Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) refers to the technique which increases the production of oil from mature and aged wells. Using EOR techniques the production can be increased by almost 10 to 20 percent than using old conventional extraction methods. Technically, EOR increases the permeability of the reservoir so that hydrocarbons can flow through the pathways easily and into the targeting producing well. In the EOR process, chemicals, gas or fluids is injected through the injection wells which uses pressure to drive hydrocarbons to designated wells for production.
In 2015, The National Stripper Well Association (NWSA) stated that there are about 771,000 marginal or matured well in production in U.S. They make up 11.3% of the U.S. combined. Mature or aged wells are those oil reserves where production has reached its peak and has started to decline owing to poor permeability, irregular faultiness or exhibit heavy oil. EOR are majorly used in these oil reserves.
In enhanced oil recovery technology, the properties of hydrocarbons are changed by injecting gasses (carbon dioxide, nitrogen, natural gas), polymers, or steam into the field. This results in an easy flow of oil and boosts the extraction.
Three common type of EOR techniques are gas injection, thermal recovery, and chemical flooding. Among all these, gas injections are the most preferred technology lately. It accounts for around 60% of EOR production in the U.S. Carbon dioxide EOR techniques is attracting a new market. Companies are trying to produce CO2 from industrial application and developing new technologies for its storage
Globally, companies are trying to develop improved and new technologies. Some of them are plasma pulse and ultrasonic. In ultrasonic technology the power of ultrasound is lowered to the bottom of the well. It is done for a short treatment or for a permanent placement for intermittent use. The treatment increases the oil production by up to 50%. For low permeability wells, ultrasound is applied with chemical flooding to achieve a high production rate.
Plasma Pulse Technology uses hydraulic fracturing methods. The technique initiates the resonance of plasma waves within an oil reservoir. These waves enable oil to move with a greater fluidity through smaller fractures to the earth surface. With growing demand and fluctuating oil process, EOR is a reliable source for extracting oil from mature wells. In addition, the development of new technologies will also benefit the market in near future.
In-depth report on global enhanced oil recovery (EOR) market by Grand View Research: