Enhanced oil recovery, also called EOR, utilizes different types of techniques to increase the amount of oil that is able to be extracted from an oil field. Currently, there are three different methods through which this can occur, according to the US Department of energy. These include gas injection, thermal injection, and chemical injection.
These techniques are certainly not new, and many date back decades. However, improvements in technologies of today are helping to make them more useful and feasible than ever.
What Do the Types of EOR Mean?
Gas injection is the most common type of enhanced oil recovery, and it makes use of miscible gases injected into the reservoir. This method utilizes natural gases, such as nitrogen and CO2 to extract additional oil. It accounts for about 60% of the EOR production.
Thermal injection makes use of different types of methods to heat up the oil and to reduce the viscosity or even vaporize some of it. This makes is easy to retrieve the oil. They will typically use either steam flooding or fire flooding. Using steam is the most popular option. Another method of heating up the oils that is starting to become more popular is actually solar EOR, a subset of steam, which uses solar arrays to use the sun’s energy to heat water. Thermal injection accounts for about 40% of the EOR.
The last method of retrieving oil is through chemical injection. Certain types of chemicals can increase the oil’s mobility and reduce the surface tension that typically occurs, making extraction easier. Subsets of this technique include polymer flooding and microbial injection. These only account for about one percent of the EOR in the country.
What Are the Potential Benefits of Using Enhanced Oil Recovery?
Is this type of oil recovery a good idea? When you first look at the costs associated with it, you can see that it does increase the costs of oil. However, since the techniques actually increase the amount of oil extracted, this efficiency can help to make the process more cost efficient in the end. More oil will typically mean a greater profit. While not all companies are involved with this type of oil extraction, it is proving to have more benefits than drawbacks, and that’s good news. Becoming more efficient when it comes to oil extraction can help to improve the bottom line for many companies in a big way.
About Oil Works Inc.
Oil Works, Inc. is a complete drilling rig equipment manufacturer and service provider based in the Permian Basin for over 20 years. OWI’s product and service offerings include Derricks, Substructures, Drawworks, Mud Systems, Rig Walking Systems, Power Generation, Control Systems, Iron Roughneck Repair. We are a complete Drilling Equipment Manufacturer and build to API and ISO standards. OWI is also proud to offer 24/7 Service and Support.