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SPE 35309

Society of Petroleum Engineers

Twenty Years of Gas Injection History into Well-Fractured Haft Kel Field(lran)
Ali M. Saidi, SPE
Copyright 1996, Society ofPetrolemn Engineers.

side of the Dezful embayment. The first oil producer well

in Haft Kel was completed to a depth of 3363 ft in 1928
with an initial production rate of about 5700 stb/day. A
plateau rate of about 200 000 stb/d was maintained for
several years, before the field was shut down during 1950
to 1954. Its production dropped to about 14000 stb/d in
1976. Gas was injected in this field in June 1976, at a rate
of 400 million scf/d.
Since then several old watered out oil producers have
worked over and some new wells have been drilled. The
present field production is over 35 000 stb/d from several
wells, with a fairly constant oil column thickness.
Haft Kel field is probably one of the best example of oil
producing well-fractured reservoirs in the world. Its 68
years of history with several years of shut in period. well
documented fairly uniform areal and vertical pressures,
fluid levels, gas and oil productions, and gas injection
histories with each water and gas invaded zone of about
1000 ft, is a desirable and interesting example in reservoir
simulation study.
Oil recovery by gas-oil gravity drainage of over 60% was
measured in low permeability and low reservoir pressure
fractured limestone Fahud field in Oman(2). The
preferentially oil-wet matrix blocks in this field consist of
long vertical slabs with some short horizontally oriented
micro fractures. The measured residual oil saturation of
about 30 to 35% in several Fahud's wells, corresponds to
the laboratory measured values in several Iranian limestone
core samples, as shown in the capillary pressure curve used
in the original Haft Kel simulation model study( I).
The low permeability matrix fractured reservoirs, with a
gas-oil interfacial tension of over 3 dynes/em, produced at a
low pressure drop rate, do not at all follow Muskat's(3)
solution gas drive theory. That is, a small gas
saturation develops in the oil column, even when the
reservoir pressure is considerably below its initial bubble
point pressure. If thermal convection-diffusion processes
exist in a reservoir a negligible gas saturation develops in
the matrix under the above mentioned conditions.
In fact there is more oil losses, due to oil shrinkage, in
the oil zone than a small critical gas saturation develops in
the oil and gassing zones.

This paper was prepared for presentation at the international Petrolemn Conference & Exhibition of
Mexico held in Villahemosa, Me.xico, 5-7 1996.

Titis paper was selected for presentation by the SPEProgram in Committee following review of
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have not been reviewed by the Society of Petrolemn Engineers and are subject to correction by the
autl10r(s). The material, as presented, dose not necessarily reflect a~y position .of the Society. of
Petroletun Engineers or its members. Papers presented at SPE mee~gs are subject to publicalio_n
review by Editorial Committee of the Society of Petroleum Enguteers. Penmssmn to copy IS
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Librarian, SPE, P. 0. Box 8333 836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836 U.S.A., fax 01-214-952-9435.

Gas injection into Haft Kel field was started in June 1976
at a rate of 400 million sefid, when its oil production
dropped to about 14 000 stb/d with an oil column thickness
of about 110 ft. The reservoir pressure was increased from
about 1100 psi to about 1410 psi, at the crest. Both wateroil and gas-oil contacts were smoothly moved down shortly
after the start of gas injection. The oil column thickness
was gradually increased to about 350 ft with water-oil
contact at about 2650 ft sub sea and has become nearly
stationary after about nine years. The present field
production is about 35 000 stb/D.
Haft Kel field was simulated using specially developed
reservoir simulation model described by Saidi(l). Its
history was successfully matched using : 1- Gravity
drainage and imbibition. 2- Full block to block interaction
process. 3- No capillary continuity between blocks. 4Thermal convection in fractures and diffusion between
fracture oil and that in matrix blocks, during both natural
depletion and repressuring. Through these processes, gasoil ratio (GOR) could be correctly and rigorously matched
during natural depletion, with a decreasing produced GOR,
and that during repressuring with a higher but a constant
producing GOR.
The field behavior confirms oil drainage takes place
under practically no capillary continuity but under full
block to block interaction.
In addition, the present field behavior confirms the
results of an early reservoir simulation study, estimating
that approximately 500 million stb of exira oil could be
recovered by gas injection' under the conditions: !Reservoir pressure reaches 1412 psi at the crest. 2- Wateroil contact reaches its initial depth of 2087 ft depth. 3- 50 ft
final oil column thickness. If the reservoir pressure could
be further increased to 1512 psi, nearly an extra 100
million stb of oil could also be recovered. The calculated
water displacement efficiency, supported by field
measurements is about 17%, whereas the calculated gas
displacement efficiency, at a reservoir pressure of 1512 psi
at crest, is about 32%.

Reservoir Characteristics
Haft Kel Asmari is a strongly folded anticlinal structure
about 32 km long and varies in width from 2.5 km to 5 km
at the original water oil contact (WOC). The folding of the
Southwest flank is somewhat steeper than that of the
Northeast flank due to the north-eastern direction of the
thrust which caused the folding. The structural
configuration of the top of the Asmari limestone is
presented in Figure 1. The original GOC in the main
central dome was at l 015 feet sub sea, and the average

