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Production Strategy for Thin-Oil Columns

in Saturated Reservoirs
C.S. Kabir, SPE, Chevron Energy Technology Company; M. Agamini, SPE, Chevron Nigeria Limited; and
R.A. Holguin, SPE, Chevron North America

Maximizing oil recovery in thin and ultrathin (<30 ft) oil columns
is a challenge because of coning or cresting of unwanted fluids,
regardless of well orientation. Significant oil is left behind above
the well completion even for horizontal wells when bottom- or
edge-water invasion occurs.
Two depletion strategies may be enacted to improve recovery
of the remaining oil. In the first option, a conventional horizontal
is completed below the gas/oil contact (GOC). Once the well waters out, the well is recompleted in the gas zone. Completion
occurs either at the crest for a small gas-cap reservoir or at the
GOC, inducing reverse cone, for reservoirs with thick-gas columns. Alternatively, one can skip the initial oil completion, where
gas disposition is a nonissue. Gravity-stable flooding is required to
maximize reserves.
Extensive flow simulations in multiple, history-matched models have shown that the proposed strategy improves recovery significantly. Two field examples are presented to demonstrate the
usefulness of the proposed method.
Using multivariate regression, simple correlations were developed for quick screening of the proposed approach. Experimental
design formed the backbone of a parametric study involving various reservoir, fluid, and process variables. We tested and validated
the correlations with independent sets of experimental and published field data.

The first option is feasible when the gas cap is relatively small.
In fact, Behrenbruch and Mason (1993) proposed the notion of
gas-cap blowdown as a recovery mechanism for reservoirs with
small gas-to-oil-column-thickness ratio, less than 20%, in strong
water-drive reservoirs. However, our work shows that systems
with much higher in-place gas/oil ratio (OGIP/OOIP) with moderate water-drive systems can lend themselves to blowdown, provided good vertical reservoir continuity exists.
To avoid displacing oil into large gas caps and consequent
smearing, we advocate the notion of reverse coning of oil by
placing a horizontal well just above the GOC. As expected, very
high-initial GOR production will be experienced before significant
oil rate takes effect. Where gas monetization is not an issue, this
approach is recommended to maximize oil recovery. However, to
mitigate excessive early gas production, the well can be placed just
below the GOC.
Irwin and Batycky (1997) showed that smearing of oil in a
thick-gas column did not occur. In carbonate reef reservoirs, they
found that even an 18-ft oil column could be successfully displaced by the bottom water into a 500-ft gas column, without
experiencing the anticipated loss of oil.
The main objective of this study is to discuss strategies for
reserves exploitation in thin-oil columns, regardless of the size of
the associated gas cap.
Production Strategy

In the early days of horizontal drilling, successful reserves exploitation of thin-oil columns were reported in North Sea (Lien et al.
1991), Australia (Irrgang 1994), and the Gulf of Mexico (Vo et al.
1997), among others. Nonetheless, economic exploitation of ultrathin-oil columns (<30 ft) is relatively new. For instance, Vo and
his co-workers (Vo et al. 1999, 2000, 2001) have shown that
successful depletion can be effected with densely spaced horizontal wells. Dense well spacing, such as 30 acres in the Attaka field
(Vo et al. 2001), certainly calls for inexpensive drilling. However,
economics may dictate pursuing other measures when high-density
drilling becomes infeasible.
Placement of horizontal wells in a thin-oil column (<40 ft) is a
challenge and depends on relative drive indices of the gas cap and
the aquifer. Typically, the gas cap expands easily as depletion
occurs in the system. However, depending on the strength and
connectivity of the aquifer, a time-delayed response occurs. The
GOC recedes with water influx. Ultimately, cresting causes the
well to water out.
Even when good production practices are adhered to, a significant oil column is left behind at abandonment. In other words, the
standoff between the GOC and horizontal well may leave upwards
of 10+ft of oil column. There are two ways to capture this oil.
Either we allow the aquifer or injected water to drive this oil into
the gas cap, and finally into a crestal well, or else place the horizontal well near the GOC, just above or below it, to minimize the
loss of oil.

