How Can Enhanced Oil Recovery Increase Well Production?
June 4, 2018
When wanting to sell oil rights, naturally your hope is that wells accessing your stake are highly active and keep on producing. Although production normally slows over time and some wells may even stop producing altogether, the companies buying oil rights for sale will do a number of things to keep their wells producing for as long as possible.
Some companies will turn to enhanced recovery methods to keep extracting minerals so that both parties involved in the trade of oil rights will continue to profit.
Three Phases of Oil Recovery
There is more to producing hydrocarbons from the land than simply drilling a well and waiting for oil to come gushing up like in the old movies. While this may happen initially, those looking to sell oil rights should understand that the process of continuously extracting product from the ground actually involves three phases based on the behavior of the well:
- Primary Phase - The primary phase of recovery happens immediately after drilling when hydrocarbons naturally rise to the surface. Those with oil rights for sale should note that the primary phase normally releases about 10% of what the well is capable of producing. When production slows, secondary recovery methods are then employed.
- Secondary Phase - The secondary phase of recovery involves water injection and water flooding processes that pressurize reservoirs and force oil into the production well so it can then be extracted. Effectiveness depends on many factors including the density of the ground, viscosity of the oil, etc. Secondary phase recovery usually allows energy companies buying oil rights to extract another 10% to 15% of estimated well production.
- Tertiary or EOR Phase - The final 70% to 75% of material produced from most wells is extracted using what is called enhanced oil recovery (EOR) or improved oil recovery (IOR) methods. Using various advanced methods, fields with poor permeability, irregular fault lines, or other conditions that make recovery more challenging can be kept productive and reach hydrocarbons in more difficult locations. Those selling oil rights will see most of their well production happening through the use of these methods.
Three Methods of Enhanced Oil Recovery
There are three methods that energy companies who invest in oil rights for sale will use in enhanced oil recovery depending on ground and reservoir conditions:
- Thermal Injection - Thermal injection, fire injection, steam injection, or steam flooding are all techniques used to warm especially viscous oil so it becomes less resistant to flow. As the oil heats and thins, it can permeate the ground more easily and flow into the well for extraction. Thermal recovery is the EOR method used the majority of the time to increase yield and make the exchange of oil rights more profitable for all.
- Gas Injection - Also called miscible flooding, this EOR process involves injecting (CO2 ) natural gas or nitrogen into the ground to increase pressure that will force materials out and into the well for extraction.
- Chemical Injection or Chemical Flooding - Chemical injection is a form of water injection that uses certain chemicals to decrease the surface tension of the oil to make it more mobile. You can also increase the water viscosity so it can more easily transport the materials. The three techniques used to recover more product and increase profits from oil rights are water alternating gas injection, carbon dioxide flooding, and polymer flooding.
If you have oil rights for sale it is important to learn what to expect during the recovery process, including the three stages typically required to extract most of the oil at any particular location. Initial methods may lead to some production; however, most production occurs afterward using various EOR techniques.
Developed to keep wells productive and increase profits for those wishing to buy and sell oil rights, most wells require some form of EOR throughout their productive lives!
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