I have been working in the petroleum industry for more than 35 years now. As I reviewed papers for this feature, I reminisced about a couple of events in my early career. First, as I was looking through petroleum journals, an article on the pending oil shortage caught my interest. The author outlined how, at current or increasing production rates, current development scenarios, and current prospective of new discoveries, oil production would soon peak. Thus, with increasing oil demand, a world oil shortage was imminent. The author did not believe there were any significant unexplored oil-bearing regions that could arrest the upcoming demise. This article was written in the early 1920s. This was not the last such article in the last 100 years. The combination of technology advances and world politics results in oil supply-and-demand cycles that have occurred repeatedly over the past 100 years and that have affected and will continue to affect our careers.
Second, about the same time 30 years ago, I was taught a timely lesson. As we were forging ahead in carbon dioxide (CO2)/oil/brine phase-behavior research at reservoir conditions, I was explaining some of our advances to a company colleague. He had been with the company for about 20 years, and I was delighted that he seemed so interested as he listened and asked pertinent questions. He then related how he had worked in an earlier enhanced-oil-recovery group that had been disbanded because of low oil prices. The irony of this was that I had not known of the existing corporate knowledge in my area of research. If I had, it would have saved some time, advancing our work.
These events both show the importance of documenting work and reviewing the literature. Not only knowledge of recent advances, but a historical perspective is important for significant advances in the industry. I commend SPE for its many conferences and other forums for technology transfer and for the conference policy of “no paper, no podium.” This is not the case in many scientific and engineering societies. This policy provides volumes of information that would otherwise not be publicly documented and also a multitude of manuscripts from which papers for peer review can be selected.
Papers related to CO2 applications in the literature this year covered a variety of topics from nanolevel investigations to full-scale field development, representing the international extent of SPE and including subjects such as reservoir fracturing, enhanced oil recovery, and carbon storage. The following pages summarize four articles that highlight activities related to CO2 applications. These articles represent the variety, advances, and constants that continue in the use of CO2 to improve petroleum-industry results.
Recommended Additional Reading
SPE 169967 The Study of CO2 Flooding of Horizontal Well With Stimulated Reservoir Volume in Tight Oil Reservoir by H. Wang, China University of Petroleum, et al.
SPE 171967 Complex Phased Development for CO2 EOR in Oil Carbonate Reservoir, Abu Dhabi Onshore by Luis Figuera, ADCO, et al.
SPE 172108 Making Gas Carbon Capture and Storage a Reality by R. Assaf, Shell, et al.
SPE 173283 An Efficient Optimization Technique Using Adaptive Spectral High-Dimensional Model Representation: Application to CO2-Sequestration Strategies by Kurt R. Petvipusit, Imperial College London, et al.
Reid B. Grigg, SPE, Director, New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center
01 July 2015
US Energy Department R&D Funding To Include Conventional, Shale EOR
The projects are designed to reduce technical risks in enhanced oil recovery and expand application of EOR methods in conventional and unconventional reservoirs.
In recent years, some effort has been made to use EOR techniques, particularly CO2 injection, to extract additional oil and gas from unconventional resources. This has the potential to change the dynamics (again) of oil production from these tight and difficult reservoirs.
One of my best moments is to have made the technical case for polymer flooding and to see the fruits of this several decades later. As is so often the case in our industry, my contribution stands alongside those of many others in the intervening years who have all made the EOR journey possible.
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