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. Secondary Gas Recovery (1987-1995)

In 1992 the National Petroleum Council estimated that a resource base of 1,295 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable natural gas resources (including proved reserves, conventional resources, and non-conventional resources) existed in the United States.

Of that resource base, 216 Tcf was determined to be recoverable through reserve appreciation in existing fields in the lower 48 states.

Reserve appreciation is the increase in estimated reserves over original field estimates as enhanced geological understanding and improved production technologies are developed and applied.

The integrated application of concepts and cost-effective technologies from the disciplines of geology, engineering, geophysics, and petrophysics are required for converting these resources into producible reserves.

Natural gas reserve appreciation in conventional reservoirs has multiple components. Historically, field extensions through offset development well drilling and deeper pool drilling have been the way to add reserves.

Recompletions of existing wells were often made without the benefit of a complete understanding of the reservoir’s heterogeneity or compartmentalization. Where significant geologic variation occurs, incompletely drained or bypassed reservoir compartments remain to be drained by new infield drilling or strategically placed recompletions (Figure 3.6.1).

Figure 3.6.1: Schematic of Reservoir Compartmentalization. (Click image to enlarge)
Figure 3.6.1: Schematic of Reservoir Compartmentalization. (Click image to enlarge)

In the last two decades, characterization of the internal geometry of reservoirs has revealed a much higher degree of compartmentalization than previously recognized.

This compartmentalization (other than structural compartmentalization) is primarily a function of the depositional system and, secondarily, of the diagenetic history of the reservoir after deposition.

The Secondary Natural Gas Recover (SGR): Targeted Technology Applications for Infield Reserve Growth was a joint venture research project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Gas Research Institute (GRI), the State of Texas through the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin, and the natural gas industry.

DOE leveraged $8.5 million in federal funding with $6.5 million from GRI, $1 million from Texas and $6.3 million from industry to support a 5-year proof-of-concept project. The SGR project was a field-based program employing a multidisciplinary approach that integrated geology, geophysics, engineering, and petrophysics.

A major objective of this research project was to develop, test, and verify those technologies and methodologies that would have near- to mid-term potential for maximizing recovery of gas from conventional reservoirs in known fields. The new technologies to be developed and applied included 3-D seismic and vertical seismic profiling.

The Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas led the SGR team and coordinated the research, first in the onshore Texas Gulf Coast Basin and then in the Ft. Worth Basin.

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Cover Page

Executive Summary

1. Background

2. GRI Research into Unconventional Gas Resources

3. Structure of the Enhanced Gas Recovery Program (EGR)

  • 3.1. Eastern Gas Shales Program (1976-1992)

  • 3.1.1. Key Questions and Related R&D Goals
  • 3.1.2. Program Design and Overview of Major Projects
  • 3.1.3. Key Eastern Gas Shales Projects
  • 3.1.4. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.1.5. Subsequent Developments in DOE and Other Research Related to Eastern Gas Shales

  • 3.2. Western Gas Sands Program (1978-1992)

  • 3.2.1. Key Questions and Related R&D Goals
  • 3.2.2. Program Design and Overview of Major Projects
  • 3.2.3. Key Western Gas Sands Projects
  • 3.2.4. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.2.5. Subsequent Developments in DOE Research Related to Tight Gas Sands

  • 3.3. Methane Recovery from Coalbeds Program (1978-1982)

  • 3.3.1. Key Questions Related to Coal Seam Methane
  • 3.3.2. MRCP Program Design and Overview
  • 3.3.3. Key Methane Recovery from Coalbeds Projects
  • 3.3.4. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.3.5. Subsequent Research Related to Methane Recovery from Coalbeds

  • 3.4. Deep Source Gas Project (1982-1992)

  • 3.4.1. Key Deep Source Gas Projects
  • 3.4.2. Highlights of Important Results

  • 3.5. Methane Hydrates Program (1982-1992)

  • 3.5.1. Methane Hydrates Workshop (March 1982)
  • 3.5.2. Key Questions and Related R&D Goals
  • 3.5.3. Program Design
  • 3.5.4. Major Contracted Gas Hydrates Projects
  • 3.5.5. Methane Hydrate Research Efforts of METC's In-House Organization
  • 3.5.6. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.5.7. Subsequent Developments in Methane Hydrate Research

  • 3.6. Secondary Gas Recovery (1987-1995)

  • 3.6.1. Key Objectives and Program Design
  • 3.6.2. Major Projects
  • 3.6.3. Major Results

    4. Elements of Spreadsheet Bibliographies (by Program)

    Appendix A: Details of Major 1970-1980 Unconventional Gas Resource Assessments

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