Copyright 2008 Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper (SPE 89755) was accepted for presentation at the 2004 SPE Annual Technical
Conference and Exhibition, Houston, 2629 September, and revised for publication. Original manuscript received for review 29 August 2005. Revised manuscript received for review
18 March 2007. Paper peer approved 10 June 2007.

February 2008 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

A conventional scheme involves the use of horizontal or vertical

wells for reservoir development under natural depletion. The ideal
production scenario involves oil withdrawal with minimal depletion from the gas cap to minimize energy loss. During pressure
depletion, the gas cap will expand to provide energy support. However, the gas cap recedes with aquifer influx.
Proposed Approach. This scheme is perhaps illustrated by a schematic shown in Fig. 1a. A well is placed typically in between the
two fluid contacts as shown. When the completion waters out
owing to influx and/or injection, considerable (upward of 10 ft) oil
column is left behind or remains untreated, as shown in Fig. 1b. To
exploit this oil column, we can enact a few options, such as:
Option 1: Crestal vertical completion in the gas cap for reservoirs with small gas caps.
Option 2: Vertical or horizontal completion at the gas/oil
interface for reservoirs with moderate or large gas caps.
In both options, the gas cap is completed as a selective in the
vertical section of the horizontal or vertical well. The horizontal
drain hole is placed in the oil column at a predetermined standoff
from the GOC. Following the initial depletion with the horizontal
well, which we call Stage 1, a zone switch is made to the vertical
completion in the gas cap. Of course, in Stage 1, the well has
watered out or cannot be produced economically. In so doing, the
remaining oil between the conventional horizontal drain hole and
the crest of the reservoir is captured.
Horizontal completion at the gas/oil interface for reverse coning can be applied to saturated reservoirs with small or large gas
caps. In this option, horizontal or multilateral wells are completed
near the gas/oil interface to improve recovery. This scheme is
highly effective in large-gas-cap reservoirs, where displacement of
oil into the gas cap is thought undesirable. The idea here is to
reduce drawdown significantly and expose as much of the reservoir to flow as possible.

Fig. 2Oil saturation profile of the H-01/MR-56 in 2003.

Fig. 1(a) Schematic representation of conventional completion. (b) Remaining oil column after the floodout.

Reservoirs With Small Gas Caps

Stage 1 Depletion. The H-01/MR-56 is a saturated virgin reservoir. The OOIP for this reservoir is estimated to be 19.60 MMSTB.
Three wells penetrated the reservoir. A crestal well encountered
approximately 24 ft net oil pay, with an average reservoir porosity
of approximately 26%.
Fig. 2 shows the initial oil saturation profile in the H-01/MR-56
reservoir. A conventional horizontal well drilled in the best part of
the reservoir recovered 1.96 MMSTB or 10% of the OOIP. Fig. 3
shows the oil saturation after 27 years of production. Again, substantial reserves will be left undrained, if this reservoir is to be
depleted by conventional method only.

Fig. 3Oil saturation profile of the H-01/MR-56 in 2030.


Stage 2 Depletion. At the end of Stage 1, only 10% of the OOIP

had been recovered by the conventional method. After initiating
Option 1 (crestal vertical completion in the gas cap) of the gasblowdown scheme, recovery increased to 12.7% of the OOIP. Fig.
4 captures the saturation profile for this scenario at the end of
project life. However, Option 3, which is horizontal completions at
the GOC, yielded approximately 20% of the OOIP.
Reservoirs With Large Gas Caps
Fig. 5 presents the oil saturation distribution of Ekiti-7 reservoir at
the end of history match. The gas column in Ekiti-7 reservoir in the
Okubie field is approximately 200 ft thick, overlain by a 45-ft oil
column. The OOIP estimate ranges between 45 and 63 MMSTB.
In reservoirs with thick-gas columns, such as Ekiti-7, two depletion strategies were adopted. They were two-stage depletion with
gas well completions just above the GOC for reverse coning.
Two-Stage Depletion. Stage 1 involved the drilling of two horizontal wells with a 13-ft standoff from the GOC. Cumulative
recovery after 27 years of production is approximately 11.4
MMSTB, or 18% of the OOIP.
In Stage 2, after the initial depletion with horizontal wells, one
of the wells is recompleted as a vertical-gas producer, just above

Fig. 4Oil saturation profile of the H-01/MR-56 in 2030.

