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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Aug. 17, 2001

Survey Receives DOE Grant to Study Wellington West Field

LAWRENCE--Scientists from the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, have received federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to study ways of enhancing production from an oil field in south-central Kansas.

The researchers have received a contract for about $53,000 to study the Wellington West oil field in Sumner County. The project involves pulling together information about wells in the field, then using that information to design methods of enhancing oil production from the field.

The Wellington West field was discovered in 1977. In 1991, the field produced 28,000 barrels of oil. By 1999, however, production had dropped nearly in half, to 15,100 barrels for the year.

Oil in the field is produced from rocks of Mississippian age, deposited about 330 million years ago. Mississippian rocks are responsible for about 40 per cent of the annual oil production in Kansas. However, extracting oil from these rocks can be notoriously difficult. Sometimes as little as 12 percent of oil is removed during the initial stages of pumping.

Waterflooding, or pumping water through the rocks to force out additional oil, is typically applied to these fields to try to increase production. Survey scientist Saibal Bhattacharya will work with other scientists and with American Energies Corp. of Wichita, the owner of the field, to bring together information about the field, including analysis of well records and core samples from the wells. They will use the information to develop a low-cost waterflooding program for the field.

"This work should help increase production from the field, extending its life and adding to the number of barrels of oil that are eventually produced," said Bhattacharya.

Information from the project will be made available to other companies via the North Midcontinent Petroleum Technology Transfer Council.

Story by Rex Buchanan, (785) 864-2106

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