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IFPEN launches Dolphin research project to examine impact of chemical EOR processes on water management

18 March 2014

In collaboration with six industrial partners, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) has launched the Dolphin research project, which aims to examine the impact of chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) processes on water management systems.

EOR plays a key role in increasing the quantity of oil extracted from a field. It becomes a major opportunity for oil operators in a context of growth in energy demand requiring to push back the current boundaries of oil and gas reserves. Chemical recovery uses viscosifiers and surfactants, in particular, making it possible to produce up to 20% more hydrocarbons from an oil field.

One of the challenges raised by the development of chemical EOR is the impact of the products used on the water cycle. IFPEN says that it is important to study the compatibility of EOR processes with fluid separation technologies, to develop appropriate solutions to facilitate the treatment of produced water and to define the conditions for reinjection of water into reservoirs to enhanced the oil recovery.

IFPEN, working with Petrobras and Statoil, has just finalized an 18-month preliminary laboratory study to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of chemical EOR on surface water treatment facilities. Given the technical hurdles that still need to be overcome, IFPEN is now launching a research program open to oil operators via the creation of the Dolphin project. In addition to Petrobras and Statoil, IFP Technologies Canada, OMV, Shell and Wintershall have already joined Dolphin.

Scheduled to last three years, Dolphin will quantify and describe the impact of chemical EOR on the production system as a whole, in conditions representative of oil fields. More specifically, it will assess the compatibility of chemical EOR substances with treatment additives, along with their impact on well performance, surface installations and reinjection processes.

IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) is a French public-sector research, innovation and training center active in the fields of energy, transport and the environment. IFPEN has been strongly involved in chemical EOR for more than two decades.

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