February 2008 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

Fig. 5Oil saturation profile at end of history match.

the GOC. In so doing, the remaining oil can be captured without its
displacement into the large gas cap. For the Ekiti-7 reservoir,
recovery was 14.6 MMSTB, or approximately 23% of the OOIP;
that is, an incremental gain of 3.2 MMSTB, just by zone switching
from the watered-out well to the vertical completion in the gas cap.
Fig. 6 shows the oil saturation profile at the end of Stage 2 depletion for the Ekiti-7 reservoir.
Reverse Coning: Thick-Gas-Column Reservoirs. In reservoirs
with thick-gas columns, an alternative strategy of reverse coning is
adopted. Here, horizontal or multilateral wells are completed near
the gas/oil interface (just below or above it) to improve recovery.
Fig. 7 shows a case of two horizontal wells completed at the GOC.
The figure shows the oil saturation at the end of project life. The
idea here is to greatly reduce drawdown and expose as much of the
reservoir to flow as possible. The recovery improved from 11.4
MMSTB to 12.44 MMSTB, or 19.84% of the OOIP. Placement of
the well(s) avoids displacement of oil into the large gas cap.
Development of Recovery Factor Correlation
We developed simple correlations that can be used as a quick
evaluation and screening tool for thin-oil-column exploitation,
with either the conventional or the new approach. Experimental
design was used to develop these correlations by doing a parametric study involving various reservoir, fluid, and process param-

Fig. 6Oil saturation profile of Ekiti-7 reservoir in 2030.

eters. We tested and validated the correlations with independent

sets of experimental and published field data.
Stage 1 Depletion. The experimental design approach used in this
study involves a stepwise procedure, as discussed elsewhere
(Friedmann et al. 2003; Kabir et al. 2004). Table 1 presents the
first eight variables for the Plackett-Burman (PB) analysis. Accordingly, 12 flow simulation runs for the eight variables were
done. Table A-1 of Appendix A presents the results.
By definition, the PB design cannot handle quadratic and/or
nonlinear interaction between variables. The main idea of the PB
design is to capture the linear effects of independent variables on
a dependent variable, such as recovery factor. That is why the
D-optimal design was used by omitting the gas cap size (hg), which
was studied independently. Results of the D-optimal design
strongly support eliminating the PB-phase of the study.
This screening study led us to subdivide the variables into two
categories: reservoir and process. Oil-column thickness, ho, permeability, kh, anisotropy, kv/kh, endpoint saturation, Sorw, and horizontal-well length, Lw, constituted the reservoir variables. On the
other hand, standoff from GOC, hGOC, and production rate, q, were
the process variables.
For the five reservoir variables of the D-optimal design, 25
flow-simulation runs were made. Table A-2 of Appendix A presents the experimental matrix and the results of the flowsimulation runs. Fig. 8 shows the corresponding Pareto chart. As
expected, four variables, such as ho, kh, Sorw, and Lw dominate, not
just as a linear term or a primary variable, but also as a quadratic
term or a secondary variable.
Effects of different variables on oil recovery may be best
judged by viewing the Pareto chart in Fig. 9. Note that the negative

Fig. 7Completions at GOC. So profile of Ekiti-7 reservoir

in 2030.
February 2008 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering


Fig. 8Relative contributions of variables to recovery factor.

