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Society of Petroleum Engineers
Steam Injection Well Falloff Analysis for Monarch Zone, MOCO
A.M. AI-Khatib, Mobil Oil Corp.; H.J. Ramey Jr., Stanford U.; and J.P. Busby, Mobil Oil Corp.
Copyright 1992, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.
This paper was prepared for presentation at the Western Regional Meeting held in Bakersfield. California, March 30-April 1, 1992.
This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper,
as presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented: does not necessanly reflect
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of Petroleum Engineers. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. lIIustraltons may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment
of where and by whom the paper is presented. Write Librarian Manager, SPE, P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836. Telex, 730989 SPEDAL.
The effects of the unswept zone mobility on
steam injectivity were investigated. Six falloff
tests were run in a steamflood near Maricopa,
California. The tests were analyzed using the
rad i a 1 compos i te model wi th the aid of the
Barua-Horne and the Kappa Saphir well test analysis
Computer aided matching of the radial composite
model with steam injection well falloff data
provided remarkable agreement between field data and
model simulation. It was possible to find skin,
wellbore storage, steam zone mobility and compres-
sibility, and the mobility and compressibility of
the zone ahead of the steam front. low mobil ity
ahead of the steam zone was found to 1 imit steam
injec- tivity in several field cases.
In 1979 Eggenschweiler et al' found that the radial
composite model had an unexpected property which
made it suitable for thermal injection well fallOff
pressure transient analysis. Wellbore storage and
skin effects lasted for short time (seconds) then
there was a semi-log radial flow period for about
one hour which contained the swept zone properties,
followed immediately by a pseudo-steadystate
Cartesian straightline which contained the swept
zone volume for gas injection with gravity override.
The pseudo-steady period appeared to last for about
five hours. Thus, the properties of this pressure
transient test were ideal. The test could be
completed in a short time.
Inspection of many sets of field test data indicated
that the procedure was appropriate for both insitu
combustion and steam injection. However, the swept
volume usually appeared too large for both kinds of
Reference. iiid j[(uatrlltf_ It iiid of peper.
found it was necessary to reduce the
apparent combustion zone volume by half. Numerical
s i mulat i on showed the pressure test measured both
the combustion zone and a high mobility zone volum,
in the steam plateau in combustion. Walsh et al
showed that the steam zone volume was controlled by
a very large adiabatic compressibility due to steam
Messner and Williams
applied the pseudo-steadystate
method to steam injection falloff interpretation. A
notable result of their study was that it was
sometimes difficult to identify the correct pseudo-
Eggenschweil er et a l' observed that there was a
decades-long transi t ion zone between the i ni t hl
semi-log straightline for the swept zone and the
second semi-log straightline for the mobility of the
region ahead of the swept zone. As a result, they
concluded that it was likely that producing well
interference would preclude measuring the mobility
of the region ahead of the swept zone. However,
Barua and Horne considered computer regression
matching of thermal falloff data with the radial
composite model and concluded that both the mobility
and porosity-compressibil ity product in the swept
zone and ahead of the swept zone could be found as
well as swept zone radius, wellbore storage and skin
effect. This procedure was better for finding swept
volume than the Cartesian straightline method.
The results of Barua and Horne
because experience had shown it was often difficult
to identify the pseudo-steady line correctly. They
also showed comparisons between field data and
simulated data which were in remarkable agreement.
Thus, computer aided analysis by nonlinear re-
gression showed it was possible to find the mobility
ahead of the swept zone even though no semi -log
straightline was evident.
This observation was of critical importance to the
present study. The main objective was to determine
2 Steam Injection Well Falloff Analysis for Monarch Zone, MOCO Steamdrive SPE 24057
why steam injectivity was so poor in parts of the
Monarch zone steam injection project in the Midway
The steam drive project in question totals 60 acres
of five-acre five-spot patterns in the Monarch zone,
Midway Sunset Field. The formation is a shallow
anticline at depths from 800 to 1,000 ft.
The project was developed across the crest and
southern flank of the Moco 35 anticline, which is a
southeast trending structure with dips ranging from
fi ve degrees on the crest to 40 degrees on the
flanks. The oil gravity of the Monarch crude is 13
API degrees whil e the oil vi scosity ranged from
5,000 to 40000 cp at original reservoir temperatures
(viscosity variations and effects will be discussed
in a later section of this paper).
Prior to the startup of steam injection, oil
production averaged three to five BOPD/well. For 16
months of continuous steam injection, no significant
response was observed from the patterns across the
crestal portion of the steam drive. However, the
south flank patterns were performing well.
The poor crestal response was coupled with high
injection pressure and low injection volumes.
