Since the last time I wrote for this feature, enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) activities around the world have been steadily increasing, meaning that the unusual crises our industry has been going through did not kill EOR. Instead, activities have expanded. For sure, current conditions have had some effect on how we see EOR, and, amazingly, with few exceptions, it has been positive. Current conditions have made most companies decide to optimize performance of their existing assets, and EOR is a key part of that. After all, optimizing is an ordinary ingredient of cost control. It is also worth adding that unconventional oil, which, for many, was the reason for the current crisis, is a big reason for the expansion of EOR. The unconventional producers are very keen on increasing recovery from their assets. Therefore, while enhancements on drilling and hydraulic fracturing will continue, it is expected that the next big wave will start when EOR becomes an integral part of unconventional development.
The EOR papers I have had the privilege to review this year truly support these observations regarding the state of the industry. Novel EOR schemes, advancements in reservoir characterization leading to better insights into the recovery processes, and new physics and modeling techniques all demonstrate the high level of interest in EOR among operators, academia, and research organizations.
In closing, I have to remind myself that we have been waterflooding since the 1930s and the fundamental EOR schemes (i.e., chemicals and CO2) have been with us since the late 1960s. Low-salinity and hybrid schemes have been growing during the past 10 years, and we are getting better at establishing conformance controls such as foams and thermally activated polymers. If we also add the inclusion of completions and EOR-specific monitoring technologies to the enablers, it is easy to anticipate that more and more EOR will be considered a normal part of field optimization.
SPE 181156 Viscosity vs. Accuracy—Flow-Control-Feasibility Work Flow in Polymer Flooding by Kousha Gohari, Baker Hughes, et al.
SPE 184086 Simulation of Chemical EOR Processes for the Ratqa Lower Fars Heavy-Oil Field in Kuwait: Multiscenario Results and Discussions by M.T. Al-Murayri, Kuwait Oil Company, et al.
SPE 180208 Effects of Multicomponent Adsorption and Enhanced Shale Reservoir Recovery by CO2 Injection Coupled With Reservoir Geomechanics by S. Yang, University of Calgary, et al.
SPE 180875 Effectiveness of Low-Salinity- and CO2-Flooding Hybrid Approaches in Low-Permeability Sandstone Reservoirs by H.T. Kumar, Texas A&M University, et al.
EOR Performance and Modeling
Omer Gurpinar, SPE, Technical Director of Enhanced Oil Recovery, Schlumberger
01 January 2017