Combining Chemical and Engineering Solutions for EOR

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 11:09

While many companies that provide enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology to the oil and gas industry focus either on chemical or engineering solutions, Dow Oil & Gas is somewhat unique in that it can draw on experience in both fields in order to provide solutions. A prime example is Dow’s Elevate product, an EOR conformance solution, designed to increase production from mature wells while reducing operator cost. Elevate combines engineering expertise through reservoir modelling with chemical innovations to stimulate recovery. These chemical solutions comprise of ‘foams’ of CO2, fluid and water to alter the mobility and increase vertical conformance; this helps decrease CO2 utilization rates and ultimately gets more oil moving up the pipe.

As well as Elevate, Dow introduced two other products at the Petroleum Exhibition and Conference of Mexico in October 2010 focused on addressing challenges in unconventional drilling environments, scale build-up during production, and declining oil and gas reserves. The first of these was Embark, a rheology modifier and drilling fluid base, designed for high pressure and high temperature environments. The second was Accent, designed to help address scale build-up during production, which can often prove costly to remove. Mexico is a market where these products could play an important role, as Pemex looks to increase production dramatically in its geologically challenging projects like Chicontepec, where it is currently trying a number of different EOR techniques.

One area where Dow considers itself an expert is in dealing with CO2-related challenges in the oil and gas industry. “Dow has been handling CO2 for decades, removing it as a contaminant from gas streams at refineries and gas processing facilities,” says Larry Ryan, General Manager of Oil and Gas at Dow Chemical explains. “By integrating our chemical knowledge of CO2 with our expertise in both oilfield chemistry and gas treatment, we can help produce solutions that not only stop CO2 from entering the environment, but also ‘put it to work’ – in a way that is beneficial to all parties.”

As well as pointing to the company’s Elevate solution, which puts CO2 to work by increasing energy supplied to EOR projects, Ryan also mentions Dow’s project in collaboration with Alstom Power, known as Advanced Amine CO2 Capture technology, which captures CO2 from the flue gas of power plants. This technology is being used in Mexico, but Ryan believes there are more opportunities to better manage CO2 in the country, and as an example points to the fact that a pipeline to deliver CO2 to Midwest Texas for use in EOR processes is currently under discussion.