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US DOE awarding $39.9M to 5 projects for enhanced oil recovery

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) selected five projects to receive approximately $39.9 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under funding opportunity announcement (FOA), Advanced Technologies for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

Projects resulting from this FOA will reduce technical risks associated with EOR and expand application of EOR methods onshore, both in conventional and unconventional reservoirs. The research will also improve the understanding of unconventional reservoirs and improve recovery factors for these plays.

The projects fall under two areas of interest:

Area of Interest 1: EOR Technologies for Conventional Resources

Subtopic 1A: Existing EOR Wells/Fields

  • CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery Improvement in Conventional Fields Using Rich Gas: The University of North Dakota aims to determine the effect of injecting blended carbon dioxide (CO2) and rich gas into an active CO2 EOR field to improve production performance. Positive test results will support the development of infrastructure and a market for stranded gas.
    DOE Funding: $8,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $2,000,000; Total Value: $10,000,000

  • Engineered Water for Improved Oil Recovery from Fractured Reservoirs: The University of Texas at Austin intends to field-test technology designed to improve oil recovery in fractured oil-wet carbonate reservoirs by using injected water engineered with ionic modifications. Development of improved oil recovery techniques from fractured carbonates will help unlock oil potential in West Texas and beyond.
    DOE Funding: $7,919,826; Non-DOE Funding: $2,000,438; Total Value: $9,920,264

Subtopic 1B: Untested Reservoir/Play Locations

  • Chemically Enabled CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery in Multi-Porosity, Hydrothermally Altered Carbonates in the Southern Michigan Basin: Battelle Memorial Institute plans to develop improved strategies for EOR from challenging reservoirs along fault systems through advanced field characterization, integrated physics-based machine learning and data analytics, laboratory process development, and optimized field tests. The results will provide strategies to improve oil recovery in complex carbonate formations and reinvigorate depleted oil fields.
    DOE Funding: $7,999,659; Non-DOE Funding: $2,153,668; Total Value: $10,153,327

  • Improving Enhanced Oil Recovery Performance through Data Analytics and Next-Generation Controllable Completions: The University of North Dakota aims to field-test an advanced machine learning approach to enable active (smart) well control during CO2 EOR. Successful completion of this field-based research will help reduce uncertainty associated with CO2 EOR performance and improve project economics.
    DOE Funding: $8,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $2,000,000; Total Value: $10,000,000

Area of Interest 2: EOR Technologies for Unconventional Resources

  • Field-Pilot Test of Foam-Assisted Hydrocarbon Gas Injection in Bakken Formations: The University of Wyoming plans to apply foam-assisted gas injection EOR through a field pilot test designed to pave a path for widespread deployment in unconventional plays. The knowledge gained will be used to calibrate computational simulators to better predict field performance, assess and mitigate potential risks, and ensure successful implementation in the field.
    DOE Funding: $8,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $2,003,286; Total Value: $10,003,286

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage all of the selected projects.



As if OILCOS really need this hand-out?


I had to look up what "rich gas" was.  Turns out it's a mixture of methane with heavier hydrocarbons, which I suspect means C2-C5 chains (what would normally be called NGLs or condensate).

It stands to reason that dissolving some of these molecules into trapped droplets of oil will cause the oil to expand and free at least some of it to flow.  If there's no pipeline or other way to get these to market, reinjecting them is far better than flaring them.

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