Cresta 1 injectors took 200 to 500 BSD feedwater
rates at 700 to 800 psi, while the south flank
injectors took 500 to 1,000 BSD feedwater rates at
200 to 400 psi.
Note: Permission to inject at the higher pressures
had been received from the D.O.G.
Downhole temperature observation data offered little
information on steam zone size or causes of low
crestal injectivity. To determine causes of the low
cresta 1 inject i vity trans i ent pressure testing was
performed across the steamflood project.
The main object i ve of the falloff tests was to
determine the cause of poor steam injectivity. Six
falloff tests were run in this study. Two different
types of response were observed. Both were
surprising and will be shown in the following. The
types of tests were observed repeatedly and thus are
not uni que occurrences. An example of each type
result will be discussed.
EQUIPMENT AND TEST PROCEDURE
The pressure surveys were run through the use of a
capillary tubing string filled with helium. The
tubing was lowered into the well and placed at the
middle of the perforated interval. A steam/liquid
separator was used to measure a stable steam
injection rate and quality.
Upon achieving a stable injection rate and pressure,
the well was shut-in. The bottomhole pressure
through a surface read-out transducer were
conducted. When sat i sfactory semi -log and 1 og-l og
plots were achieved, the test was terminated.
The shut-in time for ·the six falloff tests ranged
from 20 to 60 hours, with two to three hours of
injection rate measurement prior to shut-in.
WELL 'A' TEST
Well 'A' was a poor injector located on the crest of
the anticline. The reservoir and test data for this
well are presented in Table 1. Figures 1-3 present
a log-log pressure and pressure derivative graph, a
semi-log graph and a Cartesian graph for the Table 1
injection falloff data.
Both the 1 og-l og type curve and semi -log graphs
indicate that skin effect is not a reason for poor
injectivity. The semi-log and the Cartesian graphs
indicate an apparent straightline which should
contain the swept zone volume. However, the swept
zone size is of incidental interest here. If there
is no skin effect on the injector, and mobility is
high in the steam zone as shown by the small slope
of the semi-log graph straightline, then the
mobility ahead of the steam zone must limit injec-
tivity. The graphical straightline procedures of
Eggenschweiller et all are not useful here as there
is no second semi-log straightline evident. thus it
is necessary to use computer aided i nterpretat ion
with the radial composite model.
Both the Barua-Horne
and Kappa Saphir
programs were used and gave almost identical
results. The test analysis procedure was verified
through semi-log, log-log and Cartesian plot
computer matching. Results for Well 'A' are
presented in Table 2, and a graphical comparison of
field data and the program model are shown on Figure
3 and Figure 4. The simulated pressures were within
two psi of the measured fi e 1 d data. The semi -log
graph was also simulated and had an excellent fit to
the measured data.
WELL '8' TEST
Well B was a good injector located on the southern
flank of the anticline. The reservoir and test data
for this well are presented in Table 3. Figures 5,
6 and 7 present a 1 og-l og pressure and pressure
derivative graph, a semi-log graph, and a Cartesian
graph of the Table 3 data.
Both log-log and semi-log graphs indicate negligible
skin effect which could enhance or reduce steam
injectivHy. There is a surprising result in the
long-time results after one hour shut in. The Well
'B' pressure derivative log-log type curve continues
to decrease in Figure 5, while Well 'A' derivative
increases beyond one hour in Figure 1. The semi-log
graph, Figure 6, for Well 'B' shows no evidence of a
Pseudo-steadystate period following the semi-log
straightline (0.1 to 1 hours on Figure 6). The
Cartesian graph of Well 'B' data on Figure 7 appears
to curve smooth 1 y with no apparent pseudo-
steadystate straightline. Compare the pseudo-
steadystate rapid drop in pressure after the semi-
log straightline on Figure 2 after one hour with the
slight rise in pressure after one hour on Figure 6.
Al so, the pressure deri vat i ve increases after one
hour on Figure 1 for Case A, but decreases after one
hour on Figure 5 for Case B. The Well 'B' test
results presents a Case not ant i ci pated by
Eggenschwiler et a1
• The mobility of fluids moving
ahead of the steam front is higher than the steam
mobility in the swept zone.
made an exhaustive study of properties of
the radial-composite model leading to many
SPE 24057 Steam In.iection Well Falloff Analvsis for Monarch Zone MOCO Steamdrive
publications. Although he considered most apparent
combinations of mobility and storativity ratios, we
did not expect thermal oil recovery to 1 ead to
mobility ratios greater than unity across the steam-
The Saphir program
users manual published by Kappa
engineering, Paris, France (section 7) presents an
example of the effect of mobility ratio and
diffusivity ratio on the pressure derivative
plot. Figure 9 shows tne behavior of the pressure
derivative plots for mobility ratios of 0.1 to 10.
