Experts Assess Status and Outlook for Thermal, Chemical, and CO2 Miscible Flooding Processes
- Robert F. Meldau (Husky Oil Operations Ltd.) | Todd M. Doscher (Doschers Group Inc.) | S. M. Farouq Ali (University of Alberta) | Chieh Chu (Getty Oil Co.) | L. Wally Holm (Union Oil Company of California) | F. M. Orr Jr. (New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center) | W. Barney Gogarty (Marathon Oil Co.) | Wayne R. Hause (Williams Bros. Engineering) | Ronald L. Reed (Exxon Production Research Co.) | E. H. Mayer (THUMS Long Beach Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 1983
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,279 - 1,291
- 1983. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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Increased use of enhanced oil-recovery (EOR) technology depends on how competitive EOR oil is with other sources of liquid fuels. Today, with world oil prices at $29/bbl, companies can buy oil reserves in the ground for $5 to $8/bbl. EOR methods cost significantly more-up to about $20/bbl in the case of large chemical floods. Even though the petroleum industry has gained experience and confidence with EOR methods, it is evident that economic conditions are not favorable for any but the least expensive EOR applications.
Commercial applications of different EOR processes are evolving at various rates. Steamflooding is proved commercially; current oil production from these methods exceeds 550,000 B/D (87 400 m3/d), accounting for some 80% of total EOR production. This technology is particularly important in California; recent increases in the state's onshore oil production are attributed mainly to increased steam injection in heavy-oil reservoirs.
Michael Prats, Maraven S.A., writes in SPE Monograph Vol. 7, Thermal Recovery: "The potential of thermal recovery processes is much greater than the current production would suggest." One reason is that these processes eventually may unlock the world's huge accumulations of very heavy crudes. Another reason is that thermal methods can be used to displace and recover light crudes; here the limitations are economic - other methods yield a higher rate of return on investment. "There are few known technical reasons for not considering thermal processes for the recovery of any kind of crude," Prats says. They also may be applied to recover shale oil and coal products in situ.
Experts Discuss EOR IssuesThe following comments by members closely involved with EOR processes address the technical status and economic outlook for various methods. Some general observations arise from these specific discussions of Thermal EOR, CO 2 flooding, and chemical flooding.
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