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Enhanced Oil Recovery – R & D for a sustainable future

Total has developed considerable expertise in the technologies designed to raise recovery, collectively known as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Through its strong commitment to R&D it has pioneered a number of pilot projects worldwide. In the UAE, Total ABK already has one of the highest recovery efficiencies in the world for an offshore carbonate reservoir with nearly half the oil recovered. Part of the challenge at the ABK field is to develop polymers and surfactants that function effectively in carbonate reservoirs with hot, saline fluids.

Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), to enhance production

The EOR is the implementation of several techniques for increasing the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oil field.  There are three main techniques: gas injection, thermal injection, and chemical injection. Total ABK has seen some of the initial applications of EOR technology within the UAE. In the UAE, Total has been operating a mature field, with oil recovery in different layers ranging from 35% to 70% and producing 90% water cut, thus providing significant opportunities to implement state-of-the art technology and innovation.

It also initiated in the region for Tertiary Hydrocarbon Gas Injection (TGI) in carbonate reservoirs. The Chemical EOR pilot for offshore carbonate reservoirs methodology adopted is first in the UAE and worldwide.

Today the EOR produces around 10000 bopd at 92% water cut.

The chemical EOR, a potential game-changer in the region

We have performed chemical and enzyme Pilots in 2015 and have on-going research experiments into smart water and CO2 EOR. ABK has 17 years of full-field Tertiary Gas Injection (TGI EOR) experience following Pilots in 1991 and 1993; today 30% of the production is still attributable to the TGI effect. The chemical EOR project is particularly interesting as it uses polymers and surfactants that have never been used in such hot, saline conditions within a carbonate reservoir. Standard screening tools would normally reject the technique but after three years of research in our laboratory in Pau, France where we tested 178 different molecular combinations and performed 40 core-floods, we came up with a chemical cocktail that gave extremely encouraging results in terms of reducing the residual oil saturation after conventional water-flood was no longer effective.  In the time to come, this could be a potential EOR game-changer in the region.

Collaboration with local stakeholders

Total UAE is currently engaged in a collaborative research project, between ADNOC, PI and MASDAR and has launched a Pressure-Volume-Temperature (PVT) laboratory at the Petroleum Institute Research Center (PIRC). Total’s Research and Development and its expertise in EOR is expected to reach from laboratories to various fields in the industry. It is a project that aims to conduct fluid analysis for EOR to reach 70% oil recovery.

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