Date of Award

Fall 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering (MSPE)

Committee Chair

Susan Schrader

First Advisor

David Reichhardt

Second Advisor

Larry Smith


The Turner Valley gas and oil field was discovered in 1913 and it was one of the main plays that sparked the growth of the petroleum industry in Canada. The Turner Valley formation is a Mississippian reservoir located at a mean depth of 7,546 feet. It is a heavily faulted field, 25 miles in length with an average width of 2 miles and is located 30 miles south-west of Calgary. It is an asymmetric anticlinal structure cut by the y axis with parallel thrust and normal faults.

Due to its early inception and the lack of resource development regulations, Turner Valley was produced without conservation. Most of the gas was flared as a result of the desire to produce naphtha as quickly as possible. At current conditions (2015), there are approximately 1.3 billion barrels of oil in place that are unable to be recovered through a primary drive due to the field’s lack of energy.

A structural model of the field has been built and characterized with the purpose of evaluating if nitrogen injection as an enhanced oil recovery method is economically feasible. The model was history matched to field production from 50 wells and nitrogen injection as pressure maintenance was simulated. Three nitrogen cases have been run, varying in the number of injectors, and the results have been analyzed and compared on an economic basis with the “do nothing case”.

In the first case a single well was converted from a gas producer to a nitrogen injection located at the crest of the gas cap with the remaining gas producers being shut in. The second case also assigned a single well to nitrogen injection at the top of the gas cap but left the remaining gas producers open to flow. The final case that was run converted six wells, located in the top half of the gas cap to nitrogen injection and shut in the remaining gas producers.

Economics were run at a discount rate of 10% and were evaluated at oil prices of 40$/bbl, 60$/bbl, and 80$/bbl. Nitrogen injection proved to be economically viable as an enhanced oil recovery mechanism at an oil price of 80$/bbl with the second case being the most attractive alternative. Although the NVP at 60$/bbl was positive, the value was too low to warrant a recommendation to apply a nitrogen injection method with the present project parameters. A price of 40$/bbl resulted in a negative NPV and therefore nitrogen injection in Turner Valley at such a low oil price should not be attempted.


A thesis paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering Montana Tech 2015