A consortium of university-industry researchers are developing sustainable and environmentally friendly enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology for oil fields off the east coast of Newfoundland, Canada. This paper is foundational work on potential implementation of air and flue gas injection techniques. The paper discusses reservoir and facility considerations of air and flue gas injection and provides recommendations for project evaluation. The paper presents screening level results for Husky Energy's White Rose Field as a case study.
Newfoundland offshore fields contain light oil (30-37 oAPI, 0.5-0.8 cP) making the fields potential targets for gas based EOR. However, with the oil fields located 310-350 km off the coast, availability of injection gas and logistical problems present barriers to EOR. Air injection has the advantages of an unlimited supply of injectant, success in laboratory and field applications, years of safe operation, and potential for an estimated 10% incremental oil recovery in waterflooded reservoirs. The challenges toward implementation of both techniques considering field characteristics and infrastructure are discussed along with practical solutions to aid implementation.
The evaluation of sustainable and environmentally friendly EOR technologies is inline with long-term regulatory requirement and is timely as oil production from existing fields is beginning to decline. Moreover, with only 3 of over 20 discovered fields off the coast of Newfoundland currently developed, the conclusions and recommendations may also be valuable in the near future for evaluation of EOR techniques for the remote fields offshore Newfoundland.
When evaluating the potential for enhanced oil recovery offshore Newfoundland, two key themes must be addressed;
Is the process suitable for the reservoir properties and reservoir fluids?
Is the process suitable for implementation offshore?
The challenges of implementing enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in an offshore environment are much greater than in an equivalent onshore field (Bondor et al., 2005). While EOR processes tend to be reservoir and reservoir fluid specific, the project must be commercially feasible within the high cost offshore environment. Beyond normal offshore conditions, Newfoundland's offshore oil fields occur in one of the harshest offshore environments in the world, with severe weather and ice encroachment for long periods during the spring and summer.
The two enhanced oil recovery techniques discussed within this document are high pressure air injection (HPAI) and flue gas injection. Both processes supply additional energy to the reservoir by the injection of non-hydrocarbon gases with the aim of recovering incremental oil.