Chemical EOR: The Screening, Design, Implementation and Monitoring of Projects Production and Operations Reservoir Description and Dynamics

Alistair Fletcher


The aim of this 2-day course is to present a comprehensive summary of the current concepts and application of chemical EOR. The course covers the principles of chemical EOR with alkali, surfactants, polymers, and salinity variation. The screening, design, timing, implementation, and monitoring of chemical EOR projects is then developed.

The principles of chemical EOR include the generation of ultra-low interfacial tension for microscopic displacement and the use of viscosity to improve areal sweep and conformance. The screening of reservoirs for appropriate chemical EOR processes—together with essential reservoir characterisation needed for chemical EOR—is developed. Systems concepts are introduced in order to illustrate how chemical EOR approaches can be designed and implemented in conjunction with laboratory and reservoir studies.

Chemical EOR systems studied include:

  • Polymer (P) for mobility or conformance control
  • Surfactant and polymer (SP)
  • Alkali and polymer (AP)
  • Alkali, surfactant, and polymer (ASP)
  • Brine salinity and hardness variation for EOR

The design of a pilot together with the simulation of chemical EOR processes is discussed in detail—with emphasis on defining the criteria of success. The importance of integration of facility design with subsurface knowledge is stressed. Project timing and the possibility of chemical EOR as a secondary (as opposed tertiary) process is addressed. Project implementation issues are discussed with reference to several case studies, and the key role of project monitoring and surveillance is stressed and illustrated.

This course places great emphasis on identifying and mitigating risks and uncertainties associated with chemical EOR. The reasons why some past projects failed are analysed with the aim of ensuring future applications do not repeat basic mistakes—as sometimes occurred in the 1980’s. Emphasis is also placed on the need for and value of integrated tear approaches.

Introduction and Fundamentals of Chemical EOR

  • Chemical EOR processes and chemical systems;
  • Reservoir characterization for EOR—risks and uncertainties

Screening and Laboratory Focus

  • Chemical system design—surfactants, polymers, alkali and salinity variation
  • Process robustness and learning from past successes and mistakes

Pilot Design, Timing, and Modeling

  • Criteria of success and how can we model chemical EOR in the field?
  • Robustness, flexibility and the Importance of a team approach

Project Implementation, Surveillance and Monitoring, and Future Trends

  • What has been done in the field—successes and failures?

Learning Level

Advanced (or Intermediate)

Course Length

2 Days

Why You Should Attend

Attendees will learn the principles of chemical EOR and its application in the field. Key concepts explained and illustrated are the fundamental chemical EOR processes, screening criteria and reservoir characterisation for chemical EOR, design of chemical systems including salinity variation as an EOR approach, simulation of chemical processes and pilot project design, facility design, timing and project implementation, and surveillance and monitoring in the field. Attendees will learn the importance of a team approach and communication between disciplines, together with the need to actively manage risk and uncertainty in chemical EOR projects.

Who Should Attend

  • Reservoir engineers
  • Petroleum engineers
  • Production engineers
  • Facilities engineers
  • Asset managers who are considering, or are interested in, chemical EOR applications in the field


1.6 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) will be awarded for this 2-day course.


Peter Aird Alistair Fletcher has been working as a consultant through his own company Parr Systems International Pty. Ltd. for the last seven years. Since October 2012, Fletcher has been working with Azuren-EOR (The Netherlands) as Project Manager and EOR Specialist. He is an experienced petroleum engineer, program/project manager, risk and uncertainty assessor, researcher, and research coordinator. He has thirty years experience with the interfaces of business and academia, and science and engineering.

Fletcher started his career with BP Research and BP Exploration, where he spent 10 years developing and then leading the chemical EOR team. During this time, he was involved with the Forties surfactant EOR project, and the development/application of chemical EOR systems for in-depth profile control systems. From 2004 – 2007 he was an Associate Professor in the Nanochemistry Research Institute (NRI) at Curtin University of Technology—focusing on oilfield chemistry and EOR. Prior to this, he spent fifteen years researching and applying new reservoir engineering concepts, together with application of risk and uncertainty analysis in the oil industry, at CSIRO Petroleum and PSTI (a UK based research institute).

In addition to EOR /IOR, Fletcher has been active in the areas of oilfield chemistry, flow assurance, fluid-rock interaction, core flooding, gas condensates, wettability, uncertainty, decision-making, risk analysis, complex systems, and nanotechnology.