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Carbon Dioxide May Offer An Unconventional EOR Option

As the daily oil output of the Bakken and Eagle Ford formations rose toward 1 million B/D, researchers were seeking a way to push the ultimate recoveries in these formations, where producing 6% of the oil in the ground is now considered good.

One line of attack on the problem is using carbon dioxide (CO2) to get more oil from tight formations where rapid production declines are the norm.

In laboratories at the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota and at Texas A&M University, experiments have shown that carbon dioxide circulated around a small sample of source rock can remove a significant amount of oil. Now, the scientists are trying to understand how it works and if those lab results can be applied in the real world.

“It is incredible what CO2 can do,” said John Harju, associate director for research at the EERC, while describing the center’s research program at the annual CO2 Flooding Conference in Midland, Texas.

“The really big prize is (overcoming) the innately low recovery rate in these shale plays,” said David Schechter, an associate professor of petroleum engineering at Texas A&M University who is turning his expertise in conventional enhanced oil recovery to unconventional reservoirs.

While laboratory results normally show much higher recovery than field results, even a 1% improvement of recoveries in the Bakken formation could yield more than 1 billion bbl of oil, according to an EERC paper.

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Carbon Dioxide May Offer An Unconventional EOR Option

Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

01 February 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 2

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