Enhanced Oil Recovery

Larry Lake (larry_lake@mail.utexas.edu) is the Program Manager of the Enhanced Oil Recovery research program.

The focus of the Enhanced Oil Recovery program is on techniques that offer prospects for ultimately producing 25 to 50 percent, or more, of a reservoir's original oil in place. The major categories of EOR research include: thermal recovery, gas injection, and chemical injection.

EOR Research Projects

Quoc P. Nguyen, Gary A. Pope

Conventional Alkaline-Surfactant-Polymer (ASP) flooding is an attractive enhanced oil recovery method. However, a significant fraction of reservoirs, such as naturally fractured carbonates with low matrix permeability, are not suitable candidates for the use of polymers.

Matt Balhoff

Surprisingly, recent experimental and field observations indicate that the addition of viscoelastic polymers improve oil recovery by an additional 20%, contrary to the conventional wisdom that polymers should have no impact on residual oil saturation.

Matt Balhoff

An extension of our work in computational fluid dynamics, this new project involves microfluidic and coreflood experiments to better understand the reduction of residual oil.

Matt Balhoff

Polymers are useful during EOR because of their high viscosity, caused largely by the long chains of the molecules.

Quoc P. Nguyen, Gary A. Pope

This funded project is aimed at development of novel surfactants that improve the conformance of CO2 in subsurface processes such as CO2 enhanced oil recovery and/or sequestration.

Matt Balhoff, Mojdeh Delshad, Chun Huh

Polymers are often injected into horizontal wells during EOR processes. During injection of these high-viscosity, non-Newtonian polymers, a significant pressure drop may occur along the length of the well. Accurate models for pressure drop in the well and polymer leakage into the reservoir are necessary for simulation but presently do not exist.