Fig. 9Relative contributions of variables.

value associated with a variable suggests that its increase has an

adverse effect on the optimized variable, oil recovery in this case.
The opposite is true for a positive value. In other words, the charts
indicate that increasing the oil-column thickness is good for recovery, while increasing the residual oil saturation decreases recovery. These observations are consistent with those one might
expect intuitively.
On the basis of these results, we combined ho, kh, Sorw, and Lw
with the process variables for another set of D-optimal design
experiments. Following exactly the same procedure discussed before, 30 flow-simulation runs were made with six variables.
Fig. 9 presents the Pareto chart. The chart shows that all the
variables fall to the left of the 95% confidence level line. One
should not misconstrue that these variables do not influence the
process; rather, we cannot make statistical significance claims
about these variables at the specified 95% significance limit.
A full-factorial design with all possible combinations of the six
variables will result in 729 (36) flow-simulation runs. With Doptimal design, only 30 flow-simulation runs out of a possible 729
were actually made. To fill in the information void, we generated
a polynomial using the multivariate nonlinear regression to represent the response surface, which serves as a proxy to the flow
simulator. The polynomial in terms of recovery factor, , is given by

= 24.626 + 1.722ho + 9.687 104kh

+ 3.171Sorw + 2.062 103Lw + 0.276hGOC
+ 4.983 104q 0.026ho2 + 1.482 104qho

. . . . . . . . . . . (1)

Eq. 1 is the correlation for evaluating Stage 1 recovery factor.
Stage 2 Depletion. Following exactly the same ED procedure used
earlier, we determined that time of switching to Stage 2 or the
gas-cap-blowdown phase and gas rate at which to produce the well
at are the key variables of interest. Table 2 presents the two
variables and their statistical distributions.
With two variables, we constructed a 9-run experimental matrix
for the full-factorial design. Table 3 presents the variable matrix
and the results of flow simulations. Variables are represented by
1, 0, and 1, which reflect p-10, p-50, and p-90, respectively, as
identified in Table 2.
Following the flow-simulation runs, we developed a Pareto
chart, which is shown in Fig. 10. As expected, gas rate dominates,


not just as a linear term, but also as a quadratic term, as shown in

the following expression:

= 24.915 + 1.961qt 0.07t

0.082q2 0.036t2 + 0.016q.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2)

Eq. 2 allows one to evaluate the recovery factor for the combined
depletion schemes, whereas Eq. 1 does so for Stage 1 only.
Verification of Correlation
Synthetic Data. Eq. 1 was tested with independent sets of data
from numerical experiments. Fig. 11 tests independent flow simulation data obtained for the G-01/MR-02 reservoir. One potential
difficulty with the application of a correlation of this type is that
the contributing length of a horizontal well is never known a
priori. The lack of a superior agreement in Fig. 11 is attributed to
the difficulty of discerning effective Lw in a heterogeneous field.
Fig. 12 makes this point.
Recovery factors obtained from this study were compared with
analytical methods using both in-house and external correlations,
as shown in Table 4. The results of this study are consistently
lower for the G-01 and higher for the H-01 reservoir than others.
Our observation is that the other correlations, unlike those developed here, do not incorporate the phenomenological variables governing recovery. Consequently, large discrepancies can occur. This
comparative study underscores the inherent danger of extrapolating the use of any correlation beyond the bounds of the original study.
Field Data. We also tested and validated the correlations with
published field data from the Attaka (Irrgang 1994) and Serang
(Vo et al. 1997) fields in Indonesia.
Fig. 13 suggests that the general trend holds, but is skewed to
the right. This skewness is attributed to higher recoveries in the
field owing to high-well density. For instance, the average-

February 2008 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

Fig. 10Stage 2; relative contributions of variables.

Fig. 13Verification of correlation with field data.

drainage area per well is 66 and 34 acres in the Attaka and Serang
fields, respectively. By contrast, the G-01/MR-02 has 602 acres for
a single-well situation. Note that we did not incorporate drainage
area as an independent variable in our ED work. That is because
the minimal economic oil recovery of 2 MMSTB at the current
business setting precludes the use of denser well spacing, which is
an order-of-magnitude smaller than those used here.
Nonetheless, we made experimental runs to replicate small
drainage area in the G-01/MR-02 reservoir. Eight wells approximated a drainage area of 75 acres per well. Recovery factor from
these wells ranged between 22 and 56%. This spread in recovery
factor is a direct reflection of areal heterogeneity. That denser well
spacing leads to higher recovery in coning/cresting situation is
demonstrated by this numerical experiment.
Fig. 11Correlation vs. simulation recovery factor.

