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Assessing Suitability of Depleted Fields for Enhanced Oil Recovery in West Virginia

Moore, Jessica P.; Dinterman, Philip; Lewis, Eric; Luczko, Jennifer; Pool, Susan

Oil production has been a part of West Virginia's economy since the 1860 discovery and subsequent development of the Volcano field, located near the axis of the Burning Springs anticline in the northwestern region of the state. Cumulative statewide oil production rates peaked at 16 million barrels in 1900 and began a steady decline that led to eventual abandonment of many early fields. Of the remaining active fields, several continue to be economically viable today due to secondary recovery water floods and are the focus of examination for potential tertiary recovery via CO2 floods. As part of an effort led by the Midwestern Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) to identify potential carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) opportunities, the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey is examining reservoir parameters in an attempt to establish a suitability ranking system for WV oil fields. Key characteristics were derived from existing sources (literature, completion reports, production data, and well logs) and include, but are not limited to, reservoir depth, pressure, temperature, porosity, permeability, oil viscosity or API oil gravity, estimated OOIP, and cumulative annual production. Only fields where a miscible flood would be possible were included in the assessment; these are generally the fields with a reservoir depth greater than 2500 ft. or a reservoir pressure that exceeds 1000 psi. From these broad screening criteria, several fields were identified as potential targets for more detailed characterization, with preliminary emphasis on the north-central region of the state. Potential targets in this area include the Jacksonburg-Stringtown, Wolf Summit, Mannington, and Salem-Wallace fields. In addition to the geological characterization of reservoir suitability, other factors were identified that would be critical to a successful CO2 flood, including identification of areas with high probability of abandoned well locations, proximity to point-sources and available infrastructure. Many of West Virginia's coal-fired power plants are situated within 20 miles of EOR suitable fields and would be readily-available sources of CO2 if the cost of retrofitting the plants became economically viable. In addition, significant investment of capital would be necessary to construct the network of pipelines to transmit the CO2 from point-source to field.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90163©2013AAPG 2013 Annual Convention and Exhibition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 19-22, 2013