The potential to improve future oil recovery from UKCS fields has been evaluated in a systematic study of the application of advanced recovery methods in nearly 70 oilfields. The methods considered are gravity stabilised gas flooding, horizontal gas flooding (WAG), chemical flooding and the engineered depressurisation of reservoirs late in life.
Without considering the UKCS fiscal regime, but demanding a positive NPV at a 15% discount rate, the potential ranges from 0.3 Bstb to 3.1 Bstb for oil prices in the range $16 to $48/bbl. Most of the potential, 2.4 Bstb, is realisable at an oil price of $24/bbl.
The exposure, NPV and IRR of advanced recovery projects and current UKCS developments are compared. This shows that most advanced recovery projects are less attractive than new field developmen's. This assessment is exacerbated by the increased uncertainties involved in the application of advanced techniques and the UKCS fiscal regime which disadvantages late investment in mature PRT paying fields.
The main reservoir engineering and process description uncertainties associated with the advanced recovery techniques have been highlighted by the study. These provide a focus for future R&D effort.