Fig. 12Performance sensitive to horizontal well length.

February 2008 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

Field Examples
Example 1. The D-2 Sand in the South Timbalier 37 field is a
typical Gulf of Mexico strong water-drive reservoir. This deltaic
sandstone is upper Miocene in age, having high permeability of
over two darcy with porosity of approximately 30%. Strong bottom-water-drive provides most of the energy support at a depth of
11,800 ft subsea in this reservoir. Fig. 14 displays the two wells
with different orientation in the flow-simulation grid, with local
refinement around the wells.
Since the projects inception in July 1998, we recognized that
the oil column is located between a small gas cap and a highly
active aquifer. The oil-column thickness is approximately 40 ft,
and the gas column is approximately 83 ft. In this study, the OOIP
is estimated at 12 MMSTB within a 9,288 acre-ft oil band with a
solution GOR of 889 scf/STB. The in-place free gas volume is
estimated at 7.33 Bscf in a 2,946 acre-ft gas cap. Cumulative oil
production as of October 2003 was 7.44 MMSTB, representing
62% of the current OOIP estimate. Cumulative gas production as
of October 2003 was 9.8 Bscf, representing 54% of the OGIP.


Fig. 14Location of two wells in the simulation model.

Pressure data indicated less than a 400-psi pressure drop from the
initial datum pressure of 4,780 psia.
Stage 1 Depletion. The I-1 well was the first well drilled targeting multiple stacked sands. This vertical well penetrated a lower
portion (33 ft net TVD) of the gas cap as well as an upper portion
(11 ft net TVD) of the oil band. The initial perforations were within
the uppermost 10 ft of the oil column. The cumulative production
through February 2002 was 2 MMSTB of oil and 3 Bscf of gas.
Fig. 15 shows the production profile and Fig. 16 presents the
match obtained. The rapid decline of GOR is tied to balanced
withdrawal rate commensurate with the strong aquifer support.
The I-2 well was a horizontal well drilled along strike to the I-1
well with a 320-ft lateral section. This well was completed in July
of 2000. The cumulative production through February 2002 was
2.5 MMSTB of oil and 4.9 Bscf of gas. Fig. 17 captures the
production history, and Fig. 18 displays the GOR match.
Stage 2 Depletion. At the beginning of 2003, a pulse-neutron
capture log was run across the I-1 well, indicating a 44-ft column
of oil. This encroachment of the oil band into the gas cap occurred
after cumulative production of 4.54 MMSTB, representing 37.8%
of the OOIP and 8 Bscf, representing 44% of the total OGIP. Thus,
in February of 2002, the additional (33 ft net TVD) perforations
were shot to take advantage of the entire oil column. As of October
2003, the oil recovery factor has increased to 62% and the gas
recovery factor has increased to 54%, as previously indicated.
To interpret and optimize the reservoir performance and recovery, various tools were implemented to model the D-2 Sand. Flow
simulations confirmed movement of the fluid contacts. The model
further showed that the active aquifer accounted for over 90% of
the reservoir energy as well as excellent sweep within this clean
package of sand.
To summarize, use of the two-stage completion strategy allowed for optimum hydrocarbon production and recovery. Of
course, monitoring the fluid movements aided the process. In so
doing, we realized excellent sweep, while minimizing the loss of
energy from the production of excessive free gas.

Fig. 16History matching GOR and watercut responses,

I-1 well.

Fig. 15Production history of I-1 well.

