The window of opportunity for maximizing oil profitability and recovery is closing for many fields in the Permian Basin. With this in mind, operators can not afford to continue delaying carbon dioxide (C02) enhanced oil recovery during this prolonged period of low and flat oil price. Key learnings from over twenty years of CO2 flooding are:

  1. the window of opportunity is closing,

  2. CO2 floods significantly increase oil recovery and extend the life of a field,

  3. when total costs (developing, operating, CO2 purchases and processing) are compared to drilling and acquiring for reserves, CO2 flooding is competitive,

  4. CO2 prices have declined commensurate with crude prices,

  5. CO2 technology and expertise have advanced,

  6. the cycle time from reservoir evaluation to flood installation is greatly reduced, and

  7. the CO2 supply is more than adequate to recover all the possible tertiary reserves identified in the Permian Basin.

With many waterflood programs approaching the end of their economic lives, hundreds of millions of barrels of oil will never be recovered if tertiary recovery projects continue to be delayed. Proactive operators must reexamine the benefits of CO2 flooding now.

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