Enhanced Oil & Gas Recovery

Enhanced oil recovery (abbreviated EOR) is the implementation of various techniques for increasing the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oil field. Enhanced oil recovery is also called improved oil recovery or tertiary recovery (as opposed to primary and secondary recovery). According to the US Department of Energy, there are three primary techniques for EOR: thermal recovery, gas injection, and chemical injection. Sometimes the term quaternary recovery is used to refer to more advanced, speculative, EOR techniques. Using EOR, 30 to 60 percent, or more, of the reservoir's original oil can be extracted, compared with 20 to 40 percent using primary and secondary recovery.

There are three primary techniques of EOR: gas injection, thermal injection, and chemical injection. Gas injection, which uses gases such as natural gas, nitrogen, or carbon dioxide (CO2), accounts for nearly 60 percent of EOR production in the United States. Thermal power injection, which involves the introduction of heat, accounts for 40 percent of EOR production in the United States, with most of it occurring in California. Chemical information of injection, which can involve the use of long-chained molecules called polymers to increase the effectiveness of water floods, accounts for about one percent of EOR production in the United States. In 2013, a technique called Plasma-Pulse chemical technology was introduced into the United States from Russia. This technique can result in another 50 percent of improvement in existing well production.

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