The Well 'B' pressure and pressure derivative graph
on Figure 5 resembles the low mobility cases on
Figure 9. This suggests several thoughts. The
pseudo-steadystate method proposed by Eggenschwiler
et all can not be used to find the swept volume for
such cases, but computer-aided interpretation with
regression and the composite model may permit
determination of all parameters. This was the case
for the Well 'B' test.
Test results for Well 'B' are presented in Table 4.
A graphical comparison of field data and simulated
results are shown on Figure 8. The simulated
pressures were within 2 psi of the measured data.
The semi-log graph was also simulated and had a near
perfect fit to the measured data.
Some of the data presented in Tables 1 and 3 require
discussion. The steam injection formation volume
factor was computed using specific volumes of
saturated 1 iquid and vapor and the injected steam
qua 1 i ty. Saturation pressure was taken from the
flat portion of the semi-log graphs, about 0.1 to 1
hours on Figures 2 and 6. The total adiabatic
compress i bil ity was evaluated for the steam swept
region by the method described by Walsh et all. The
net thickness was taken as the perforated interval.
DISCUSSION OF TEST RESULTS
As mentioned earlier, Well 'A' was a poor injector
located on the crest of the anticline. A mobility
ratio of 105 was calculated for this test. The
mobility ratio is defined as the inner zone mobility
divided by the outer zone mobility.
This is the expected result because the viscosity of
steam (see Tables 1 and 3) is very low compared to
oil viscosity. This sort of example is typical of
most steam injection falloff tests we've analyzed.
The Eggenschwiler et all method can be used to find
the inner swept zone volumes and properties. But in
this case, we reached the conclusion that steam
injectivity was limited by poor oil mobility ahead
of the steam front. Thus, it was necessary to use
computer-aided interpretation to obtain properties
of the region ahead of the steam zone. This is not
possible with the Eggenschwiler et all method.
It was found that the mobil ity ahead of the steam
zone was very low compared to good injectors located
down fl ank. The obvious reason for poor mobil ity
ahead of the steam-swept zone was high oil
viscosity. This steam injection project was located
in a zone which had a poor insitu combustion project
in the 1960's. It was suspected that oxidation had
increased in place oil viscosity on the crest.
Thus, oil samples were taken for viscosity
Project-wide testing of the oil viscosity indicated
a wide range of oil viscosities ranging from 5,000
cp to 300,000 cpo Two oil samples near crestal
steam injectors yielded viscosities above 100,000
cpo Next to these steam injectors (on the crest of
the anticline) an insitu combustion project had
existed. The above normal Monarch oil viscosities
resulted from low temperature oxidation of the crude
due to a poor burn.
The Well 'A' case is typical of most steam injection
falloff tests we've seen. We present this example
mainly to show that computer-aided interpretation
wi th the compos ite radi a 1 model wi th storage and
skin effect can provide a remarkable interpretation
of steam pressure falloff data. In almost all
cases, the difference between field pressures and
computed pressures from the composite model and
interpreted parameters was less than one psi for the
entire duration of the falloff test.
The low oil mobility ahead of the steam-swept region
found for Well 'A' was an unusual finding. The only
general result we wi sh to emphas i ze is that poor
injectivity is not always a result of a large skin
Well 'B' was a good south flank injector. The
producers on the southern flank of the project were
excellent and steam production was evident two years
after the project was started.
The Well 'B' example was found to be typical of
several good injectors in the project. The mobility
of the fluids ahead of the steam zone was five times
that of the steam in the swept zone. This was a
surprise. As a result, there was no obvious pseudo-
stead1state data in the test and the Eggenschwiler
et al method would lead one to suspect there was no
steam-swept zone. The strange pressure derivative
behavior sU9gested the low mobility ratio considered
by Ambastha. An important result is that computer-
aided interpretation yielded swept zone size and
composite system parameters even in this case.
A remaining question is how can the mobility ratio
be less than unity for steam injection? One
potential cause is the thickness of the steam zone
compared to the thickness of the oil zone ahead of
the steam zone. Because of gravity override, the
steam zone is probably less than 20% of the oil zone
thickness. Another factor may be rel ative
permeabil ity. Messner and Wi 11 i ams
lab data indicated that the relative permeability to
steam was only 10% in the swept zone. Although both
thickness and permeability effects are in the
direction of increased mobility ahead of the steam
zone, the low steam viscosity compared to any liquid
viscosity makes steam injection appear a high
mobility process. We can only say that we have seen
several examples like Well 'B' for other good steam
Steam Injection Well Falloff Analvsis for Monarch Zone MOCO Steamdrive
1. Computer-aided pressure falloff testing of the
steam injection wells in Monarch reservoir
yielded good insight to the reservoir
2. It was possible to determine the unswept zone
mobility, radius and storativity with
computer-aided pressure analysis.
