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A strategy for low cost development of incremental oil in legacy reservoirs

January 1, 2016

The precipitous decline in oil prices during 2015 has forced operators to search for ways to develop low-cost and low-risk oil reserves. This study examines strategies to low cost development of legacy reservoirs, particularly those which have already implemented a carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2 EOR) program. Initially the study examines the occurrence and nature of the distribution of the oil resources that are targets for miscible and near-miscible CO2 EOR programs. The analysis then examines determinants of technical recovery through the analysis of representative clastic and carbonate reservoirs. The economic analysis focusses on delineating the dominant components of investment and operational costs. The concluding sections describe options to maximize the value of assets that the operator of such a legacy reservoir may have that include incremental expansion within the same producing zone and to producing zones that are laterally or stratigraphically near main producing zones. The analysis identified the CO2 recycle plant as the dominant investment cost item and purchased CO2 and liquids management as a dominant operational cost items. Strategies to utilize recycle plants for processing CO2 from multiple producing zones and multiple reservoir units can significantly reduce costs. Industrial sources for CO2 should be investigated as a possibly less costly way of meeting EOR requirements. Implementation of tapered water alternating gas injection schemes can partially mitigate increases in fluid lifting costs.