By A Staff Reporter — MUSCAT — Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods will contribute more than a fourth of Petroleum Development Oman’s (PDO) total liquid hydrocarbons output by the year 2020, the company’s managing director revealed here yesterday. This target compares with a mere 3.5 per cent contribution achieved by tertiary production techniques last year, Raoul Restucci said at the opening of the 8th Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals Exhibition and Conference (OGWA 2012), which began at the Golden Tulip Seeb yesterday.
Delivering the keynote address at the conference, Restucci underline’s PDO’s emerging role as a global leader in the application of a range of EOR processes — a distinction gained “not by choice but necessity”, he noted. “We are one of the few oil companies in the world that is simultaneously executing world-scale projects in three EOR technologies: thermal, chemical and miscible gas. Our goal is to proficiently apply existing technologies while researching and testing all new technologies to address even more complex or efficient recovery needs.
“Above all, we remember that technology edge is not about having something on the shelf, but learning how to best operationalise it.” At the same time he warned that EOR techniques pose several challenges. “EOR is more energy and carbon footprint intensive. We need to develop energy light EOR options. EOR is also resource intensive, in terms of wells and facilities. We have to start thinking in terms of production line mode of operation, much like the car industry. EOR requires meticulous planning upfront.
“The margins are significantly reduced because of the front end capital loading and the operational costs; however the economics remain most attractive and all PDO EOR projects continue to pass stringent investment tests at very low prices to ensure robustness and sustainability.”
Last but not least advanced Operations training and significant attention to well and reservoir management is required,” the managing director said. Although an energy intensive process, rigorous planning and integration has enabled PDO to reduce the amount of energy per barrel by 40 per cent over the last 5 years largely through the use of waste heat recovery technology and very focused well and reservoir management.
“We are now testing solar panel technology for steam generation that may provide the next step change in energy efficiency and self sufficiency. All this is also contributing to lowering our carbon footprint,” he said. PDO’s “incredible portfolio of challenging assets” represents an opportunity for considerable value creation through EOR processes, Restucci stated.
“(EOR) projects are no longer at the drawing table but today we produce from Marmul with polymer injection, at Qarn Alam with steam and in Harweel with miscible gas, with several more projects in design or execution as we speak. Indeed we are progressing with the construction of the Amal steam project and the ASP pilot in the Al Khalata reservoir in Marmul,” he said.
In particular, he singled out the Marmul field as an example of the efficacy of EOR methods in sustained output from this three decades old reservoir. “The Marmul field has been on production for more than 30 years, with primary, infill drilling, horizontal wells, waterflooding phases and now polymer injection for some two years. It reached the highest off take rate in its 30-year history late last year. That's EOR excellence in action,” the managing director added.