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A new technology uses seismic pulses to mobilize oil left behind in reservoirs. Developed by Applied Seismic Research Inc. (ASR), Plano, Tex., the In Situ Seismic stimulation (ISS) creates elastic waves of high-energy (up to 10 Mw) and low frequency that dislodge immobile oil droplets and cause oil films to coalesce.
The ISS tool increased oil recovery by as much as 30%, as shown by production from wells in the Lost Hills field in California. In another trial in the Strawn sand in Texas, the tool improved the injectivity index of wells that were as far as 1 ½ miles away from the well with the ISS tool.
The tool is designed for continual service as a source of stimulation, with expected required replacement and maintenance comparable to a conventional tubing pump under similar wellbore conditions. Typically, the tool is most effective in reservoirs having a relatively low GOR and a high degree of heterogeneity. The process does not appear to depend on reservoir rock type, depth, or wettability.