Haft Kel field is located in the foot hills of the Zagros
mountain some 100 km east of Ahwaz city and on the east

original woe of the two flanks was at about 3087 feet sub
The fissured Asmari limestone is the principal producing
formation of the Iranian fractured reservoirs. The Asmari
limestone of Oligo-Miocene age is overlain by the Fars
deposits of Miocene age which act as a seal for the
reservoirs. The actual cap rock is predominantly anhydrite
with a thickness of 80 to 140 feet. Asmari formation has
approximately 900 ft thickness, based on estimated true
thickness in six wells.
It is believed that hydrocarbons after an upward
migration to the Asmari formation, migrated southeastward, filled Naft Safid (NIS), then overflowed upstructure into Haft Kel and Mamatain. Haft Kel and NIS
are connected through a saddle and are in full pressure
communication, as shown in Fig. 2.
The originally oil contained 325 ft section of the lower
Eocene, and 185 ft middle Cretaceous, down to the original
water oil contact has probably contributed to oil production
in Haft Kel. However, due to the small size of these two
reservoirs combined with very poor porosity and .
consequently poor water displacement efficiency, their
contribution may not be significant.

for this reservoir. The average water oil capillary pressure

curve calculated for average reservoir rocks is given in Fig.
4 , p. 766 of Reference (1).
Based on all mercury injection data available on the
Asmari core samples from this and four other fields, and
proper conversion factor (cr go/ crair, Hg), a gas-oil
capillary pressure curve was constructed. A crcos8 = 375
dynes/em is usually used for mercury-air surface tension.
The weighted average gas-oil capillary pressure curve is
also shown in the above Fig. 4 of Ref. (1).
Water-Oil & Gas-Oil Relative permeabilities. The average
relative permeabilities calculated from water flood tests on
six samples from well N 55 conducted at reservoir
conditions, mentioned above, are given in Fig. 5, p. 766 of
Ref. 1.
The average relative permeabilities calculated from gas
injection tests on nine samples taken from well N 28
conducted at room conditions are shown also in the same
Fig. 5.
Oil in-Place. The most probable oil in place used for Haft
Kel, Asmari formation, is about 7.24 109 stb in the matrix
rock and 197 x 1o6 stb in the fissures. However, during
field history matching a value of 6.9 109 stb was found to
give a better match.

Block Size. One of the most promising method to get a

reliable block size distribution in fractured reservoirs is
usually through flow meter surveys run in the producing
wells, and cores taken from the same wells. The flow meter
surveys show the intersection of only open fractures with
t11e well bore. The degree of discontinuity caused by
smaller fractures is uncertain and they would not be
detected by flow meter surveys. However, with the aid of
cored sections of the wells, in which the sealed fractures
can be easily located, the distance between sealed or open
fractures can be measured. The block size measured by the
above metl10ds in Haft Kel varies from 8 to 14ft.
This range of block size coincides with the values
calculated from the log interpretation of the several water
invaded wells, as well as those measured in the nearby
-outcrops. An example is given by (Fig. 4, page 54 of
Ref.(l) which shows some typical block heights in well
Permeability. Full scale permeability (K), porosity(~), and
water saturation (Sw) study of all core data available from
all wells was used to develop a correlation between these
three parameters. The above correlation was essential for
any reservoir study. Due to insufficient permeability data
from Haft Kel a wider limit was allowed in history
matching than the other parameters.
The range of matrix block permeability used in the final
reservoir simulation study was from 0.05 to 0.8 md. It
should be mentioned that the vertical and horizontal
permeability seem to be approximately equal in t11is field.

Reservoir temperature. The average temperature at 1015

feet sub sea, i.e. at the original GOC, is l10F and 123.5F
at 3087 feet sub sea, which was the original WOC. The
average temperature gradient in this field is about
0.66F/100 feet. However the temperature gradient in the
lower 1000 feet of the oil column is about 0.9F/100 ft,
whereas in the upper 1000 ft is about 0.40/100 ft, as
shown in Fig. 3. This indicates a thicker and/or a more
frequent fracture present in the upper part, smaller block
size, as compared with the lower part of the reservoir. The
average temperature gradient in an unfractured Asmari
formation is about 1.4/100 ft. This together with high
fracture permeability in this field indicate that there is a
strong convective motion in the fracture system.
The presence of fracture system in fractured reservoirs
with a sufficiently high vertical permeability, can cause a
high convective fluid velocity due to the geothermal
gradient. Such high fluid velocity in fractures takes the
heat from its surrounding matrix rocks and eventually
releases at the top of the structure. Under such conditions,
the temperature gradient in fractured reservoirs has a lower
gradient than conventional reservoirs in the same region.
Therefore, the higher convective velocity results in a lower
geothermal gradient. Very low temperature gradients are
measured in some Kirkuk wells (see p. 781 of Ref. 1),
indicating either high frequent fracture system and/or caves
in the vicinity of the wells.

Water-Oil & Gas-Oil Pes. Results of capillary pressure

tests on six samples from well N 55 conducted at reservoir
conditions, 2 000 psig and 110 F, indicated a small
spontaneous imbibition for all six cores. An average of 5%
spontaneous imbibition was considered a reasonable value