3. Poor mobil i ty of the unswept zone was
determi ned to be the rna in reason for poor
steam injectivity in the crestal patterns of
the Monarch steam injection project.
4. Increased mobility ahead of the steam zone was
observed for several good injectors. It was
possible to interpret this kind of falloff
data wi th several computer programs for the
radial composite case, although the
Eggenschwiler et all pseudo-steadystate method
was not helpful.
The authors wish to thank the management of Mobil
Exploration & Producing U.S. Inc. for permission to
publish this work.
1. Eggenschwiler, M., Satman, A., Ramey, H. J.,
Jr., and Cinco-Ley, H.: "Interpretation of
Injection Well Pressure Transient Data in
Thermal Oil Recovery," SPE 8908, presented at
the 50th Annual California Regional Meeting,
SPE of AIME, Los Angeles, California, Apr. 9-
2. Onyekonwu, M. 0.: "Interpretation of Insitu
Combustion Thermal Recovery Falloff Tests,"
Ph.D Thesis, Stanford Univ., California, 1985.
3. Walsh, J. W., Jr., Ramey, H. J., Jr., and
Brigham, W. E.: "Thermal Injection Well
Falloff Testing," SPE 10227, presented at the
56th Annua 1 Techn i ca 1 Conference and
Exhibition, SPE of AIME, San Antonio, Texas,
October 5-7, 1981.
4. Messner, G. L., and Will iams, R. L.:
"Application of Pressure Transient Analysis in
Steam Injection Wells," SPE 10781, California
Regional Meeting, San Francisco, California,
Mar. 24-26, 1982.
5. Barau, J., and Horne, R. N.: "Computerized
Analysis of Thermal Recovery Well Test Data,"
SPE 12745, California Regional Meeting, Long
Beach, California, Apr. 11-13, 1984.
6. Saphir User's Manual, Section 7, Kappa
Engineering, Paris, France, 1986.
7. Ambastha, A. K.: "Pressure Transient Analysis
for Compos ite Systems," Ph. D. Thes is, Stanford
Univ., California, 1988, page 45.
WELL At RESERVOIR AND TEST DATA
STEAM FORMATION VOLUME FACTOR,
TOTAL ADIABATIC COMPRESSIBIUTY,
INJECTION RATE FEEDWATER
TIME - PRESSURE DATA
WELL A, TEST RESULTS
PERMEABIUTY TO STEAM FIRST ZONE, md
MOBIUTY RATIO, ZONE1 TO ZONE 2
DIFFUSIVITY RATIO, ZONE 1 TO ZONE 2
SWEPT ZONE RADIUS, Ri FT.
WELL B, RESERVOIR AND TEST DATA
STEAM FORMATION VOLUME FACTOR,
TOTAL ADIABATIC COMPRESSIBIUTY,
INJECTION RATE, FEEDWATER
TIME - PRESSURE DATA
WELL at TEST RESULTS
PERMEABIUTY TO STEAM FIRST ZONE, md
MOBIUTY RATIO, ZONE1 TO ZONE 2
DIFFUSMTY RATIO, ZONE 1 TO ZONE 2
SWEPT ZONE RADIUS, Ri FT.
SPE 2405 7.
. . .
........ . ..
. .. -.
-- +- .. -. .-
10 -3 10 -2 10 -1 10
10 1 10
Figure 1 - (Well A) Pressure difference and derivative log-log type curves.
Figure 3 - (Well A) Cartesian graph of falloff
0_010 0.100 1.000
SPE 2405 '1
Figure 2 - (Well A) Semilog Graph of Test Data
~ - I - ~
~ t..- ...
. ~ .. 1-.". .... _____
10 -3 10 ·2 10 ·1
Figure 4 - (Well A) Pressure Difference and Pressure Derivative Type Curve
Figure 5 - (Well B) Pressure Difference and Pressure Derivative Type Curve
0.010 0.100 1.000 10.00
Figure 6 - (Well B) Semilog Graph of Test Data
10 -3 10 -2
Figure 7 - (Wen B) Cartesian Graph of Field Data
Figure 8 - (Well B) Comparison of field data and simulated results
from computer-aided interpretation.
10 2 ,--------,-------,--------,-______ ,-______ -, ______ --,
1 0 ~ L-______ -L ______ ________ L-______ -L ______ ______
10 -1 10 0 10 1 10 2 10 3 10 4 10 5
Figure 9 - Effect of Mobility Ratio on Shape of Pressure, S = 0,
CD = 1000, Mobility = Diffusivity Ratio = 1 D. 2, .5, .1.