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Gas Injection Transport Mechanism for Shale Oil Recovery

Authors: Chinedu Ejike


The United States is now energy self-sufficient due to the production of shale oil reserves. With more than half of it being tapped daily in the United States, these unconventional reserves are massive and provide immense potential for future energy demands. Drilling horizontal wells and fracking are the primary methods for developing these reserves. Regrettably, recovery efficiency is rarely greater than 10%. Gas injection enhanced oil recovery offers a significant benefit in optimizing recovery of shale oil. This could be either through huff and puff, gas flooding, and cyclic gas injection. Methane, nitrogen, and carbon (IV) oxide, among other high-pressure gases, can be injected. Operators use Darcy's law to assess a reservoir's productive capacity, but they are unaware that the law may not apply to shale oil reserves. This is due to the fact that, unlike pressure differences alone, diffusion, concentration, and gas selection all play a role in the flow of gas injected into the wellbore. The reservoir drainage and oil sweep efficiency rates are determined by the transport method. This research evaluates the parameters that influence gas injection transport mechanism. Understanding the process could accelerate recovery by two to three times.

Keywords: enhanced oil recovery, gas injection, shale oil, transport mechanism, unconventional reservoir

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