating and altering resident microorganisms to increase wettability of reservoir rock formations in oil reservoirs. Once determined, the specific nutrient package is applied to the oil reservoir to stimulate the resident microorganisms. The stimulating application is followed by a period of nutrient limitation where the physiology and surface characteristics of the resident microorganisms are altered. Once altered, the resident microorganisms interact with the reservoir rock formations to change the adhesion tension of the reservoir rock formation to a more water wet condition so that oil will flow more freely rather than be bound to the rock surface.


A method of increasing oil recovery from oil reservoirs includes the step of conducting a series of lab analysis that lead to a specific nutrient formulation followed by or in parallel with a genetic analysis of resident microorganisms in water produced from an oil reservoir to determine if the population of oil interactive microorganisms may be modified to produce a change in oil-water relative permeability of an oil reservoir. The series of analyses are conducted to determine the contents of a specific nutrient formulation package to optimize changes in the resident microorganisms to enhance oil recovery by changing oil-water relative permeability in the oil reservoir. Next the specific nutrient formulation is applied to stimulate some of the resident microorganisms to interact with oil contained in the reservoir rock formations. The stimulation step is followed by limiting the specific nutrient formulation to alter or modify the physiology and surface characteristics of the targeted microorganisms.


A method of improving oil recovery includes the step of selecting an oil containing rock formation having geologic structures and well completions with vertical permeability that allow a structurally high water injection point. Through a series of analyses a nutrient water mixture is determined and injected at the injection point to stimulate resident microorganisms through gravity dispersion of nutrient materials. A period of limitation is allowed to permit changes in the size or hydrophobic properties of the microorganisms. Through interaction with the stimulated resident microorganisms, oil, trapped in a pore space, is freed to accumulate with upward gravity separation for production.


A method of enhancing oil recovery includes the step of determining a specific nutrient package used to initiate a microbiological response under actual reservoir conditions in combination with low salinity water injection. Once determined, the specific nutrient package is applied to at least one targeted well to stimulate resident microorganisms such that size or hydrophobic properties are beneficially altered so that interaction with oil contained in a reservoir rock formation is improved.


A method of monitoring fluid flow in an oil reservoir includes the step of delivering a nutrient package to an oil reservoir. The nutrient package stimulates the growth of resident microbes/organisms which changes the morphology and function of the microbes. A sample is taken from produced fluids from wells in the reservoir and possible connections thereof and analyzed. Based on the analysis, determinations are made regarding the movement of fluids in the reservoir by observing changes in the range, concentration, and cell morphology of the microbes after nutrient stimulation by comparing pre-treatment versus post treatment measurements.

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