Example 2. The DS-41H well was inadvertently landed at the

GOC in the Delta South G-02/DS-03 reservoir in Nigeria. This
example is an embodiment of typical high-permeability sandstone
reservoirs in the Niger delta. Fig. 19 shows the schematic of the
well path in the structure. Despite the seemingly precarious location, the well has exhibited stellar performance, as Fig. 20 testifies.
In fact, this well happened to be the best producer in this reservoir.
The precipitous decline in GOR owes largely to the downdip water
injection. In other words, pressure support has kept the gas cap at bay,
resulting in good sweep and sustained solution-GOR production.
One may surmise that the high-initial GOR may cause significant energy loss in the gas cap. Our contention is that although the
initial high-GOR response may be alarming, that does not necessarily lead to excessive gas production. We illustrate this point
with Fig. 21, which shows that the normalized GOR (ratio of
cumulative to solution GOR) for the DS-41H well is less than
average unit volume of gas that we produce from various reservoirs, including the one where this well is located in. In other words,
the proposed depletion strategy does not produce excessive gas.
To avoid displacing oil into large gas caps and consequent smearing, we advocated the notion of reverse coning of oil by placing
a horizontal well just above the GOC. As expected, very highinitial GOR production will be experienced before significant oil
rate takes effect. Where gas monetization is not an issue, this
approach will maximize oil recovery. However, to mitigate excessive early gas production, the well can be placed just below the
GOC. As Fig. 22 shows, the high-GOR production is relatively
short lived (1 year) in the H-01/MR-56 reservoir, and ensures
significant gain or approximately twice as much reserves.

Fig. 17Production history of I-2 well.

February 2008 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

Fig. 19Schematic well path of DS-41H well.

Fig. 18History matching GOR response, I-2 well.

Irwin and Batycky (1997) demonstrated that the so-called

smearing of oil in a thick-gas column was unfounded. In carbonate
reef reservoirs, they found that even an 18-ft oil column could be
successfully displaced by bottom water into a 500-ft gas column,
without experiencing the anticipated loss of oil. In fact, they reported a combined oil production of approximately 2,000 STB/D
from five crestal wells, when production of oil was least expected
during the blowdown phase of a vertical-miscible flood. This
counterintuitive phenomenon became a reality because of low-Sorw
saturation ( 10%) owing to high-trapped-gas saturation (Sgt).
Their laboratory measurements showed that Sgt could be in excess
of 50% in carbonates when the water invasion occurs.
Similar measurements for water-wet sandstones show that Sgt
can significantly reduce the residual-oil saturation, Sorw. As a rule
of thumb, the total saturation (Sgt +Sorw) owing to waterflood is
approximately the same (Kortekaas and van Poelgeest 1991) as
Sorw, in absence of gas. In other words, if Sgt ranges from 25 to
45% (Irwin and Batycky 1997; Kortekaas and van Poelgeest 1991;
Firoozabadi et al. 1987), Sorw values are expected to be reduced by
approximately one-third. These observations imply that approximately 6% (13 of 20% Sorw) incremental of the remaining oil can
be recovered in a blowdown operation in a typical sandstone reservoir. Indeed, flow simulations with the hysterisis effect suggest
approximately 6% improvement in RF, which translates to over 1
MMSTB incremental oil for G-01/MR-02 reservoir, as shown in
Fig. 23. Consequently, all results from the blowdown simulations
reported earlier are pessimistic. Details of the simulations for the
G-01/MR-02 reservoir and results of other field examples are reported elsewhere (Kabir and Agamini 2004).
Note that most horizontal-well placements in this study considered coarse (100 m 100 m) areal grids, although vertical
definition was retained at approximately 2 to 3 ft. Inevitably, questions arise whether the areal grids are too coarse to yield good

Fig. 20Production performance of DS-41H well.

