ABSTRACT

The total conventional oil deposits in the province of Alberta has beenestimated to be 34.3 billion barrels with some 36% recoverable under presentoperations. This leaves 21.9 billion barrels of presently unrecoverable oilwhich should be a major concern in considering the future potential of Alberta's oil reserves.

A complete examination of our thinking on enhanced recovery is needed. Theexisting royalty incentives are apparently designed for low cost "Second Harvest" waterfloods, but are inadequate to encourage field tests of exoticprojects involving high cost LPG, micellar products, or CO2. Furthermore, recovery levels from this "Third Harvest" may be lower; yet they require verylarge frontend investments. Much work is needed in the laboratory and in thefield, as field pilots, developing the technology to apply advanced techniquesto tertiary reserves. Substantial improvement in economic incentive is requiredto encourage development of this technology.

In addition, infill drilling is discussed as a technique to improverecovery. Drilling active waterfloods to a closer spacing yields from 2–8%greater recovery. These additional reserves are also "high cost" reserves andwill likely not be recovered without some additional incentive. The mostlogical incentive is their recognition as "new" reserves for royaltypurposes.

BACKGROUND

Increased awareness of the importance of oil and gas resources has promptedgovernments here and abroad to increase their control over oil and gas pricingand production. Basic and dramatic changes in royalty and tax regulations havebeen introduced, often hastily conceived to increase governments share of theresource revenue. As a result, legislation enacted may actually cause damage inareas of vital interest to both government and industry – efficient recovery ofreserves and maintaining optimum producing rates. This study discussesadditional reserves which might be recovered by use of third generationrecovery methods. In-house studies have shown that few, if any of these methodswould be economic under existing legislation. These so called "exotic" schemesare sometimes referred to as "improved recovery", or "tertiary recovery".

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