EOR Potential in the Middle East: Current and Future Trends
- Saad Menahi Al-Mutairi (Saudi Aramco) | Sunil Lalchand Kokal (Saudi Aramco)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE EUROPEC/EAGE Annual Conference and Exhibition, 23-26 May, Vienna, Austria
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2011. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.6.11 Reservoir monitoring with permanent sensors, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 2.3.3 Flow Control Equipment, 5.4 Enhanced Recovery, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.5 Reservoir Simulation, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 5.3.9 Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 5.8.7 Carbonate Reservoir, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 6.5.7 Climate Change, 2 Well Completion, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 5.6.9 Production Forecasting, 5.6.5 Tracers
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The majority of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects are being executed in the the U.S., Canada, Venezuela, Indonesia and China. The volume of oil produced by EOR methods increased considerably from 1.2 MMBD in 1990 to 2.5 MMBD in 2006 (Sandrea and Sandrea 2007). Current total world oil production from EOR is approaching 3 MMBD representing about 3.5% of the daily global oil production (Sandrea and Sandrea 2007). Thermal and CO2 methods are the major contributors to EOR production, followed by hydrocarbon gas injection and chemical EOR. Other more esoteric methods, e.g., microbial, have only been field tested, without any significant quantities being produced on a commercial scale. In recent years, the number of EOR projects has increased with escalating oil prices.
The number of EOR projects in the Middle East (ME) has also increased over the past decade. In some countries like Oman, there has been no choice but to implement EOR projects aggressively due to dwindling ?easy oil.? Other countries in the region have also started to think EOR, and are including them in their strategic short-, medium- and long-term development plans. Furthermore, there are many projects on the drawing board and appropriate screening studies and EOR pilots are being pursued region-wide. This paper reviews the current ME EOR projects from full-field development to field trials, including those on the drawing board. The option of advanced secondary recovery (ASR) — also known as improved oil recovery (IOR) — technologies before full-field deployment of EOR is also discussed. A case is made that they are a better first option before deployment of capital-intensive EOR projects. The ME‘s general drive towards ?ultimate? oil recovery — instead of immediate oil recovery — is highlighted in the context of EOR. Some of the enablers for EOR in the ME are also discussed in the paper. It highlights the opportunities and challenges of EOR specific to the region.
EOR process is a tertiary oil recovery method representing the last stage in a field‘s life. Figure 1 shows the definition of various oil recovery terms, as defined by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (Stosur 2003, Stosur et al. 2003). Primary and secondary recovery (conventional recovery) targets the mobile oil in the reservoir and tertiary recovery, or EOR, targets the immobile oil (that cannot be produced due to capillary and/or viscous forces).
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