Previous Lesson Complete and Continue  

  7. EOR

Lesson content locked

Enroll in Course to Unlock
If you're already enrolled, you'll need to login.


- [Voiceover] There was some interest upon some techniques for enhanced oil recovery and we wanted to include some case study of oil recovery in terms of its thermal aspect. In general we have three main types of enhanced oil recovery, it is the third stage production commonly of oil reserves and oil production. We have three main types: One, chemical flooding, which would involve the introduction into an injection well of alkaline or a micellular polymer. Two, an introduction of a miscible displacement method, commonly using CO-two injection but we wanted to look at steam flooding or in-situ combustion which is a thermal-enhanced, oil-recovery method. First there's steam flooding which is injection of a heavy steam, a very saturated steam, the heavier of the two thermal-enhanced, oil-recovery methods that we'll discuss here. It has proved to have been very successful to fully recovering 50% of the original oil in place for a reservoir, and through heating the crude, which is the residual crude in a reservoir, that greatly reduces the viscosity and that can be mobilized and driven towards the producing well. Another method of thermal-enhanced, oil recovery is the cyclic-steam simulation in which one well is utilized in which steam is injected, steam interacts with the residual crude and is soaking and then it is mobilized through the temperature increase and viscosity decrease and is driven towards the production well and extracted through the same well. This is not as aggressive of a method and cannot produce as much as the steam flooding, typically recovers about 20% of the original oil in place. A case study of steam-flood performance, we can look at the Kern River oil field, located in Kern county, California approximately 10 miles north of Bakersfield and that encompasses an area about 22 kilometers. Production began since 1912, historically over 9,000 wells have been drilled and currently there's about a little over 750 active wells on the site. Steam flood was utilized for the Kern River oil field because it's heavy crude, 14 API gravity. It's at relatively shallow depths, the oil-bearing zones are at 2,300 feet and the steam flooding in the Kern River oil field accounts for about 80% of the total barrels recovered from the 2006 Chevron site. And here we can look at the timeline. Since the turn of the century when the field was discovered, the primary exploration of production or a production achievement was performed and bottom-hole heaters were put in place in the mid '50s but the steam flooding was initiated in the mid '60's and greatly enhanced production, you see in 1985, Cogeneration was installed and Cogeneration is simply a method to reduce production costs by utilizing the energy of the steam which is, prior to injecting the steam, for steam-flooding procedures. And why need a plan for exploitation of new sources of energy? Well according to the Energy Information Administration 2006 US generating capacity has increased more than 40% just during the past 10 years, more than one terawatt. However this increase results from adding fossil-fuel generation plants as well. In the next 10 to 25 years about 50 gigawatts or more of coal-fired capacity will be retired and obviously due to environmental concerns and others. In the same period, 10 to 15 to 25 years, 40 gigawatts or more of nuclear capacity will also be retired and decommissioned.