American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Green Methodologies to Test Hydrocarbon Reservoirs

Francesca Verga and Vera Rocca

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2010.1.10

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 6, Issue 1

Pages 1-10


Problem statement: The definition and the economic viability of the best development strategy of a hydrocarbon reservoir mainly depend on the quantity and type of fluids and on the well productivity. Well testing, consisting in producing hydrocarbon to the surface while measuring the pressure variations induced in the reservoir, has been used for decades to determine the fluid nature and well potential. In exploration and appraisal scenarios the hydrocarbons produced during a test are flared, contributing to the emissions of greenhouse gases. Approach: Due to more stringent environmental regulations and a general need for reduced operating expenses, the current industry drivers in today’s formation evaluation methodologies demand short, safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly test procedures, especially when conventional tests are prohibitively expensive, logistically not feasible or no surface emissions are allowed. Different methods have been proposed or resuscitated in the last years, such as wireline formation tests, closed chamber tests, production/reinjection tests and injection tests, as viable alternatives to conventional well testing. Results: While various short-term tests, test procedures and interpretation methods are apparently available for conducting successful tests without hydrocarbon production at the surface, clarity is lacking for specific applications of these techniques. An attempt to clarify advantages and limitations of each methodology, particularly with respect to the main testing target is pursued in this study. Specific insight is provided on injection testing, which is one of the most promising methodology to replace traditional well testing in reservoir characterization, except for the possibility to sample the formation fluids. Conclusion/Recommendations: Not a single one method but a combination of more methodologies, in particular injection testing and wireline formation testing, is the most promising strategy to achieve all the targets of a conventional well testing with no surface hydrocarbon production, increased safety during operations and reduction of the testing costs.


© 2010 Francesca Verga and Vera Rocca. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.