February 2008 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

solutions. To alleviate this concern, we made simulations with (33

m 33 m) local grid refinement. The recovery factors did not
change by more than 0.1%. These results are not surprising in the
gravity-stable, favorable-mobility-ratio situation models.
1. Novel two-stage/single-stage depletion strategies for significant
recovery gain are shown in reservoirs with thin oil columns.
Field data and computational results lend support to the notion
presented in this study.
2. Simulation results show that the invading water traps gas, resulting in additional recovery of approximately 6% of the OOIP.
3. Simple correlations are presented to screen candidate reservoirs
for both Stage 1 and the combined Stage 1 and Stage 2 depletion
schemes for 600-acre spacing.
Bg gas formation volume factor, RB/Mscf
Bo oil formation volume factor, RB/STB
Co oil compressibility, 1/psi
hg gas-cap thickness, ft
ho oil-column thickness, ft
hGOC well standoff from GOC, ft
kh horizontal permeability, md
krgro gas relative permeability at gas saturation (1Swi
Sorg), fraction
krocw oil relative permeability at oil saturation (1Swir),

Fig. 21Completing at the GOC does not necessarily produce

excess gas.

Fig. 22HW completion at GOC outperforms conventional HW

completion, H-01/MR-56 reservoir.

krwro oil relative permeability at oil saturation (1Sorw),

kv vertical permeability, md
kv / kh reservoir anisotropy, dimensionless
Lw horizontal well length, ft
qg gas rate, Mscf/D
qo oil rate, STB/D
qw water rate, STB/D
Rs solution gas/oil ratio, scf/STB
Sgc critical-gas saturation, fraction
Sgt trapped gas saturation, fraction
Sorg residual oil saturation owing to gasflood, fraction
Sorw residual oil saturation owing to waterflood, fraction
Swir irreducible water saturation, fraction
recovery factor, %OOIP
o oil viscosity, cp
We are grateful to colleagues Ed deZabala and Jairam Kamath for
insightful discussions and John Pederson for his interest and suggestions. Contributions made by the earth modelers are much appreciated. We appreciate our partners and Chevron management
for permission to publish this work.
Arps, J.J. et al. 1967. Bull. 14D, A Statistical Study of Recovery Efficiency,
Washington, DC: API.


Fig. 23Incremental oil owing to trapped-gas saturation is apparent in various completions, G-01/MR-02 reservoir.
Behrenbruch, P. and Mason, L.T. 1993. Optimal Oilfield Development of
Fields With a Small Gas Cap and Strong Aquifer. Paper SPE 25353
presented at the SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference, Singapore,
810 February. DOI: 10.2118/25353-MS.
Firoozabadi, A., Olsen, G., and van Golf-Racht, T. 1987. Residual Gas
Saturation in Water-Drive Reservoirs. Paper SPE 16355 presented at
the SPE California Regional Meeting, Ventura, California, 810 April.
DOI: 10.2118/16355-MS.
Friedmann, F., Chawathe, A., and Larue, D.K. 2003. Assessing Uncertainty in Channelized Reservoirs Using Experimental Designs.
SPEREE 6 (4): 264274. SPE 85117-PA. DOI: 10.2118/85117-PA.
Guthrie, R.K. and Greenberger, M.H. 1955. The Use of MultipleCorrelation Analyses for Interpreting Petroleum Engineering Data. In
Drilling And Production Practice, 130137, Dallas: API.
Irrgang, H.R. 1994. Evaluation and Management of Thin Oil Column
Reservoirs in Australia. APEA Jl. 64.
Irwin, D.D. and Batycky, J.P. 1997. The Successive Displacement Process:
Oil Recovery During Blowdown. SPERE 12 (4): 240245. SPE-36719PA. DOI: 10.2118/36719-PA.
Kabir, C.S. and Agamini, M. 2004. Targeting Thin-Oil Rims in Bottomand Edge-Water-Drive Reservoirs. Paper SPE 88914 presented at the
SPE Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition, Abuja,
Nigeria, 24 August. DOI: 10.2118/88914-MS.
Kabir, C.S. et al. 2004. Developing New Fields Using Probabilistic Reservoir Forecasting. SPEREE 7 (1): 1523. SPE-87643-PA. DOI:
Kortekaas, T.F.M. and van Poelgeest, F. 1991. Liberation of Solution Gas
During Pressure Depletion of Virgin and Watered-Out Oil Reservoirs.

February 2008 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

Exhibition, Brisbane, Australia, 1618 October. DOI: 10.2118/64385MS.

Vo, D.T. et al. 2001. Reservoir Management for Ultra-Thin Oil Columns
Under Gas-Cap and Water Support: Attaka Field Examples. Paper SPE
68675 presented at the SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and
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Appendix ARecovery Factors for ED Runs

See Tables A-1 and A-2.
Appendix BPVT and Relative Permeability
See Tables B-1 and B-2.
Rock Properties
Pore-volume Compressibility. The pore-volume compressibility
used in the simulated models is 4106 psi1 and reference pressure is 2,368 psia.
SPERE 6 (3): 329335; Trans., SPE 291. SPE-19693-PA. DOI:
Lien, S.C., Seines, K., Havig, S.O., and Kydland, T. 1991. The First LongTerm Horizontal Well-Test in the Troll Thin Oil Zone. JPT 43 (8):
914917, 970973; Trans., SPE 291. SPE-20715-PA. DOI: 10.2118/
Vo, D.T., Marsh, E.L., Sienkiewicz, L.J., Mueller, M.D., and May, R.S.
1997. Gulf of Mexico Horizontal Well Improves Attic-Oil Recovery in
Active Waterdrive Reservoir. SPERE 12 (3): 163168. SPE-35437-PA.
DOI: 10.2118/35437-PA.
Vo, D.T., Sukerim, Widjaja, D.R., Partono, Y.J., and Clark, R.T. 1999.
Development of Thin Oil Columns Under Water Drive: Serang Field
Examples. Paper SPE 54312 presented at the SPE Asia Pacific Oil and
Gas Conference and Exhibition, Jakarta, 2022 April. DOI: 10.2118/
Vo, D.T., Warayan, S., Dharmawan, A., Susilo, R., and Wickasana, R.
2000. Lookback on Performance of 50 Horizontal Wells Targeting
Thin Oil Columns, Mahakam Delta, East Kalimantan. Paper SPE
64385 presented at the SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and

February 2008 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

Relative Permeability. Water-oil and oil-gas relative permeability

were modeled using power-law relations, as given by Eqs. B-1
through B-4. The model parameters for both water-oil and oil-gas
relative permeabilities are summarized in Table B-3.
krw = krwoSw Swir 1 Swir Sorw1.8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-1)
krow = krwocw1 Sw Sorw 1 Swir Sorw1.8 . . . . . . . . . . (B-2)
krg = krgroSg Sgc 1 Swir Sgc Sorg2. . . . . . . . . . . . . (B-3)
krog = krocw1 Sg Swir Sorg 1 Swir Sorg2. . . . . . . (B-4)

SI Metric Conversion Factors

ft 3.048*
E01 m
*Conversion factor is exact.


Shah Kabir is a Consulting Reservoir Engineer at Chevron Energy Technology Company in Houston. e-mail: shahkabir@ He has more than 30 years of experience in the
oil industry, with the last 18 of these at Chevron. His experience
includes pressure-transient testing, wellbore fluid- and heat-


flow modeling, and reservoir engineering. He has published

more than 100 papers and two books, including the 2002 SPE
text Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer in Wellbores. He holds an MS
degree in chemical engineering from the University of Calgary,
Canada. He has served on the SPE editorial review committee
of several journals and has received multiple commendations
as an outstanding technical editor. He was 20062007 SPE Distinguished Lecturer and became a Distinguished Member in
2007. Rueben (Tony) Holguin is currently a production operations supervisor at the Kern River heavy-oil field in Bakersfield,
California. e-mail: Previously, he held
various positions in production engineering, reservoir engineering, and asset development in the Gulf of Mexico Business Unit
in New Orleans. In his career, he has modeled a number of
reservoir development alternative evaluations, reserve estimation, and risk and economic analyses. He holds BS degrees in
petroleum engineering and mathematics from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. An active SPE member since 1996, he
served on the ATCE host committee in 2001.

February 2008 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering