Impact of Research on Oil Recovery
- John E. Sherborne (Union Oil Co. of California) | C.R. McEwen (Union Oil Co. of California)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1957
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 11 - 15
- 1957. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 2.2.2 Perforating, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 4.3.4 Scale
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Production research, as it exists today, is a product of the past 25 years. That it is an important part of the oil business at the present time can be indicated by its scope. Twenty-five years ago the number of individuals performing production research could almost be counted on the fingers of one's hands; today it is estimated there are several thousand people working in production research. During the past five years, a number of multi-million dollar production research laboratories have been built and many sizeable additions have been made in the production research facilities of practically all the major oil companies. It is estimated that there is currently being spent on production research something over $20 million annually exclusive of research on oil finding.
The impact of production research on the recovery of petroleum can be considered in three parts. The first of these is the tremendous body of knowledge which has resulted from production research. The second has been the change in our concepts regarding the occurrence and recovery of petroleum and thereby the change in our operating procedures which has been brought about. The third has been the improvement in our ability to quantitatively evaluate various recovery procedures so that the optimum one can be chosen at an early time in the history of the oil field.
It would be difficult indeed to give credit to the very many individuals who have contributed by their research efforts to our knowledge concerning recovery processes. A number of review papers covering the major contributions have appeared from time to time in the literature. Some of the more recent of these are noted in the bibliography. For details of the contributions made with respect to increasing our knowledge, the reader is referred to these papers and to the selected items in the bibliography of this paper.
Rather than produce another such review, we should like to discuss the impact of production research on recovery by citing some specific examples of how our concepts have changed and how our ability to evaluate recovery processes has improved.
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