Enhanced Oil Recovery

A critical decision

As a field is being depleted and is on track to reach its end of economic viability, options are investigated to see if an enhanced oil recovery project could prolong the life of the field. This can involve a variety of technical options from the stimulation of the formation with pressure or chemicals, to the implementation of injection wells to flush unswept compartments and/or sustain pressure, and many more options.

This is a decision with many variables, and local circumstances may weigh in the balance such as national directives to produce hydrocarbon assets to the maximum extent even if the economics are weak.

The final decision will be to either proceed with a properly scoped project, or to let the field continue to deplete towards its end-of-life, abandonment and decommissioning.

Resoptima solutions

Even in the last period of a field’s long history of production, an ensemble-based model will still include uncertainties and will still represent them even if the spread of possible outcomes is much narrower than at the beginning. The EOR planning will increase the spread of uncertainties in some cases, for example by adding new uncertainties if the field has not had any injection wells to date and the EOR project plans to drill and activate a number of them.

Getting the risk / reward right

The prediction of increased production will likewise have quite a large variability, and this is very valuable to the decision makers. it indicates that such projects do carry risks, and this in turn implies that the rewards need to be substantial to justify the initial expenditure.

Decision-makers will reach different conclusions depending on their company’s appetite for risk. An expensive, high-risk EOR project may not be prioritized if the company can allocate similar funds to less risky, or higher reward, programs on other fields.

In all cases, Resoptima’s ensemble-based models, and the powerful analytic tools built into the IRMA software, provide operators with a clear picture of the EOR project under consideration and the unbiased metrics they need to make a final decision.

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