Magellan issues Montana CO2 EOR update

By Emily Aasand | February 10, 2015

Magellan Petroleum Corp. recently provided an update on its carbon dioxide (CO2) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) pilot at Poplar Dome in Montana, within the Williston Basin shale play. Magellan, an independent oil and gas exploration and production company, focuses on the development of CO2 EOR projects in the Rocky Mountain region.

For the past 150 days, Magellan has been injecting CO2 into the B-2 zone of the Charles formation—directly above the Middle Bakken and Three Forks. The company reported that the downhole injection pressure has remained stable at above minimum miscibility pressure and that company data was able to confirm that the injected CO2 went into the targeted formation with little or no losses of CO2 to the fracture systems already in place.

In January, Magellan reported that two of its four pilot producer wells began to exhibit oil production with improving oil cuts. In mid-January, small volumes of natural gas and injected CO2 were also produced from the wells and the wells have been temporarily shut-in to encourage the flow of oil and CO2 to the pilot’s other two producer wells, the company said.

“The pilot results have thus far exceeded our expectations,” said Thomas Wilson, president and CEO of Magellan. “We have been able to control the injection of CO2 into the matrix at the desired pressure and without interruption or loss due to fractures of thief zones. The oil and CO2 shows the producer wells now confirm that CO2 is also going in the right direction. We understand that our pilot performance compares quite favorable to past CO2-EOR pilots in the Williston Basin, and we believe that the results to date substantially de-risk the prospect for an efficient full field CO2-EOR development at Poplar.”

“We look forward to the anticipated ramp up in oil production from the pilot and the conclusions we will be able to draw with respect to the economics of a full field development,” Wilson continued. “In the meantime, we will continue to make progress on planning for a full-filed CO2-EOR development at Poplar.”

Last summer, members of the Montana Tech Petroleum Engineering Department conducted a pilot project to access EOR options for the Elm Coulee oil field in Eastern Montana. The work included plans to inject either CO2 or natural gas into the shale surrounding the original wells. The project, funded by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, through the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation, involved restoring underground pressure in and around the depleted wells to the level that existed when the wells were first drilled. The team has a five-year grant and is three years into the research effort.

The Montana research team consists of four members, Leo Heath, John Evans, David Reichhardt and Burt Todd. “In the Bakken, water flooding probably won’t work because the rock is too tight and the water viscosity is too high, so we’re injecting enhanced oil recovery fluids like carbon dioxide or natural gas,” said Todd. “This method acts a lot like water flooding except that we’re using a much lower viscosity fluid.” 


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