Abstract

A transition zone (TZ) from oil to water formed by capillary force beneath traditionally defined producing oil-water contact (OWC) has been well-known for years. Recent research and production activities in the Permian Basin and the Williston Basin in United States suggests that a residual oil zone (ROZ) may exist below traditionally defined OWC under certain geologic and hydrodynamic conditions. If this ROZ is sufficiently thick and extensive, it may be economically recoverable using tertiary recovery techniques. We have investigated possible occurrences of TZ/ROZ in the Williston Basin, southeast Saskatchewan, using well-log interpretation based on Archie’s equation. Out of 33 pools examined, we have evaluated three areas, the Bellegarde Tilston pool area, an unnamed Souris Valley pool, and the Rosebank Alida pool area, as possibly having thick (up to 47 m) low-oil-saturation TZ/ROZs below the OWCs. Evidence includes oil stains, core-based oil saturation, fluorescence on drill cuttings, and oil shows and sulfur water reported in drill stem tests. The oil in place within the possible TZ/ROZs is estimated to be approximately half the amount of the oil within their associated main pay zones. Tilted OWC and other findings may suggest that the identified oil-bearing zones are ROZs related to hydrodynamics. The hydrodynamic flows may also have created some other ROZs that still remain undiscovered.

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