Marietta College professor receives patents for hydrocarbon recovery methods | News, Sports, Jobs


MARIETTA – A Marietta College professor and two other inventors have received U.S. patents for two procedures that increase hydrocarbon recovery in shale and sandstone reservoirs.

Ahmed Algarhy helped develop the innovative methods with Mohamed Soliman from the University of Houston and Lloyd Heinze from Texas Tech University. The patent filings were filed four years ago.

“Hydrocarbon recovery from conventional and unconventional reservoirs is very low,” said Algarhy, who joined Marietta College’s petroleum engineering faculty in 2018.

The hydrocarbon recovery factor for conventional reservoirs is typically between 5% and 15% after primary recovery and between 35% and 45% after secondary recovery, he said. The hydrocarbon recovery factor for organic shale reservoirs is typically between 5% and 10%, and about 70% of hydraulic fractures created in these reservoirs do not produce, Algarhy said.

The first strategy, called Complex Toe-to-Heel Flooding, increases oil recovery from sandstone formations under specific reservoir conditions. Toe-to-heel flooding is an improvement over conventional toe-to-heel water flooding and uses gravity segregation to increase the rate of oil production and total oil recovery, Algarhy said. .

The second completion strategy, Optimized Zipper Frac, increases hydrocarbon recovery from organic shales. Organized Zipper Frac is an improvement over Zipper Frac, Alternate Fracturing, and Modified Zipper Frac, as it uses balloon fractures to create stress shadows that minimize stress anisotropy and thus maximize complexity and production rate at proximity to the borehole, Algarhy said.

“A horizontal well completion method known as slide fracturing has been rapidly adopted over the past 10 years by companies in the United States. Instead of drilling and hydraulically fracturing one well at a time, the zipper method involves drilling multiple wells from a buffer site and then hydraulically fracturing one step into a well, while preparing for the next, because the cable and punch operations take place in another, ” Algarhy said. “The multi-well completion method derives its name from the zipper-like configuration of the fracture stages of wells drilled with relatively tight spacing.”

Many companies in the United States use the completion method on nearly every new pad site they drill into, saving tens of millions of dollars annually while accelerating the development of their well inventories.

“But the jackpot may be that slide fractures increase initial production and estimated ultimate recovery rates when designed in such a way that fractures stimulate as much reservoir volume as possible,” Algarhy said.

Algarhy worked in the design and implementation of hydraulic fracturing from 2003 to 2014 before having the chance to complete his doctorate in petroleum engineering at Texas Tech.

“I wrote a proposal to Dr. Soliman, who is now head of the petroleum department at the University of Houston, and Lloyd Heinze, a professor at Texas Tech, and we agreed to develop these two new techniques as part of my Ph.D. D. work,” Algarhy said. “Both of these techniques help increase oil and gas recovery and thereby help secure more hydrocarbons for the United States and make our country more energy independent.”

Algarhy, director of PioPetro, a nonprofit educational project, hopes the procedures will help the United States achieve energy independence one day.

An assistant professor, Algarhy teaches production and completion, geomechanics, and unconventional reservoir evaluation and development. Algarhy received the 2021 Regional Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty in the Eastern North America Region.

Algharhy holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Texas Tech, a Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering, a postgraduate degree in Natural Gas Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from Cairo University (Egypt). He has over 11 years of experience in the oil and gas industry with operating and service companies that focus on hydraulic fracturing, geomechanics, and unconventional reservoir evaluation and development.




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