Production Potential of Unrecovered Mobile Oil Through Infield Development: Integrated Geologic and Engineering Studies Overview

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This report is part of a coordinated series of research efforts designed to prepare preliminary evaluations of important components of the domestic unrecovered oil resource. The specific resource of interest is the oil that is displacable by water and remains in the Nation's reservoirs after conventional production. Integrated geologic, engineering, and economic evaluations in this series estimate future reserve additions from this unrecovered mobile oil (UMO) resource under various circumstances. The individual studies (Volumes 2 through 5) consider the effects of changes in oil prices and advances in production technology on the economic recovery potential of the UMO resource. This report (Volume 1) discusses and compares the approaches and results of the individual studies. Several recovery technologies are evaluated, including the use of waterflooding in conjunction with infill drilling to displace and produce UMO at decreased well spacings. The overall analysis series was conducted in two separate, but coordinated, parts: at a detailed reservoir level and at a generalized regional level. At the reservoir level, detailed analyses of three individual Texas reservoirs fully delineated the resource and the potential for UMO recovery in each reservoir under a variety of development situations. Results of the individual reservoir evaluations were extrapolated to groups of reservoirs with common depositional histories, collectively known as "plays". At the regional level, reservoirs in three major oil producing states, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, were analyzed to determine the resource volume, potential recovery, and the costs and benefits associated with this recovery both in the individual states and for the region as a whole. This analysis relied on the geologic classification of individual reservoirs, specific rock and fluid properties, and production and development histories to quantify the resource and to assess its potential for UMO recovery potential. Coordination of the studies at two analytical levels proved advantageous -- the initial methods and results at both levels were compared in order to calibrate and to modify the final approach at each level and can now be used as a guide in future analyses. In addition to the specific results from the two analytical levels, several shorter issue and summary papers have also been prepared.


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