ARPEL recently launched the white paper “Systemic Approach to Improve Recovery Factors of Oil Resources,” which aims to share with various stakeholders options to improve the recovery factors of mature oil reservoirs in a systemic way.
In particular, an evaluation was made of the various policies and regulatory options in several producing countries in the world that promote the increase in the recovery factor in mature fields.
As explained in the document, despite the incorporation of renewable energy in the energy matrix at a cost competitive with traditional sources, the share of oil and gas is estimated to account for 50 % of the world energy matrix by 2040. On the other hand, the existing oil and gas fields are being depleted by 6 % per year.
“Thus, the industry and states, owners of the hydrocarbon resources, have the challenge and the opportunity to work together to make the necessary investments and meet this growing energy demand in a manner consistent with sustainable development,” the document states.
As stated by Mr. Miguel Moyano, Upstream Director of ARPEL: “At the individual level, companies focus their efforts on the use of the best technology possible to maintain or increase production in an economically viable way. On the other hand, governments are developing strategies under the premise that all stakeholders should maximize the expected net value of economically recoverable petroleum from depleting reservoirs in each country. The white paper presents a range of technological, regulatory, operational and even commercial options to improve recovery factors of mature oil reservoirs. The information and recommendations in the document represent a tool for industry and states to discuss the challenge and the opportunity to work collaboratively to meet the growing demand for oil.”
At the global level, it is estimated that for every 1 % increase in oil recovery from currently operating mature fields two years to the global supply of oil and gas could be added and help meet future demands for energy. The average recovery factor in oil reservoirs is approximately 30 %; this percentage can be increased up to 40-60 %. Depending on the permeability and the flow regime of the reservoir, a field can reach the stage of maturation in just 3 to 6 months or up to several years.
In 2017, mature fields accounted for approximately 70 % of world oil production; therefore, there is an enormous potential to increase the recovery of currently producing fields.
“The improvement of the recovery factor of mature fields is of vital importance for global energy security,” the document states.
The report developed by ARPEL (Regional Association of Oil, Gas and Biofuels Sector Companies in Latin America and the Caribbean) contains six chapters: Introduction, Rejuvenation of Mature Fields, Technological Options, Regulatory Alternatives, Operational Aspects, Commercial and Strategic Partnerships, and a section on Conclusions.
Within the section on conclusions, it is highlighted that EOR projects are expected to grow by 2020. By then, several oilfields will have become mature enough to require efforts to maintain production or slow declines by supporting new EOR developments. The IEA expects that, between 2025 and 2040, EOR production will grow over 60 % and account for around 4 % of global production in 2040.
“For enhanced oil recovery to be actually implemented –and provide to the states the maximization of the expected net value of economically recoverable oil and gas from reservoirs– several innovative measures would need to move fast soon,” the authors maintain.
To access the full material, which is available in Spanish and English, visit https://arpel.org/library/publication/512/