With the conventional decline in oil production from wells in the United States, additional sources of crude oil are required. One option supported by high oil prices is the application of enhanced oil recovery and advanced secondary recovery technologies to the currently producing wells. The U.S. onshore lower 48 crude oil in-place resource are vast. The question is how much of the oil can be produced using currently available technologies.
In order to answer that question, a detailed analysis was conducted in which the potential technical and economic production was estimated for several commonly used technologies. These include EOR technologies such as carbon dioxide flooding, polymer flooding, and steam flooding, as well as a variety of advanced secondary recovery technologies.
This analysis was conducted using screening and analytic tools which identify the recovery processes which are applicable to each reservoir in the onshore lower 48 and estimate the technical production from each reservoir. In addition, a newly developed economic model was used to estimate the technical and economic production which could be realized. The results, data and opinions presented in this paper are those of the authors and not the companies with which they currently work.
This paper describes the screening criteria which were used to determine the applicable technologies. The paper also describes the analytical tools used to estimate the technical and economic production for each of the assessed technologies. Finally, the paper details the production levels which could be realized under a variety of technical and economic scenarios.