Enhanced Oil Recovery Method Selection for Shale Oil Based on Numerical Simulations

Elena Mukhina, Alexander Cheremisin, Lyudmila Khakimova, Alsu Garipova, Ekaterina Dvoretskaya, Maya Zvada, Daria Kalacheva, Konstantin Prochukhan, Anton Kasyanenko, Alexey Cheremisin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


As unconventional reserves, oil shale deposits require additional oil recovery techniques to achieve favorable production levels. The efficiency of a shale reservoir development project is highly dependent on the application of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. There are many studies devoted to discrete investigations of each EOR method. Most of them claim that one particular method is particularly effective in increasing oil recovery. Despite the wealth of such research, it remains hard to say with certainty which technique would be the most effective when applied in the extraction of unconventional reserves. In this work, we aim to answer this question by means of a comparative study. Three EOR methods were applied and analyzed in the same environment, a single target object - an oil field in Western Siberia characterized by ultra-low permeability (0.03 mD on average) and high organic content. Methods involving huff-and-puff injection of a surfactant solution, hydrocarbon gas, and hot water were studied using numerical reservoir simulations based on preceding laboratory experiments. A single horizontal well having undergone nine-stage hydraulic fracturing was used as the field site model. The comparative calculations of cumulative oil production over an 8-year period revealed that the injection of hot (supercritical) water led to the highest oil recovery in the target shale reservoir. Each EOR method was implemented using the best operation scenario. All three cases resulted in an increase in cumulative oil production compared to the depletion mode, though the efficiency was distinctly different. Twenty-six percent more oil was obtained after hot water injection, 16% after hydrocarbon gas, and 12% after a surfactant solution. Simulation of a hot water huff-and-puff operation over a longer period (43 years) led to a level of oil production 3 times higher than depletion. The drawbacks of each EOR method on the shale site are discussed in the results. A possible solution was proposed for preventing the negative effects of heat loss and water blockage incurred from hot water injection. The comparative study concludes that hot water injection should lead to the highest volume of oil recovery. The conclusions drawn are suggested to be relevant for similar shale fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23731-23741
Number of pages11
JournalACS Omega
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhanced Oil Recovery Method Selection for Shale Oil Based on Numerical Simulations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this