Global energy demand is forecasted to rise by over one-third from now until 2035. As the relatively easy oil reserves deplete, focus will shift to development of extremely complex reservoirs in challenging environments including those in ultra-deepwater and the Arctic. Another source of supply to fill the void will be from Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques applied to existing fields. The current global ultimate average recovery factor for oilfields is roughly 35%. This means that about two-thirds of the already discovered oil is left within the reservoir. Pushing the recovery factors from 35% up to 45% would bring an additional one trillion barrels of oil to an energy-hungry world. Even though the EOR prize is high, many oil companies are still struggling to build an EOR culture. The lack of a systematic approach, costs and time-to-market of EOR projects and the general belief that EOR should only be applied to mature fields are preventing a wider spread of EOR deployment. In order to promote a new wave of EOR applications, it was decided at Top Management level to restructure the EOR Unit by creating a multidisciplinary team of laboratory, subsurface, production, project and procurement personnel. New best practices were also circulated in order to force reservoir engineers to evaluate the benefits of EOR techniques for every new green and brown field reservoir study. This was a breakthrough that facilitated the changing mindset of company professionals as EOR may be applied from the beginning of a field's life and not only in maturity stages. The EOR workflow from laboratory to field implementation was duly revised in order to try to shorten the time-to-market of EOR projects by means of: a faster screening phase due to a new in-house tool; the deployment of a quicker and high resolution simulator for full field cases and ad-hoc simulators for more detailed sector models; the use of single well chemical tracer tests to promptly prove the effectiveness of EOR agents; and finally, standard practices for pilot implementation and monitoring. A strong focus on containing costs was proposed to explore cheaper and more promising EOR techniques such as Low Salinity. The whole company reservoir portfolio was screened at a high level to identify the most prominent EOR techniques to focus on and the unconstrained additional EOR RF calculated. Finally, some interesting cases on water-alternate-gas projects for mature fields, chemical EOR and water conformance by means of thermally activated particles will be presented. The adoption of the new workflow showed a great time reduction from screening to pilot phase and that in some cases EOR techniques are still viable even in a low oil price scenario.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.