A rapid and inexpensive process for increasing the amount of hydrocarbons (e.g., oil) produced and the rate of production from subterranean hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs by displacing oil downwards within the oil reservoir and into an oil recovery apparatus is disclosed. The process is referred to as "gas-assisted gravity drainage" and comprises the steps of placing one or more horizontal producer wells near the bottom of a payzone (i.e., rock in which oil and gas are found in exploitable quantities) of a subterranean hydrocarbon-bearing reservoir and injecting a fluid displacer (e.g., CO.sub.2) through one or more vertical wells or horizontal wells. Pre-existing vertical wells may be used to inject the fluid displacer into the reservoir. As the fluid displacer is injected into the top portion of the reservoir, it forms a gas zone, which displaces oil and water downward towards the horizontal producer well(s).
The development of this invention was partially funded by the Government under grant number DE-FC26-02NT15323 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.