Release Date: December 15, 2014
Oil Operators Gain Powerful, User-Friendly Enhanced Oil Recovery Planning Software
Software Provides Small- to Mid-Sized Oil Operators Affordable Opportunities for Enhanced Oil Recovery Analyses
New software developed by NITEC LLC (Denver, Colo.) under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory enables quicker, more affordable technical studies of carbon dioxide (CO2) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) for small- to mid-sized U.S. oilfield operators.
The software, called COZView/COZSim, addresses the physical and chemical factors that impact the flow and recovery of reservoir fluids, such as solubility of CO2 in water and oil or swelling of oil in the presence of CO2, and yet it makes the simulation and evaluation process fast enough that an integrated feasibility study can be completed in a relatively short time period. A CO2-EOR study on candidate oil-bearing reservoirs using COZView/COZSim can be completed within 1 month, compared to the 6+ months required for other approaches.
Enhanced oil recovery allows oilfields that are nearing the end of prime oil production to continue contributing to the U.S. energy portfolio. By injecting CO2 into these oilfields, operators can economically mobilize a portion of the remaining oil, which would otherwise be difficult to extract, thus extending the reservoir’s productive life.
Of the onshore oilfields in the lower 48 states that are economical CO2-EOR prospects, about 75 percent are owned by small- to mid-size operators. These operators often cannot afford to commission technically sophisticated studies to assess the feasibility of CO2‑EOR, which can cost in excess of $500,000 each. With COZView/COZSim, small- and mid-sized operators could dramatically cut this cost, saving $250,000 per study.
With at least a 3.6 percent increase in CO2‑EOR growth potential between 2012 and 2040—as predicted by the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration in their Annual Energy Outlook 2014—COZView/COZSim software could play an important part in allowing small- to mid-size producers to participate in CO2-EOR. This would not only boost oil production, but would also increase geologic storage of CO2, a major greenhouse gas.
The easy-to-use software integrates a friendly, interactive user interface, COZView, for pre- and post-processing of simulation results with the comprehensive three-dimensional, three-phase, four-component reservoir simulator COZSim, which can model CO2-EOR in oil reservoirs. Data input screens use correlations to determine oil, water, gaseous hydrocarbon, and CO2 properties. Field operating practices are emulated through a comprehensive set of well and field controls and constraints. Comprehensive well and field performance plots and three-dimensional views aid the user in understanding simulation results. Internal functionality allows for field optimization and quick computation of economic benefits.
The NETL-funded version of the software can be downloaded from the NITEC LLC website free of charge. The website also includes a comprehensive user manual and a number of tutorial examples. As of December 12, 2014, more than 80 copies of the software had been downloaded. NITEC plans to support and enhance the software based on user funding to make it increasingly more beneficial for smaller oilfield operators.