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Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 2005-28

Field Demonstration of Horizontal Infill Drilling Using Cost-effective Integrated Reservoir Modeling--Mississippian Carbonates, Central Kansas

Saibal Bhattacharya, Martin K. Dubois, Alan P. Byrnes, Susan E. Nissen, Timothy R. Carr, Evan K. Franseen, Mark Shreve, Steve Anderson, Paul M. Gerlach, and Bob Knoll
Kansas Geological Survey

KGS Open File Report 2005-28
Aug. 2005


Mississippian carbonate reservoirs have produced in excess of 1 billion barrels of oil in Kansas accounting for over 16% of the state's production. With declining production from other age reservoirs, the contribution of Mississippian reservoirs to Kansas's oil production has risen to 43% as of 2004. However, solution-enhanced features such as vertical shale intervals extending from the karst erosional surface at the top introduce complexities/compartmentalizations in Mississippian carbonate reservoirs. Coupled with this, strong water drives charge many of these reservoirs resulting in limited drainage from vertical wells due to high water cuts after an initial period of low water production. Moreover, most of these fields are operated by small independent operators without access to the knowledge bank of modern research in field characterization and exploitation/development practices. Thus, despite increasing importance of Mississippian fields to Kansas's production, these fields are beset with low recovery factors and high abandonment rates leaving significant resources in the ground. Worldwide, horizontal infill wells have been successful in draining compartmentalized reservoirs with limited pressure depletion. The intent of this project was to demonstrate the application of horizontal wells to successfully exploit the remaining potential in mature Mississippian fields of the mid-continent. However, it is of critical importance that for horizontal wells to be economically successful, they must be selectively targeted.

This project demonstrated the application of initial and secondary screening methods, based on publicly available data, to quickly shortlist fields in a target area for detailed studies to evaluate their potential to infill horizontal well applications. Advanced decline curve analyses were used to estimate missing well-level production data and to verify if the well produced under unchanging bottom-hole conditions--two commonly occurring data constraints afflicting mature Mississippian fields. A publicly accessible databank of representative petrophysical properties and relationships was developed to overcome the paucity of such data that is critical to modeling the storage and flow in these reservoirs. Studies in 3 Mississippian fields demonstrated that traditional reservoir models built by integrating log, core, DST, and production data from existing wells on 40-acre spacings are unable to delineate karst-induced compartments, thus making 3D-seismic data critical to characterize these fields. Special attribute analyses on 3D data were shown to delineate reservoir compartments and predict those with pay porosities. Further testing of these techniques is required to validate their applicability in other Mississippian reservoirs. This study shows that detailed reservoir characterization and simulation on geomodels developed by integrating wireline log, core, petrophysical, production and pressure, and 3D-seismic data enables better evaluation of a candidate field for horizontal infill applications. In addition to reservoir compartmentalization, two factors were found to control the economic viability of a horizontal infill well in a mature Mississippian field: a) adequate reservoir pressure support, and b) an average well spacing greater than 40-acres.

The complete report is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.

15276R01.pdf (20.5 MB)

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Kansas Geological Survey, Energy Research
Updated Oct. 17, 2005
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