Whether the oil price is high or low, the ability to cost-effectively recover more oil from exploration reserves and existing fields makes good business sense. Adopting a strategy of deploying low-cost and widely applicable Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technologies is therefore well suited to depressed market conditions.
Cost-effective EOR technologies
EOR has been around for decades, but the challenge has been to deliver more cost-effective EOR technologies alongside conventional reservoir drainage approaches, like infill drilling, or displacement techniques, such as waterflooding and gas injection.
The cost of chemicals, their deployment and storage, particularly in offshore settings, have made some EOR projects uneconomical. Thus a focus on low-cost water and gas designed EOR technologies have resulted in various breakthrough solutions:
- Bright Water® is a microscopic, thermally-activated particle based on a BP concept. It expands deep in the reservoir, diverting injection water into poorly swept areas of the reservoir, thereby increasing oil recovery. BP has deployed Bright Water in more than 140 wells world-wide, at an average cost of $6 a barrel;
- LoSal® EOR is a breakthrough low salinity waterflooding technology that increases oil recovery compared to conventional seawater flooding. The world’s first deployment of LoSal EOR will be at Clair Ridge in the North Sea – at a development cost average of $3 a barrel. There are additional benefits with the use of low salinity water, such as reduced risks of reservoir souring;
- Polymer EOR follows a different low-cost approach; whilst the operating costs of adding polymers to injection water are not immaterial, only limited capital expenditure is required yet the process significantly improves reservoir sweep and oil recovery.
Maintaining maximum applications across operated fields drives down the costs of EOR. Avoiding niche EOR technologies which might benefit just one field type means researchers’ efforts can be focused and the economies of scale optimised, such as for bulk chemical purchases. To this end, PetrOman maintains a commitment to the utilisation of avantgarde technology to drive efficiencies in production.