Industry Article: Seizing the EOR Opportunity

How management practices can contribute to a successful EOR implementation

Seizing the EOR Opportunity
Publication: SBC Energy Perspectives
Volume: 2013
Issue: 2nd Semester
Publication Date: 07/01/2013

With a production potential equivalent to around 40% of oil produced worldwide to date, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) has long been known as a possible jackpot for E&P players. However, although its implementation skyrocketed in the early 1980s, EOR dipped significantly in the 1990s because of the intimate relationship between oil price and field maturation. As the figure shows, the industry began to massively use it again in the past decade. Still, EOR is considered an unmet promise for the industry. This article will explore some of the complex issues that have delayed full implementation of EOR and outline concrete steps companies should take to ensure success in EOR projects.

EOR is performed during the tertiary stage of oil recovery and uses three basic mechanisms for recovering oil from rock: thermal method (reduction of oil viscosity), miscible gas injection (extraction of the oil with a solvent) and chemical method (alteration of capillary and viscous forces).

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