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DOE's Unconventional Gas Research Programs 1976-1995
SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region
3.6.1. Key Objectives and Program Design
The first part of the SGR project focused on reservoirs of the Gulf Coast Basin; data-rich, field-based models well-suited for evaluating infield development. The SGR research program focused on sandstone-dominated natural gas reservoirs in fluvial-deltaic plays within the onshore Gulf Coast Basin of Texas (Figure 3.6.2).
The fields were selected by applying a methodology developed by the project for the geological and engineering screening of sandstone reservoirs.
Geologic and engineering analyses of publicly available and industry-supplied data helped to define those gas fields that were suitable as a natural laboratory for project research.
Screening of heterogeneous fluvial-deltaic reservoirs of South Texas defined the first areas of field data collection and formed a major part of early phases of the project. Producing intervals are fluvial reservoirs in the Frio Formation (Seeligson and Stratton- Agua Dulce fields) and deltaic reservoirs in the Wilcox (in Lake Creek field) and in the Vicksburg (in McAllen Ranch field). Results obtained from the initial project phase formed the basis for technical presentations to industry representatives and stressed the potential benefits of cooperating with the Secondary Gas Recovery project.
These presentations led to cooperative studies in four Gulf Coast fields. Cooperative data analyses were initiated with Shell Western Exploration and Production Inc. (SWEPI) in 1989 at McAllen Ranch field in South Texas, which is part of the gas play known as Vicksburg Deltaic Sandstone in the Rio Grande Embayment.
In 1990 and 1991, cooperative data were obtained from Mobil Exploration and Producing U.S., Inc., in Lake Creek field, which is part of the Wilcox Deltaic Sandstone in the Houston Embayment. Project research focused on integrating geologic, engineering, and formation evaluation of fluvial-dominated deltaic deposits in the lower Wilcox group. Both Stratton and Seeligson fields were candidates for detailed investigations within the Frio Fluvial-Deltaic Sandstones along the Vicksburg Fault Zone gas play.
Seeligson field was the first SGR research field study site in the Frio Formation. Starting in mid-1990, with the cooperation of Union Pacific Resources Corporation, the SGR project focused its research efforts on quantifying secondary gas resources in middle Frio gas reservoirs in Stratton field in Nueces, Kleberg, and Jim Wells Counties, Texas.
In 1992 and 1993, an assessment of technical applications and economic feasibility of SGR approaches in small-scale application (mini-evaluations) were conducted to track the benefits and results. In cooperation with independent gas producers, an analysis of the development and operations to find and produce secondary gas reserves was evaluated in two separate field areas.
The second focus area of the SGR project was the Fort Worth Basin of North Texas (Figure 3.6.3). This assessment of Midcontinent sandstone natural gas reservoirs in Boonsville field integrated four key disciplines: geology, geophysics, reservoir engineering and petrophysics.
A 26 square mile 3-D seismic survey was acquired and interpreted to test methods for delineating reservoirs in thin-bed, hard-rock environments.
Reservoir facies frameworks, assessed by integrating geological and geophysical approaches, were combined with engineering and petrophysical evaluations of produced gas volumes and reservoir quality.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. GRI Research into Unconventional Gas Resources
3. Structure of the Enhanced Gas Recovery Program (EGR)