FWGS March Luncheon
Time & Location
After decades of research and field application, the use of CO2 as an enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) injectant has proved very successful. However, there are limited supplies of low-cost CO2 and significant drawbacks to its use, especially corrosion.
Simulation data and field examples demonstrate that ethane is an excellent EOR injectant. The rich gasses and volatile oils developed in the United States shale reservoirs have caused an enormous increase in ethane production. Ethane in the US is no longer priced as a petrochemical feedstock but as a fuel, and substantial amounts of ethane are being flared.
Ethane-based EOR can supplement the very successful CO2-based EOR industry. There simply isn’t enough low-cost CO2 available to undertake all of the potential US gas-EOR projects. The current abundance of low-cost ethane presents a significant opportunity to add new gas-EOR projects in the US and elsewhere.
To summarize the ethane-based EOR opportunity:
1. CO2-based EOR works well, and is well understood.
2. Ethane is simpler and better than CO2 for EOR.
3. Ethane is abundant and inexpensive in the US. Its increased availability lowers ethane costs elsewhere.
4. Recent additions to the growing ethane infrastructure now deliver ethane to locations where EOR targets for ethane use are plentiful.
The takeaway message of the lecture is that ethane-based EOR is a viable option in many areas, with a robust combination of low costs and high incremental recovery.
Patrick L. McGuire is a reservoir engineer with more than 40 years’ experience. He is a noted expert on EOR and has worked on gas-injection and low-salinity EOR opportunities across the globe.
For many years, McGuire worked for ARCO and BP on the North Slope of Alaska, which is home to some of the world’s largest EOR projects. He has authored numerous technical papers on EOR and holds seven US patents. McGuire has previously served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer and has addressed more than 30 SPE Sections. He holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering.
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