the life of
Historic photos of Texas gushers depict some oil comes out by itself, but the rest must be helped along by pumping, water injection or enhanced oil recovery (EOR). This allows us to extend the life and get more production from existing assets, known as base business. Chevron invests heavily in base business, much of it in EOR. Already, years of investment in technology and efficiency—including oil and gas projects—have flattened Chevron’s natural decline curve for existing assets from 14 percent to less than 2 percent over the last several years. Chevron’s goal of growing production depends on a strong-performing base business, and that means a big role for EOR.
how gas EOR technology works
Gas injection accounts for nearly 60 percent of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) production in the United States. These gas EOR projects require sound engineering design and carefully planned pilot tests before full-field development. Laboratory testing and reservoir simulation are the primary tools in gas EOR – and Chevron has industry-leading capabilities in both areas.
Our gas EOR laboratory, which we can operate at high-pressure (>25,000 psi) and temperature (~300°F), allows us to understand: how oil, gas and water interact, and how easily oil can flow when it contacts with the gas. We do this by testing the fluid behavior in specialized equipment called PVT cells as well as flowing gas through rock filled with oil at the same temperature and pressure as the oil reservoir.
Reservoir simulation of the gas injection process, which involves solving mathematical equations on a numerical grid to predict the flow of fluids, is key to understanding recovery methods, process design and reservoir performance. To represent the complex interaction of gas and oil in the reservoirs, simulations are required to run models with up to 100 million numerical grid cells, which cannot be efficiently performed on a single computer processor. Thus we utilize hundreds of computer processors, which work in parallel with complex mathematical packages that simulate the interaction and flow of oil and gas through the reservoir. We also have project-tested workflows for gas EOR screening, pilot and full-field design, and performance forecasts.
Chevron has a long history in gas EOR field applications. Currently, we are operating a variety of gas EOR projects, including at the supergiant Tengiz Field in Kazakhstan, Rangely Field in Colorado, conventional oil projects in the Permian Basin in Texas, and Agbami Field offshore Nigeria.
how waterflood with polymer works
View a below-ground look at waterflood/polymer injection.
surfactants in action
View a below-ground look at waterflood/polymer/surfactant injection.
taking care of base business
Discovering a new source of oil and gas is great. At Chevron, we’re proud of our exploration success. But we’re also expert at extending the life of what we have – our base business – to help fund future energy developments. Learn how we apply technology and human ingenuity to keeping our base business flowing.
EOR's vast potential
New oil discoveries grab headlines. But enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies aim to recover billions of barrels already discovered, yet historically beyond reach.
With such huge potential, Chevron invests time, money and talent to continuously improve steamflooding (new horizontal wells in California, for example, yield 10 times more oil than conventional wells). In the Partitioned Zone, between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Chevron’s Wafra steamflood leveraged existing steamflooding technology to carbonate as well as sandstone reservoirs.
Meanwhile, many Chevron professionals focus on non-thermal EOR, which company experts believe could create a new class of project assets and be comparable in importance to game-changing technologies like hydraulic fracturing. Taming the non-thermal EOR frontier could launch a specialized, sub-industry, integrating chemical design and manufacturing, logistics, reservoir management and complex field systems to deliver new energy to meet the world’s growing demand.