observations are the geologic foundation for the Reservoir Class Program. Because the physical properties of a reservoir are coupled to the nature and scale of heterogeneities affecting fluid flow, DOE believes that successful demonstrations of advanced or conventional technologies in a given reservoir in a class should be applicable to other reservoir systems in the same class. This is particularly important because of the small number of demonstration projects compared to the large number of fields.

The broad acceptance of reservoir classes has allowed DOE to organize and access its Tertiary Oil Recovery Information System (TORIS) data base to support the Reservoir Class Program. The TORIS database recognizes that reservoirs range from simple to complex based on depositional processes. DOE has used the TORIS database to quantify remaining oil in place in different classes and has given priority in funding to classes with the greatest potential to improve oil recovery (Figure 2.1).

While the DOE Reservoir Class Program has a clear mission to apply the results of a project to other reservoirs in the same class, the projects generally do not define how that will be accomplished. The project results will be made available to industry through the requirements of technology transfer, but other operators or consultants must determine if the results can be applied to other fields.

Findings and Recommendations


The reservoir class concept provides an acceptable scientific basis for classifying reservoirs and organizing the Reservoir Class Program. The concept provides a useful framework for DOE to target specific classes that have the greatest potential for improved oil recovery. It also emphasizes the importance of reservoir genesis and characterization so that effective technologies may be transferred to other reservoirs in the same class. Despite its usefulness as an organizational tool, however, the reservoir class concept does not consider all reservoir properties that affect oil recovery. The importance of fractures, in particular, is not recognized in the reservoir class concept. Strict adherence to the reservoir class concept during project selection may also result in the exclusion of particularly meritorious projects because they do not belong to the class being solicited or they belong to a class that is not likely to be solicited in the future.


The DOE should continue using the reservoir class concept as a basis for organizing the Reservoir Class Program.

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