Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Enhanced Oil Recovery: Every Additional 1% of Oil Recovered Replaces 3 Years Global Oil Consumption

Today, the average global oil & gas recovery rate is around 22% [Oil & Gas Journal 11/2007] and yet certain areas of the world, such as the Norwegian Continental Shelf, have increased their recovery rates to closer to 50%. Furthermore, each additional 1% of oil recovered replaces three years of global oil consumption [Oil & Gas Journal, ibid]. _Extending the Boundaries of Oil & Gas Recovery
The best place to find more oil is in an old oil well. Enhanced oil recovery methods are squeezing more and more oil out of the rock -- and the technology keeps getting better.

University of Pittsburgh engineers are developing a way to "thicken CO2" to make it a more effective agent of enhanced oil recovery. Their technique could reduce or eliminate the use of water injection, and speed up the recovery process:
"An affordable CO2 thickener would represent a transformational advance in enhanced oil recovery," said Enick. "More than 90 percent of CO2 injection projects in the U.S. employ the WAG method to hinder the fingering of the CO2. However, if a thickener could be identified that could increase the viscosity of the CO2 to a value comparable to that of the oil in the underground layers of rock, then the fingering would be inhibited, the need to inject water would be eliminated, and more oil would be recovered more quickly using less CO2."

"It's clear there exists a very wide market for this type of CO2 thickener," said Beckman. "It's been long recognized as a game-changing transformative technology because it has the potential to increase oil recovery while eliminating water injection altogether." _esciencenews
It should be obvious that if roughly 75% of oil in wells has remained underground, that old oil wells can remain very valuable properties indeed.

And if new methods of EOR can eliminate the need for H2O injection while using "thickened CO2" injections instead, a number of problems may be solved with a single startling innovation.



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