Among the leading emerging technologies for in-situ oil recovery is the use of an electrokinetic technology known as electrically enhanced oil recovery (EEORTM)i. Electrokinetic methods are continually tested and improved both in the laboratory and in the field to render them highly feasible for increased oil recovery. The effectiveness of the process to enhance the flow and production of both light and heavy crude oil from sandstone reservoirs have been demonstrated in the laboratory by researchers for the last four decades. Successful but limited field applications, both in-situ and ex-situ have also been reported for the same duration of time. There has been little work done on the applicability of the technology to carbonate rock reservoirs, owing to predicted high energy consumption due to low clay content formations and high salinity environments. Yet, compared to currently incurred high costs of conventional electrical oil recovery which depends on joule heating of the formation, electroosmotic mass transport may offer a feasible option to augment the flow of these large volumes of crude oil both onshore and offshore.
A great additional incentive is that EEORTM can be engineered as a truly green technology, where there is no water consumption, and no air, water, and formation pollution. The technology can be applied with no depth limitation in-situ rendering it even more attractive in remote operating locations as well as the environmentally challenging ones. This paper addresses the first attempt undertaken at the newly-established Electrokinetic Laboratory of the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. to determine the efficacy of electrokinetic technology in EEORTM tested on field collected data samples of Abu Dhabi. The results of the initial tests conducted on field retrieved specimens of Abu Dhabi on-shore carbonate reservoir rock candidates from several formations in high salinity environments that contained various crude types are reported.