OTC-25919 A New Approach for Offshore Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery to be presented at the Offshore Technical Conference and Exhibition in Houston, TX on May 6
Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) has seen numerous applications worldwide onshore but very few offshore. The reasons for that are mostly related to the technical and logistical challenges that need to be overcome for the successful implementation of chemical EOR: transporting various chemicals to the platforms, the need for space for the mixing skids and storing chemicals on the platforms, the need to use sea water as the injection fluid among others. As primary and secondary recovery reach their technical and economical limits in offshore fields, the operators are faced with the dilemma of abandoning the field and the platforms or resorting to EOR to increase recovery and extend the life of the field. Non chemical EOR techniques face their own challenges such as the need for large gas supply for gas injection so chemical methods cannot be ruled out so easily. However new approaches need to be defined to make chemical EOR a realistic method for offshore reservoirs. A large part of these issues arise from the mindset which associates chemical EOR with Alkali-Surfactant-Polymer injection. The approach proposed is to use only surfactant in cases where polymer is not absolutely required and to eliminate alkali altogether. This will eliminate various obstacles such as deck space limitations and the need to soften the injection water. This approach opens new doors for chemical Enhanced Recovery offshore. Such an approach is possible thanks to the progress in surfactant formulation and the development of adsorption inhibitors which allow dealing with seawater as an injection fluid. The novelty is not the technology but the way the standard approach is discarded to the benefit of a simpler solution.