Using Steam to Produce More Oil
Reservoir management is used throughout the life cycle of crude oil and natural gas fields. It is used to determine the most beneficial way to develop a new field or to bring new life to a mature field with, for example, an enhanced oil recovery measure such as steamflooding. Using technologies such as remote sensors and simulation modeling, reservoir management can improve production rates and increase the total amount of oil and gas recovered from a field. Although some technologies are common to the oil and gas industry, others are unique to Chevron as a result of our research and development.
3-D computer visualization
Chevron’s ability to forecast the performance of complex oil and gas reservoirs has gained greater clarity through the use of INTERSECT®, an advanced reservoir simulation tool developed in collaboration with Schlumberger Technology Corporation. The simulator has been deployed in key Chevron projects to assist with major business decisions and help maximize field production. Simulations can typically take days to run, but INTERSECT uses parallel computing to divide large problems into smaller pieces and solve them simultaneously in less time. It also depicts reservoirs like 3-D jigsaw puzzles with hundreds of thousands of curvy cells, which improves forecasting accuracy.
INTERSECT has been deployed in the giant Tengiz Field in Kazakhstan. Three miles (4.8 km) underground, the Tengiz reservoir is formidable: vast, hot, high pressure and laden with toxic gas. We are using the simulator to model the field’s geologic and flow characteristics to help design a future expansion program.
INTERSECT is a trademark of Chevron and Schlumberger Technology Corporation, Houston, Texas.
what chevron is doing
Chevron has used reservoir management techniques for more than 60 years. We have codified our knowledge into a companywide standard known as the Reservoir Management Framework™ Version 2.0. It provides structured guidance and standards that can be applied consistently to our assets worldwide.
To increase the productivity of an existing field, we frequently use enhanced recovery techniques. These include:
- Gas injection, which we first applied at the Kettleman Hills Field in California in 1942
- Waterflooding, which Chevron began using in 1953 at the Salem, Illinois, field
- Steamflooding, which was first used in the mid-1960s to optimize recovery from mature heavy oil fields in the San Joaquin Valley in southern California
The successful San Joaquin Valley venture provided important lessons when the company embarked on the world’s largest steamflooding venture, at the Duri Field in Sumatra, Indonesia, in the mid-1980s. The Duri steamflood project, which involved drilling more than 5,000 wells, covers more than 18,000 acres (73 sq km), about the size of Manhattan. The operation more than tripled Duri’s daily oil production, enabling the field to surpass the 2 billion-barrel mark in 2006.
Reservoir management technology also may be applied before a field begins production. Examples include the deepwater Tahiti Field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and the Agbami Field offshore Nigeria, where we employed integrated reservoir management techniques to design field development plans that maximize production and reserves. We also use real-time production and pressure information to increase oil production from the fields. The time-lapse 4-D seismic survey is an additional surveillance tool that is used to identify bypassed reserves.
In our San Joaquin Valley operations, wireless downhole systems were installed to provide dynamic information on the fluid level in each well. This technology, which also helps optimize production, was developed as part of an alliance with Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Published: May 2015