Fluid Properties
A considerable number of fluid analyses are available for
Haft Kel. They indicate lack of any significant variation of
fluid properties with depth. The measured bubble point
pressure of many samples, taken from different depths are



shown in Fig. 4. The higher bubble point pressure at a

lower depth is due to the local temperature, corresponding
to about 5 psi/F0 This is attributed to the continuous
convection processes taking place in this well fractured
reservoir. The average oil gravity is about 37 API with an
average composition given in Table II, p. 768 of Ref. 1.
A plot of the original saturation pressure versus sampling
temperature indicated a saturation pressure of 1412 psig at
II 0 F which is the average temperature of individual wells
at 1015 feet sub sea. Based on the temperature profile
mentioned above and using the original specific oil gravity,
the original saturation pressure and the static pressure
profile is determined. The original bubble point pressure is
then calculated to be 1412 psi at 1015 ft sub sea or zero
depth. .
In Haft Kel, the estimated original oil column is
approximately 2 087 ft, from the crest, representing a static
head of 680 psi and a temperature difference of 13.5 F.
Therefore the P.V.T. relationship of the reservoir fluid
varies with the variation of temperature with depth. The
P.V.T. data for the GOC is given in Tables III, p. 768 of
Ref. 1.
Analysis of gas-cap is given in Table IV p. 768 of Ref. 1.
From this Table a gas specific gravity of .641 (air= 1) was
calculated (49.017lb/mscf).
The Asmari water specific gravity, based on numerous
measurements is approximately 1.2 at 60 F (74.914
lb/cu.ft). The water formation volume and compressibility
factors used in this reservoir are 1.1002 RBbllstb and 3 x
w-6 psi- I at 1750 psig and ll6 F, respectively.

110 ft was pushed do'\;Vn below the available producers by

gas injection. The yearly oil production rate is plotted in
Fig. 6
Gas Oil Ratio (GOR)
The measured GOR of Haft Kel field dropped from the
original value of approximately 420 scflbbl to about 300
scf/bbl in 1976. During the same period the reservoir
pressure at GOC dropped from 1 412 psi to about 1 120 psi
at about 1000 feet below the original GOC. The average
yearly GORis plotted versus time in Fig. 5. The produced
GOR increased from 1951 - 1957 following the rise in the
reservoir pressure.
This indicates that the produced oil has followed the
composition of oil at the prevailing GOC bubble point
pressure very closely. The produced GOR which followed
almost the solution GOR at the prevailing GOC, while the
reservoir was producing over 200 000 bbls per day,
indicates that the thermal convective motion in this
reservoir is very effective. Therefore the matrix blocks in
the gassing and in the oil zones were always surr6unded by
oil with a solution gas of the gas oil contact.
Diffusion Coefficient
The final over all effective diffusion coefficient used in the
final reservoir simulation study of this field was 0.0025
feet/day corresponding to 2.67 x w-5cm2/sec. This value
seems somewhat larger than actually expected. However
the above effective diffusion coefficient gave a better match
on produced GOR. Therefore, it is possible that the average
radius of cylindrical blocks, which were taken equal to the
height, is actually smaller.


Tension. The interfacial tension between

equilibrium oil and gas was measured under different
pressures but constant temperature (ll6F). The variation
of the interfacial tension with pressure is given by the
following equation :

History of Haft Kel's Reservoir Studies

The on-shore upstream oil operation within the South
Eastern Iranian territory was handled by a Consortium
named IOE&PC, composed of the famous seven sisters,
TOTAL-CFP, and five independent American Oil Cos.,
during 1954 to 1973. In 1954 a team of five well known
Reservoir Engineers. from B.P., Shell, Exxon, Mobil, etc.
came to Iran and reviewed the major Iranian fractured
limestone reservoirs. One of their fmdings was(4): "In the
Iranian fields, .... gravity drainage may be small. The
dominant reservoir mechanisms in these fields are then
believed to be : dissolved gas-expansion from the matrix
into the fissures". It is clear from these statements that the
Reservoir Engineering knowledge in the fifties was limited.
In a sense they believed in Muskat(3) type solution gas
drive mechanism, while they could not really believe in
gravity drainage in low permeability matrix rocks.
In 1959 the first reservoir simulation model was written
for the Iranian fractured reservoirs by W. A. Bruce(5), of
EPR. The reservoir was divided into blocks with known
geometry surrounded by fractures. Gravity drainage and
imbibition were calculated by some sort of transfer
functions. The other mechanisms were calculated based on
the techniques known at the time. The more recent version
had also oil-oil diffusion option. This model was
exclusively used by the IOE&PC staffs.

cr (at any pressure)= cr (at Pb) (3.62 - 2.76 x w-3 p + 6.5

x w-7 p2)
The interfacial tension at bubble point pressure of 1412
psi and 116 F is about 9 dynes/em.
Reservoir Data
Up to the mid-fifties the reservoir pressure was measured in
all the Iranian reservoirs with extreme care and with as
much accuracy as the methods available at the time
allowed. For more details see Ref. 1, p. 770.
The history of reservoir pressure (at a datum of 1050 ft
sub sea) gas-oil contact, water-oil contact and produced
GOR from 1928 are plotted in Fig. 5. The average gas-oil
and water-oil contact histories are also plotted as a function
of time in Fig. 5. Haft Kel's oil pressures at GOC (zero)
and woe (2087) ft depths were 1412 and 2092 psig
respectively. Note the pressure rise from 1951 to 1955 due
to greatly curtailed oil production from the field.
Oil production reached over 200 000 stb/d shortly after
oil production started in 1928. The rate of oil production
was decreasing gradually since 1961. The production from
this field stopped in 1980, when the oil column of about

Haft Kel and Agha Jari fields were studied under

different hypotheses, using the above mentioned simulator.
All these studies were shown that water injection in these
fields give a much higher recovery than that of gas
injection. Other independent studies were also made by
Core Lab.(6), Watson(7), Tehrani(8), and Myhill(9)on Haft
Kel field. They all confirmed that water injection in Haft
Kel results in a much higher oil recovery than that of gas.
Tehrani's study was made based on statistical and
regression analysis of the oil in place using material
balance between water influx and reservoir voidage caused
by fluid production and changes in reservoir's fluids and
rock volumes. From his best estimated water influx and oil
in place, and measured water-oil contact, he calculated
water displacement efficiency, on year by year interval, in
water invaded zone. He calculated a very low original oil
in-place, and thus a very high water displacement
efficiency. He has later published the above approach(8),
though it was shown earlier (10) that the form of the
material balance equation he used is not necessarily
On the other hand all the studies and calculations made
by NIOC's team, during Sixties, showed that gas injection
into Haft Kel field gives a much higher recovery than
The above major difference between the parties was lead
to make a large investment on several basic laboratory
research and field research experiments. The laboratory
research work was mainly consisted of solution gas drive
mechanism, residual oil saturation under gravity drainage,
water-oil capillary pressure under reservoir conditions,
effective diffusion coefficient measurements, etc. The field
research studies were mainly consist of: 1- Logging several
long time water invaded wells in Haft Kel, to estimate the
final water saturation and its variations with time. 2- Over
hundred bottom hole samples were taken from different
wells in Gachsaran field to measure their bubble point
pressures, as the reservoir pressure was dropping during
1964-1970. This was aimed to find the relationships
between the changes in the bubble point pressure at
different depths and distances from the prevailing gas-oil
contacts. The bottom hole depth, at which samples were
taken, was always above the initial bubble point pressure of
2650 psi at the initial gas oil contact. Only portions of
some of the above studies were published.
The results of all the above laboratory and field research
efforts have been in the direction of a higher gas
displacement efficiency than water in the Iranian fractured
During 1964-65 eight watered out wells, for some 25
years, were logged with an aim of measuring water
saturation profiles of the Asmari formation. Only Neutron
log was used as a porosity tool, since it was claimed that
the standard Sonic tool was too heavy for the crane set up
available at that time. Logs were interpreted by the Sr.
Petrophysicist(ll) in early 1965. However, neither the
results of the study nor the final report was not released.
The main reason for that was, the interpreted water
saturation was lower than the values calculated in different
reservoir simulation studies.

Among the above logged wells, HK 26 was completed in

at about 300 ft below the original water oil contact
(observation well). Log calculated oil saturation below
woe in this well, indicates large remaining residual oil
saturation in the Asmari formation.
Capillary Continuity
One of the very important issues in studying a fractured
reservoir, is to investigate the presence and the degree of
capillary continuity. This is because, if a fair degree of
capillary continuity exists in a fractured reservoir, the
process of secondary recovery, by gas injection, reduces to a
simple extra recovery by swelling the remaining oil in
place in that field. Whereas, if there is physically no
evidence of capillary continuity, then the effect of pressure
on interfacial tension becomes an important parameter in
the secondary oil recovery. However, it would not be easy
to guest the presence or the absence of this process during
the early reservoir history.
Analysis of the long Haft Kel's history, clearly indicates
that physically there is no capillary continuity present in
this field. This conclusion is based on the following
observation and analyses :
a) To history match oil production from this field, with a
formation thickness of about 900 ft. and a gas invaded zone
of about 1000 ft, was found to be dependent of matrix
block's threshold height, in all the Haft Kel reservoir
simulation studies. Therefore, it strongly suggests that very
little to no capillary continuity exists in that reservoir. This
was particularly true when prediction was made on
different portion of the actual history of the field.
b) If capillary continuity existed in Haft Kel field during
its natural depletion of about 50 years, a gas displacement
efficiency of over 50 % should have been observed prior to
1976. This is because, a 900 ft. continuous formation with
the best known Pc would have yielded over 60 % recovery.
While, the best estimated oil recovery by gas from blocks of
about 10 ft. is about 26%. This issue is schematically
shown in Fig. 8.
c) During 1968 to 1976, when the oil column thickness
was fairly constant at about 110 ft. the oil production
from the field was drastically dropping down from 90 000
stb/d to about 14 000 stb/d. In fact the drainage time of a
matrix block in Haft Kel is about 8 years. If some kind of
partial capillary continuity had existed in this field, the oil
production rate would have dropped at a much lower rate
than the actual rate.
d) The present oil production after reservoir's
repressuring could not be all from oil swelling, since the
reservoir pressure was increased by about 300 psi, with a
difference of FVF of about 0. 03. In fact, the cumulative
field oil production from 1986 is already larger than the
total possible swelled oil in the gas cap. Its maximum value
is bout 3x109 x 0.03 = 90x10 6 stb, though the swelled oil in
the gas cap flows with a poor relative permeability and
could not have been all produced by now.
e)- Nearly all the cores taken from the fractured
limestone reservoirs around the world, show that the
horizontally oriented fractures are mostly filled with
impermeable materials; and the open fractures are mostly


vertically oriented. Detailed log interpreted well logs taken

from different Haft Kel's water invaded wells, clearly show
the Asmari formation consists of stacks of discontinuous
blocks. One of the examples is reported in Fig. 4, p. 54 of
Ref. 1. Therefore, oil drained from a block flows to the next
blocks mainly through the vertical fractures. Under such
conditions, no capiilary continuity would be physically
expected in such reservoirs.

Thermal Convection in Fracture System

One of the important processes taking place in a vertically
oriented fractures, having an intrinsic fracture permeability
x height /viscosity of more than 100 darcy-meter/cp, is a
convective fluid movement, due to the existing temperature
gradient in reservoir. In Haft Kel field with average
fracture permeability of over 50 000 darcy and fracture
height of over 100 meters etc., a turbulent convective fluid
movement exists in this field. Such a strong movement
causes to continuously circulating the gas-oil contact oil
through the entire oil column. Consequently several
processes have been develop in Haft Kel that othenvisc do
not take place in a conventional reservoir. They arc
1- Fluids produced from the matrix blocks will be mixed
with the fluids in fractures and is transported to the gas
cap. Therefore, fluids eventually reaching producing wells
have gas-oil contact's oil composition.
2- The field GOR follows the solution GOR of the gas-oil
contact oil. This behavior has been seen in Haft Kel's GOR
history. Tha~ is, as Haft Kel's reservoir pressure was
decreasing its GOR was also decreasing, and during shut
down period and since its repressuring its GOR increased
to the corresponding pressure levels.
3- When the oil of gas-oil contact has diiTcrcnt
composition from the oil in the matrix blocks, gas diffusion
takes place between the two different oils. If the reservoir
pressure is declining, the excess gas in the matrix blocks
diffuses out and eventually is released at the gas cap.
Conversely, when reservoir pressure is increased, the gas
cap gas is transported down to the oil column, in solution
form, and diffuses into matrix blocks. During the first case
the matrix oil shrinks and during the latter case the matrix
oil swells.
4- Similarly gas-gas diffusion takes place between
different gases in fractures and in matrix blocks, if the
iryection gas has different composition from the host gas.
5- If the reservoir pressure is declining, and the resenroir
has a gas cap, the convective process delays the process of
solution gas drive.
The above processes should be included in any fracture
reservoir study of this type, otherwise it would not give a
meaningful result. The above processes are discussed by
Saidi (I) in detail.

Haft Kel's Hydrodynamical Behavior

Haft Kel field is exceptionally in full pressure
communication with its neighboring (NIS) field through a
water leg, as shown in Fig. 2. The initial reservoir pressure
in these fields, at a given datum correcting for different
fluid columns, had similar values. Fluid withdrawal from
one of the fields causes pressure drop in the other one. The
initial Haft Kel pressure at the water-oil contact of 3087 ft
sub sea was close to 2092 psi. NIS's initial pressure at its
water-oil contact of 5600 ft sub sea was close to 3370 psi.
Therefore, NIS's initial pressure was about 500 psi higher
than Haft Kel's initial pressure at its water-oil contact
At the present time the reservoir pressure at Haft Kel's
crest is kept constant at about 1400 psi, with an oil column
thickness of about 300 ft., and a rather stationary water-oil
contact at 2690 ft. sub sea. As may be noted, the present
water-oil contact, in Haft Kel, is about 440 ft higher than
its original water-oil contact. This difference has two
distinct sources: a- The initial oil column is replaced by a
gas column of about 1500 ft, which corresponds to a
pressure difference of about 330 psi less than its initial oil
column's pressure. b- NIS's reservoir pressure has dropped
and its water oil contact has moved up due to oil and gas
production from the field. Therefore, the present oil column
position is related to the existing hydrodynamics between
the two fields. The present Haft Kel oil column thickness is
related to the difference between oil drainage rate and the
production rate from about 400 ft of the formation, as
shown in Fig. 8.
The geostatic pressure in Haft Kel and NIS fields are
respectively 0.5 and 0.7 psi/ft at their crests. Therefore, it
seems feasible to further producing NIS's gas cap gas for
injection into Haft Kel field, to increase its pressure to
1510 psi at the crest.
Over 250 miiiion stb of oil could be recovered from the
remaining 440 ft. of water invaded zone, between the
initial and the present water-oil contacts if the reservoir
pressure remains at 1412 psi, estimated from reservoir
simulation study. However, this is only possible, if the
present Haft Kel water-oil contact is pushed down by about
440 ft. This could be achieved by a combination of
increasing Haft Kel's reservoir pressure and decreasing
NIS's reservoir pressure totally by about 175 psi. Of course
this could be achieved in several steps with the necessary
observations. Under such conditions, a total of about 600
miilion stb of oil could be recovered from the field. About
470 million stb of the oil recovery is due to the capillary
pressure reduction and the remaining 130 million stb is due
to the residual oil swelling effect.

Development of a Fully Integrated Numerical

After understanding some of the basic and fundamental
processes of solution gas drive, fluid flow through matrixfracture system, mass transfer between fracture and matrix,
and having more accurate capillary pressure - block height,
it was found necessary to develop a reservoir simulation
model to be able to study Iranian fractured reservoirs. A
special fully integrated finite difference multicomponent
numerical simulator was designed. In this simulator, the'
actual fracture pressure and the fluid levels, are read as the
boundary conditions of the grid blocks, assuming full
vertical equilibrium of each phase in fracture system.
Therefore as the pressure and gas-oil and water-oil contacts
are read as the input data, the remaining matching


not even correctly calculate gravity drainage in fractured


parameters would be gas, oiL and water productions. It

should be mentioned, this is the only published reservoir
simulation model in which the matrix grid cells in contact
with fracture cells are solved with the designated boundary
conditions, as discussed by Saldi ( 1) in details. The
presently available multy processors hardwares are best
adaptable to this type of formulation. The process of
diffusion of different phases between matrix and fracture
and between matrix grids, as well as the process of bubble
point pressure depression, described in Ref.(1) {p. 710) are
also incorporated. This simulator was coded mainly by A.
D. Modine oflntercomp in 1971.
In the first version, the diiTerential equations were
solved, using IMPES formulation Saldi (12). With this
formulation the model could not handle the process of
block to block interaction. In about 1974 when the fully
implicit formulation became available in the market, the
simulator was up graded to a f11lly implicit one, and block
to block interaction can be simulated. One of the
application of this type of simulator is when simulating
certain laboratory experiments with a given precise
boundary conditions.
A special material balance between the gas moving up to
the gas cap, from the oil column or gassing zone, due to
gas diff11sion and/or solution gas, and the gas requirement
in the gas invaded zone, is incorporated in model. It is
through this technique that the diffusion coefficient and/or
the critical gas saturation can be adjusted to have a correct
volume of gas transferred to the gas cap.
To reduce the number of calculating grid blocks, the
matrix blocks are represented by cylinders, since it requires
far less number of grids than a 3-D cubic block
It is worth mentioning, that the effect of pressure on
interfacial tension, and thus on Pc, was not taking into
consideration in any reservoir study before 1972. During
the early attempts of Haft Kel's history matching, while
progressing with trial and error varying certain parameters
such as block height, Pc, porosity, etc. within a limited
interval to get a match, it was noticed that the calculated oil
production is increasingly higher than the actual. When the
input data was changed to match the latter part of the
history, the calculated oil production was increasingly less
than the actual values. It was due to this consistent
observations that the real role of pressure on interfacial
tension was recognized for the first time and included in
the reservoir simulators in 1972. By incorporating this very
important parameter in the simulator, it was possible to
match the entire history of this reservoir, as shown in Fig.
6. This improvement has been used by the Industry since its
publication in 1975.
To include the processes of thermal convection in
fracture system and diffusion between oil and/or gas in
fracture and those in the matrix blocks, during both natural
depletion and repressuring, was a challenging task in the
development of a rigorous reservoir simulation model
during early seventies. The development of a rigorous
reservoir simulation model at the present time is felt more
than ever and is a vital issue, particularly when the
presently available commercial dual porosity models could

Simulation of Haft Kel Field

In most Iranian fractured reservoirs tl1e pressure, gas-oil,
and oil-water contacts are fairly uniform within different
reservoir's sectors. In Haft Kel field the pressure and gasoil contact are very uniform throughout the entire reservoir.
However, water-oil contact in the northern and southern
flanks are different by a approximately a constant value,
throughout its history. The main reasons for the uniform
pressure and contacts in this field are low production rate
and being well fractured.
Therefore two stack of blocks each of about 2100 ft
containing the oil in place in fracture and matrix of the
north and south flanks were sufficient to represent the
entire field. Only two rock types were used in this study.
Each matrix block was divided in two areal and rndial
grids. The horizontal fractures were divided into two radial
grids and the vertical ones into one radial grid. The sectors
are communicating through large fracture grid net work
with a defined transmissibility.
A fine to gross grid relationships were developed,
through a simple pseudo relative permeabilities and pseudo
capillary pressures, to insure a correct fluid transfer
between matrix blocks and fractures and the oil
displacement from each blocks. The presence of a fracture
between the blocks is necessary to insure that block to block
interaction is fully integrated in the model. For this reason
about 5000 simulation grids were required for this study.
This set up is schematically shown in Fig. 9.
Each stack of blocks is composed of about 210 blocks of
8 to 14 ft, which corresponds to the initial gas and oil
columns and the aquifer. As may be noted the reservoir is
divided into about 640 vertical grids which is not a
standard practice in reservoir simulation modelling.
Through such technique, gravity drainage, imbibition, and
diffusion processes can be accurately simulated in fractured
With a set of data for each rock type, composed of matrix
and fracture porosity, permeabilities in R and Z, block
height, water-oil and gas-oil capillary pressures, relative
permeabilities, reservoir fluid properties, compressibilities,
etc., and reservoir history composed of pressure, contacts,
and different fluid productions, Haft Kel's production
history was matched as shown in Fig. 6.
This was done by varying the less known parameters as
well as the better known parameters. Among these
parameters, matrix permeability, porosity, block height
capillary pressures, fracture volume versus depth, diJTusion
coefficient, etc.
Porosity and permeability of the 900 feet thick Asmari
generally decrease with depth throughout the entire area of
the field. For this reason Haft Kel's structure was visualised
as a layered reservoir with constant porosity and
permeability for each layer throughout its 155 square km
area. In this fashion if rock properties at a given depth had
to be changed, the rock properties of the entire layer was
changed. This was the only way to simulate this reservoir
properly otherwise, the long past history of this field could

have been matched with any combinations of the

parameters mentioned above.
The produced GOR of the reservoir was easily matched
by adjusting the effective oil-oil diffusion coefficient in the
oil producing zone below the gas oil contact. In other
words the volume of gas in solution in the oil column was
adjusted with respect to the prevailing GOC so that the
necessary volume of gas that needed to be transferred to the
gas invaded zone was satisfied, as discussed in P. 436 of
Ref. 1.
Another unique feature of Haft Kcl field's history. is the
four years of nearly shut down period, during Iranian oil
Nationalization, after nearly 20 years of production history.
The validity of the first 20 years of history match can be
tested by predicting the four years shut down period
followed by another six years. This is why Haft Kel field is
an excellent example for testing dual porosity reservoir
During this period, the reservoir pressure increased by
about 79 psi and the gas oil contact rose by about 120 feet,
was a tremendous help in better estimating the fracture
volume within the 1 605 - 1 725 feet depths. This gave a
fracture volume of nearly 100 000 bbls/feet corresponding
to 2.35 % of oil in-place and about 0.10 % of the net rock
volume. ,

Haft Kel's Producing Mechanisms Since


Producing mechanisms during or since repressuring arc

essentially the same as those took place during natural
depletion. However, the pressure dependent processes are
taking place in the opposite directions. These mechanisms
and processes are:
a- Gravity drainage at approximately a constant
interfacial tension and reservoir pressure. The same
mechanism was taking place at, at increasing interfacial
tension and decreasing reservoir pressure during natural
b- Oil swelling in the present gas invaded zone due to the
increase in reservoir pressure. Oil 'shrinkage was the
process during natural depletion in the gassing and oil
c- Oil swelling in the present oil zone through thermal
convection-difTusion processes. Oil shrinkage in the oil
column was t11e results of the inverse of the same processes
during natural depletion. The diffusion coefficient finally
used in the simulation model was 0.0025 ft2/day, for the
average cylindrical blocks of 10 ft high and 10 ft in
diameter, during both natural depletion and since gas
injection. This diffusion coefficient was calculate based on
the required gas in the gas invaded zone, in order to satis~v
the pressure and gas-oil contact level imposed as the
boundary conditions during the natural depletion.
Elimination of the diffusion process drastically reduces gas
displacement efficiency in the gas invaded zone. An
example of this processes is analytically demonstrated in
Ref. 1, pages 426- 441.
d- Oil imbibition is taking place within the oil column,
replacing the water entered the blocks, through water-oil
gravity drainage mechanism, during natural depletion.
e- Oil gravity drainage from the partially saturated blocks
within the gas invaded zone (before 1976), is due to oil
swelling and the reduction of capillary pressure. This is
rat11er a slow drainage process.
f- Veryf little gas-gas diffusion is taking place between
the injection and the host gases. This is because, the NIS's
gas composition is close to that of the Haft Kel gas cap.
Therefore, little mass transfer is taking place between the
oil and the new gas mixture.
g- Oil gravity drainage from the fully oil saturated blocks
in the 110ft oil zone (before 1976) and the blocks between
that and the present gas-oil contact (see Fig. 8c). The
present production from the field corresponds
approximately to the drainage rate from the above
mentioned stack of 40 blocks, all are surrounded by gas.
The slow drainage rate from such a tall and separated
blocks is due to the block to block interaction.shown in Fig.
8The fluid saturation distribution during initial time, end of
natural depletion(1976), present time (1996), final
conditions at 1412 psi, and final conditions at 1512 are
schematically shown in Fig. 8.

Haft Kel's Behavior Since Gas Injections

Gas from NIS's gas dome was injected at a rate of about

400 million sefiD into Haft Kel's gas cap in June 1976 for
nearly three years, until the reservoir pressure reached to
about 1400 psi. All the producers were gassed out and oil
production was totally seized from the field in less than
three years time. The oil column movement was observed
through measuring gas-oil and water-oil contacts every two
weeks. The oil column was moving down, while it was
expanding from its original thickness of about 110 ft. The
reservoir pressure at the datum of 1050 ft sub sea was also
dropping, due to reduction of the water column and
increase of the gas and oil columns. Therefore, gas was
injected every so often to maintain the reservoir pressure at
1400 psi at the crest.
It took nearly nine years before the oil column became
rather stationary. For this reason the drilling and/or
recompeletion of the old watered out wells were delayed
until mid-eighties. As the newly formed oil column is
totally within once water invaded depth, it was felt that
perhaps the produced oil may contain a small percentage of
supersaturated formation water. For this reason a 10"
pipeline was also laid between Haft Kel and a Maron field
production unit, for desalting process. However, up to the
present time oil produced from Haft Kel contains less than
10 lb. per 1000 stb of oil, which does not require desalting.
The field was finally put back on production on 1987
with a presently producing rate of over 35 000 stb/d at
nearly constant oil column thickness of about 300 ft, and a
new cumulative oil production of over 100 million stb by
end 1995.

Oil Recovery by Gas Injection

The analysis of the initial reservoir data and the gas-oil and
water-oil capillary pressure and their relative permeability
measurements, as well as the large investments made on

field and laboratory research work such as solution gas

drive, imbibition, gravily drainage, convection-diffusion,
mechanisms and simulation model development, and
beyond all "the insistence", etc. during Sixties and early
Seventies lead to recognize the superiority of gas
displacement efficiency over water in the Iranian fractured
limestone reservoirs. Only the extra oil recovery from Haft
Kel field has far paid off for the tens of million dollars
spent on the above mentioned projects. Application of these
findings on Iran's over 450 billion stb oil in-place can
.greatly improve her producing reserves.
The present position of gas-oil contact in Haft Kel field is
about 400 ft below the gas-oil contact in 1976. This means
that the gas-oil contact in fracture system moved down
rapidly, surrounding matrix blocks located between 1000 to
1400 ft depth. corresponding to about 40 vertical blocks.
Oil draining from these blocks is collected in the oil
cohum1 through block to block process.
If the present water-oil contact remains stationary about
200 million stb of oil could be produced from these blocks
and about 140 million stb from the blocks within the initial
gas invaded zone. If however, the present water-oil contact
is pushed down to the original water-oil contact of 2087
depth, or about 440 ft below the present depth, an extra
minimum 200 million stb of oil could be also recovered. In
this calculation an abandonment oil column of about 50 ft
is allowed. Therefore a total of over 500 million stb of oil
could be recovered, if the reservoir pressure is kept at 1412
psi, and woe is kept at 3087 ft sub sea.
Further if the reservoir pressure could be increased to
1512 psi, another 100 million stb of oil could be also
recovered. It should be emphasized that if the reservoir
pressure could be increased to 1512 psi, it would be very
advantageous to take this action as rapidly as possible.
More over, if the water-oil contact could be pushed down
by about 50 ft below the original water-oil contact, the
recoverable oil wi~hin the last 50 ft could also be produced.
The calculated water displacement efficiency, supported
by field measurement is about 17%, whereas the calculated
gas displacement efficiency is about 32% if the reservoir
pressure could be increased to 1512 psi at crest.

b- Swelling of the residual oil in the gas invaded zone and

that in the oil zone.
5- If the reservoir pressure, at the crest, remains at I~ 12
psi and tl1e present water-oil contact will be pushed down
to and kept at the original water-oil contact, approximately
an extra 500 million stb of oil could be recovered from this
6- Because a block height of about 10 ft corresponds to
the average transition portion of the capillary pressure. in
Haft Kel's matrix blocks, a higher reservoir pressure could
substantially increase oil recovery from this field.
7- If the reservoir pressure could be further increased by
100 psi, about 100 million stb of extra oil could be also
recovered. That is, a total of about 600 million stb of oil
could be recovered from tl1is field under the stated
8- The developed reservoir simulation model rigorously
simulates various processes take place in such reservoirs.
and can correctly predict their future performances.
We would like to thank National Iranian Oil Company
(NIOC) for their permission of publishing this paper.
1. Saidi, A.M.: "Reservoir Engineering of Fractured
Reservoirs", TOTAL Edition Presse, Paris (1987).
2. O'Neill, N. :"Fahud Field Review: A Switch From
Water to Gas Injection in Fahud Field (Oman)", SPE
paper 15691.
3. Muskat, M. :"Physical Principles of Oil Production",
MacGraw Hill Book Co. Inc., N. Y. (1949).
4. Graham, W. J., Heterington, G., Old Jr., R. E., and
Tuman, V.: "Effect of Production Restriction on Iranian
Oil Reservoirs", Proc. of the Fourth World Pet.
Congr.(1955), Section II/E, paper 8.
5. Bruce, W. A : "Mathematical Model for the Simulation
of the Behavior of a Petroleum Reservoir", Model Mark
6. Core Lab. Inc. :"Reservoir Engineering Study, Haft Kcl
Iran", 2 volumes, 1962.
7. Watson, J. P. et al. :"Simulation Model Studies of the
Haft Kel Asmari Reservoir", IOE&PC, 1966.
8. Tehrani, D. P. :"An Analysis of Volumetric Balance
Equation for Calculation of Oil In-Place and Water
Influx", JPT (Sep. 1985), P. 1664.
9. Myhill, N. A :"A Feasibility Study of Water and Gas
Injection in the Haft Kel Reservoirs, Iran", Report EP42536, E&P Shell International, The Hague, 1971.
10. Old, R. J. Jr., Saidi, A.M., and Zarghami, M. S.
:"Analysis of Statistical Methods Used in Studying
Reservoir Behavior", SPE paper 3725. presented at the
First European Meeting, 1972.
11. Verhuf, J. : "Water Displacement Efficiency in the Haft
Kel Field", IOE&PC Report, MIS, 1965.
12. Saidi, A M. :"Mathematical Simulation Model
Describing Iranian Fractured Reservoirs and its
Application to Haft Kel Field", Proceedings 9th World
Petroleum Congress, Tokyo (1975).

The following conclusions can be drawn from Haft Kel's
long reservoir history, field observations, reservoir
simulation studies, and their analyses :
1- Block to block process controls the oil drainage flow
rate from the matrix blocks.
2- The oil drainage performance in the field follows that
of stacks of discontinuous blocks, supporting practically no
vertical capillary continuHy between the blocks.
3- Inclusion of convection-diffusion processes is a must
to study this type of reservoirs. Otherwise, gas transfer
between the gas cap and oil zone, as well as matching
producing GOR, would be incorrectly replaced by other
4-. Field repressuring by gas is the most efficient
secondary recovery mechanism in Iranian fractured
limestone reservoirs. The main processes are: a- Reduction
of capiflary pressure by reducing gas-oil interfacial tension.



20000 FEET


Fig-I- Structural and fluid levels ofHaft Kel field (IRAN).







... 2000
... 3000




-~ 4000










' ' ........... __, / I









Horizonal direction





Fig-2- Regional cross section between Naft Safid and Haft Kel fiels in NW-SE direction

'' ' '


! -1500




...... ~





ic. -2500
~ -3000

-1--- - - - f-.---











--- --- ~








-3250 _.___ ____,_ _ _-l.._ _ _...J..__ __ _ j


Pressure, PSIG

Fig-3- Temperature variation with depth in Haft Kel field


Temperature, F

Fig-4- Original satm:_ation pressure and static

pressure vs depth in ~aft Kel field.




~ I-...



Gas OiJC ntact





f.-- i--""""




~ ~~









- ,.,......- - -











No prodl ction



r ''


Ga sOil


We ter Oi Cont ~ct


Presli ure




















Fig-S- History of pressure, Gas-Oil, Water-Oil contacts and GOR ofHaft Kel field.




















1000 ~
























Fig-6- Yearly and cumulative oil production ofthe Haft Kel field.



Fig-7- Schematic repesentation of oil

recovery from stack of blocks; without
capillary continuity (a) and with capillary
continuity (b)

Initial Conditions

June 1976








Economic Limit
1512 psi

Economic Limit
1412 psi

Present Time





















Fig-8- Schematic representation of fluid saturation distribution during initial time (a), natural
depletion (b), present conditions (c), final conditions at 1412 psi (d), and final conditions at
1512 psi (e).

North Flank

Rock Type 1


Rock Type 1


Fig-9- Schematic representation of Haft Kel field with two sectors and stacks of two rock
types in reservoir simulation model.