Gas injection as an alternative option for handling associated gas produced from deepwater oil developments in the Gulf of Mexico
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The shift of hydrocarbon exploration and production to deepwater has resulted in new opportunities for the petroleum industry(in this project, the deepwater depth greater than 1,000 ft) but also, it has introduced new challenges. In 2001,more than 999 Bcf of associated gas were produced from the Gulf of Mexico, with deepwater associated gas production accounting for 20% of this produced gas. Two important issues are the potential environmental impacts and the economic value of deepwater associated gas. This project was designed to test the viability of storing associated gas in a saline sandstone aquifer above the producing horizon. Saline aquifer storage would have the dual benefits of gas emissions reduction and gas storage for future use. To assess the viability of saline aquifer storage, a simulation study was conducted with a hypothetical sandstone aquifer in an anticlinal trap. Five years of injection were simulated followed by five years of production (stored gas recovery). Particular attention was given to the role of relative permeability hysteresis in determining trapped gas saturation, as it tends to control the efficiency of the storage process. Various cases were run to observe the effect of location of the injection/production well and formation dip angle. This study was made to: (1) conduct a simulation study to investigate the effects of reservoir and well parameters on gas storage performance; (2) assess the drainage and imbibition processes in aquifer gas storage; (3) evaluate methods used to determine relative permeability and gas residual saturation ; and (4) gain experience with, and confidence in, the hysteresis option in IMEX Simulator for determining the trapped gas saturation. The simulation results show that well location and dip angle have important effects on gas storage performance. In the test cases, the case with a higher dip angle favors gas trapping, and the best recovery is the top of the anticlinal structure. More than half of the stored gas is lost due to trapped gas saturations and high water saturation with corresponding low gas relative permeability. During the production (recovery) phase, it can be expected that water-gas production ratios will be high. The economic limit of the stored gas recovery will be greatly affected by producing water-gas ratio, especially for deep aquifers. The result indicates that it is technically feasible to recover gas injected into a saline aquifer, provided the aquifer exhibits the appropriate dip angle, size and permeability, and residual or trapped gas saturation is also important. The technical approach used in this study may be used to assess saline aquifer storage in other deepwater regions, and it may provide a preliminary framework for studies of the economic viability of deepwater saline aquifer gas storage.
Qian, Yanlin (2003). Gas injection as an alternative option for handling associated gas produced from deepwater oil developments in the Gulf of Mexico. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from