Secondary Natural Gas Recovery: Reservoir Heterogeneity and Potential for Reserve Growth through Infield Drilling: An Example from McAllen Ranch Field, Hidalgo County, Texas


Integrated engineering, geological, geophysical, and petrophysical analyses of McAllen Ranch field have delineated several controls on secondary recovery of natural gas. Barriers to the flow of natural gas within laterally continuous lower Vicksburg sandstone reservoirs can be demonstrated through finite-element modeling. These barriers are probably diagenetic in origin. In the B area of McAllen Ranch field, faults are unlikely to be the primary barriers to gas flow because faults were not inferred from analysis of high-quality three-dimensional seismic images between the key wells used in this study (Hill and others, 1991). Barriers result in incremental reserve additions when some reservoir domains contain no well completions. Areas containing potential incremental gas resources, identified through this analysis, were confirmed by subsequent recompletions in 1991. Three recompletions proposed by this project have proved successful. Our analysis of public domain production data indicates that new infield wells in the Vicksburg S reservoir have increased reserves 69 percent above an estimate made from analysis of 1980 public domain data. Additionally, more than 100 barrels per day of reserves has been added through new wells drilled between 1988 and 1991. Most of the McAllen Ranch Vicksburg S reserve increases are due to a geological reinterpretation that has stimulated infield step-out development of the Vicksburg S reservoir. Distributary-channel-fill sandstones are the most likely candidates to contain incremental reserves because they are laterally discontinuous and are predominant in areas where numerous reservoir sandstones are stacked.


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