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Energy Department Invests $40 Million in Enhanced Oil Recovery

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and NETL have selected five projects to receive approximately $39.9 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under funding opportunity announcement (FOA),  Advanced Technologies for Enhanced Oil Recovery.

DOE selected these projects as part of its basin-specific research strategy focused on increasing ultimate recovery and operational efficiency.

“The extraordinary growth in U.S. oil and gas development is transforming the energy landscape across the world,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Developing technologies to improve enhanced oil recovery will help maximize America’s energy sources, ensuring continued American energy independence.”

“Enhanced oil recovery is a critical component to maximize American energy production,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. “By increasing American oil and natural gas recovery and production, we affirm both our energy and national security.”

Projects resulting from this FOA will reduce technical risks associated with EOR and expand application of EOR methods onshore, both in conventional and unconventional reservoirs. The research will also improve the understanding of unconventional reservoirs and improve recovery factors for these plays.

The projects fall under two areas of interest as follows:

Area of Interest 1: EOR Technologies for Conventional Resources

Subtopic 1A: Existing EOR Wells/Fields

CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery Improvement in Conventional Fields Using Rich Gas – The University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND) aims to determine the effect of injecting blended carbon dioxide (CO2) and rich gas into an active CO2 EOR field to improve production performance. Positive test results will support the development of infrastructure and a market for stranded gas.

DOE Funding: $8,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $2,000,000; Total Value: $10,000,000

Engineered Water for Improved Oil Recovery from Fractured Reservoirs – The University of Texas at Austin(Austin, TX) intends to field-test technology designed to improve oil recovery in fractured oil-wet carbonate reservoirs by using injected water engineered with ionic modifications. Development of improved oil recovery techniques from fractured carbonates will help unlock oil potential in West Texas and beyond.

DOE Funding: $7,919,826; Non-DOE Funding: $2,000,438; Total Value: $9,920,264

Subtopic 1B: Untested Reservoir/Play Locations

Chemically Enabled CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery in Multi-Porosity, Hydrothermally Altered Carbonates in the Southern Michigan Basin – Battelle Memorial Institute (Columbus, OH) plans to develop improved strategies for EOR from challenging reservoirs along fault systems through advanced field characterization, integrated physics-based machine learning and data analytics, laboratory process development, and optimized field tests. The results will provide strategies to improve oil recovery in complex carbonate formations and reinvigorate depleted oil fields.

DOE Funding: $7,999,659; Non-DOE Funding: $2,153,668; Total Value: $10,153,327

Improving Enhanced Oil Recovery Performance through Data Analytics and Next-Generation Controllable Completions – The University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND) aims to field-test an advanced machine learning approach to enable active (smart) well control during CO2 EOR. Successful completion of this field-based research will help reduce uncertainty associated with CO2 EOR performance and improve project economics.

DOE Funding: $8,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $2,000,000; Total Value: $10,000,000

Area of Interest 2: EOR Technologies for Unconventional Resources

Field-Pilot Test of Foam-Assisted Hydrocarbon Gas Injection in Bakken Formations – The University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY) plans to apply foam-assisted gas injection EOR through a field pilot test designed to pave a path for widespread deployment in unconventional plays. The knowledge gained will be used to calibrate computational simulators to better predict field performance, assess and mitigate potential risks, and ensure successful implementation in the field.

DOE Funding: $8,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $2,003,286; Total Value: $10,003,286

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage all of the selected projects. More information about the National Energy Technology Laboratory is available HERE . To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit their website HERE .