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Enhanced Oil Recovery
for
Small Producers?
Reid Grigg
Senior Engineer
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center
RPSEA Forum
Small Producer Needs
December 15th.
Albuquerque, NM
EOR Target is big & moving in the USA
¾ Oil
remaining in US reservoirs has been increasing.
¾ Increased from 350 to 390 Billion Barrels in the last ten years
¾ This is due to production, exploration, and exploitation
¾ Recoverable oil remain ~ constant (reserve replacement)
¾ ~ 20 Billion Barrels.
¾ US production is about 2 Billion Barrels/year
¾ Unrecovered oil is about twice all oil produced to date.
¾ We know where it is, so what is next?
EOR vs IOR
Enhanced Oil Recovery methods inject something
besides brine into the reservoir to increase oil
recovery (chemicals, gas, heat etc).
Improved Oil Recovery methods are anything else
that is done beyond conventional methods to
increase oil recovery.
We need both!
Business and Workforce
Considerations?
• Need an EOR champion
• Effective interdisciplinary teams and
communication
• Outlook for US workforce in EOR is pessimistic
– 50% retirement in next ten years
– Status of DOE funding and graduate level support
– Significant lead time required
Funding for EOR
– High-risk, long-time research has had
significant government funding in the past with
the benefit of producing a trained workforce
– Research is about managing risk and the more
research the less risk, but not all research
produces economically feasible results
– The importance of E&P R&D is not always
appreciated
EOR “recovery methods”
– Chemical flooding
• (ASP, surfactant, polymer, etc.)
– gas flooding
• (CO2, N2, air, hydrocarbon, etc.)
– Thermo flooding
• (steam, hot water, in situ combustion, etc.)
– and so on
Number of USA EOR Projects
250
# Projects Chemical
# Projects Thermal
# Projects Gas
Number of Projects
200
150
100
50
0
1980
1984
1988
1992
Year
1996
2000
2004
USA Production from EOR
Production Rate [1,000 bbl/d]
800
700
600
Chemical
Total Production
Thermal
Gas
500
400
300
200
100
0
1980
1984
1988
1992
Year
1996
2000
2004
Thermal
Pros/Cons
Smaller projects possible (economy of scale?)
Mostly shallow reservoirs
High perm
High viscosity
Low API gravity
High recovery
Chemical
Pros/Cons
Smaller projects possible
Location
Significant advances outside US
No pressure limited
Perm not limiting
Moderate - low viscosity
Moderate to high API gravity
Reservoir dependent
Availability of chemical systems
Oil absorption
Salinity sensitivity
Temperature sensitivity
Chemical
Future
New products that can be taken off the shelf
Cookbook approach
Gas/Miscible
Pros/Cons
Economy of scale – distribution system
Location (source gas)
Moderate pressures required
Perm not limiting
Moderate to low viscosity (high viscosity immiscible)
Moderate to high API gravity (low API immiscible)
Significant industry experience
Gas/Miscible
Future
Global warming concerns will probably result in CO2
availability, improved monitoring, separation etc
GHG (greenhouse gas) sequestration
Economic source
Group of reservoirs to justify a distribution system
N2 is not location sensitive
Pipeline Cost
20
1000
18
900
cost/mile*10000
cents/MCF
MMCF/D
Cost $10,000/mi
14
800
700
12
600
10
500
8
400
6
300
4
200
2
100
0
0
0
5
10
15
20
Pipe Diameter [in]
25
30
35
Flow Rate [MMCF]
16
Coal Gasification
Ammonia
Plant
Big Piney
McElmo Dome
Sheep Mountain
Enid Plant
Bravo Dome
Jackson Dome
Developed Natural Source
Undeveloped Natural Source
Waste Gas
Oil Recovery Projects
Delivery Pipelines
Gas Plant
US CO2 Projects,Sources, and Distribution
Miscible CO2 Flood
What lessons have been learned
from ongoing EOR floods?
• Long project lead times and duration
• Requirements for success: long view, broad
approach to research, team R&D with operations
• Good understanding of reservoirs properties:
pressure, permeability, heterogeneity etc
• Significant improvements due to surveillance,
cheaper materials, etc
What has been learned from failures?
• Failures have been due to three factors:
– geological,
– management, and
– engineering
• Lack of holistic view and integration
– local displacement efficiency was fairly well understood, but
geological control/features that limited volumetric efficiency were
not appreciated
– Failure to plan for an EOR contingency upfront – facilities, wells,
materials already in place
– Lack of integration
– Lack of proper decision making and risk analysis processes
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