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Decision analysis and CO2–Enhanced oil recovery development strategies

January 18, 2022

This paper analyzes the relationship between actual reservoir conditions and predicted measures of performance of carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2–EOR) programs. It then shows how CO2–EOR operators might maximize the value of their projects by approaching implementation using a “flexible selective” pattern development strategy, where the CO2–EOR program patterns are selectively developed based on site-specific reservoir properties. It also analyzes performance measures and economic consequences of utilizing a continuous CO2 injection strategy intended to maximize CO2 retention for a defined time period. “Net CO2 utilization,” calculated as difference between the volumes of CO2 injected and CO2 recovered in the production stream divided by the oil produced, is a standard measure of CO2–EOR carbon utilization, but it can be a misleading predictor of the actual CO2 retained in the reservoir. Asset value can be added to a CO2–EOR project by recognizing effects of variations in reservoir parameter values and basing incremental development decisions on those data. For policy analysts, the consequences of ignoring geologic variability within a reservoir that is a candidate for CO2–EOR will likely be to substantially overestimate predicted adoption of CO2–EOR in response to economic incentives. This result holds true whether the CO2–EOR program objective is to maximize net value by maximizing oil production or maximize CO2 storage with oil recovery.