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UW Institute Awards Funding for Oil and Gas Data Projects

May 8, 2018

Working with private companies, the University of Wyoming’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute (EORI) will gain insights into reservoirs and technologies that could result in improved methods to recover stranded oil and gas in the state.

EORI has selected seven projects to receive awards under a new program designed to acquire real-world Wyoming oil and gas reservoir operating data in partnership with various technology vendors and Wyoming operators. Data collected from the projects will be used by EORI’s research, engineering and geology staff to analyze the state’s reservoirs and technologies.

“We are so pleased with the response from operators and their willingness to engage the institute,” EORI Deputy Director Rob Hurless says. “We now begin the process of collecting the data, running analyses and advancing these field projects. Our goal is to suggest improved, economical methods for recovering larger volumes of stranded oil and gas, which is at the heart of the institute’s mission and legislative mandate.”

The program offered cost sharing on a dollar-for-dollar basis, with the expectation to leverage $500,000 of EORI funding to accomplish $1 million of research in Wyoming. The first round of awards exceeded expectations by fivefold: The $423,388 invested by EORI will yield $2.19 million of direct research invested entirely in Wyoming.

Initial awardees are:

-- MidCon Pilot Project -- A test of the response in shaley, Cretaceous sandstones of the Sussex and Shannon formations to “cyclic water stimulation treatments.” This will help identify fluids compatible with the clay soils within the Cretaceous sandstone reservoirs in the Powder River Basin -- a major factor in optimizing floods in these economically important reservoirs.

-- Ash Creek Pilot Project for Enercat Tool-SVP -- A test of the effectiveness of Enercat tools to reduce emulsion in oil storage tanks and in reducing paraffin within flow lines of a Shannon reservoir that is under CDG polymer flooding. Results should be applicable to other reservoirs under secondary recovery suffering from similar problems in the state.

-- Poison Draw Pilot Project for GreenZyme-SVP -- A test of the effectiveness of GreenZyme in improving production in a depleted Teckla reservoir. Results from this study will most likely be applicable to analogous situations in other formations throughout the state.

-- Poison Draw Pilot Project for Enercat Tool-SVP -- A test of the effectiveness of Enercat tools in reducing paraffin in the tubing and flow lines of a Teckla sandstone reservoir in a depleted field under primary production. Results should be applicable to other reservoirs under primary production throughout the state.

-- Rock Creek Field Project for GreenZyme-Urban Oil & Gas -- A test of the effectiveness of GreenZyme added to injection water for improving production in a Minnelusa water flood. Results from this study will be directly applicable to Minnelusa water floods in the Powder River Basin and, perhaps, to other reservoirs under water flood throughout the state.

-- Signal Hill Co. for side entry Viper Drilling -- Signal Hill Co. is looking to increase production in the Recluse member of the Muddy formation at Thompson Creek Field in the Powder River Basin. It is currently under an alkaline polymer flood. The majority of the wells are vertical, with a handful of horizontal wells. It would be uneconomical to drill more horizontal wells, so Signal Hill is going to employ Viper Drill, a service company providing mechanical radial drilling technology to existing vertical wells. Four mini-horizontals are drilled to bypass any skin damage, increasing the effective drainage size of the reservoir. The results could lead to multiple other operators employing this technology in older fields where horizontal drilling is not a reasonable option.

-- XRO Energy for Field Engineering -- The XRO East Echo Springs Production Optimization Project is focused on the Lewis, Lance, Mesaverde and Ericson formations in the Greater Green River Basin. The average life of wells in the field is only 15 years, leading to a loss of income across the board. XRO is testing a production optimization strategy that aims to increase production and, thus, well life across the field. The results could provide a methodology that will help numerous other operators optimize their artificial lift and surface facilities.

Questions or issues related to these projects or EORI may be directed to Director Steve Carpenter, (307) 315-6442 or; Hurless, (307) 315-6443 or; and Outreach Manager Lon Whitman, (307) 315-6450 or

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