Special Report: Performing EOR the Halliburton wayby Indrajit Sen on Nov 16, 2016
Why do you think EOR has become so impotant, especially in the Middle East?
EOR is a methodology that has been used for decades. It consists of providing energy to oil reservoirs by injecting fluids to increase daily oil production, improve recovery rates, and extend the reservoir life.
There are different types of EOR, mainly chemical, thermal, and miscible gas, which are selected according to the reservoir properties, exploitation stage, fluid and facilities availability, and forecasted economy.
Many reservoirs in the Middle East are approaching – or are already – at the mature stage. In order to arrest declining production and leave less oil behind, EOR is a suitable technology. Also, as the Middle East starts exploiting heavy oil reservoirs, EOR will grow, given the very low recovery factors of primary and secondary production methods.
What EOR projects – particularly in the Middle East – has Halliburton been involved in?
Halliburton has been engaged throughout the world on EOR projects. Specific examples include the injection of silicates in the North Sea, CO2 in the Arab Gulf, and polymer in Asia Pacific. There is a continued role that our technical services groups are playing with our customers, such as in consulting and project management, to support the design, evaluation, and optimisation of EOR.
Practically, all our product service lines (PSL) provide support to EOR projects and, by customer request, we integrate multi-PSL efforts for delivering successful execution of complex projects.
What EOR techniques and methods does Halliburton employ, and what role does R&D play in solving the problems of your clients in the region?
Halliburton works very closely with our customers in a collaborative environment. We listen to our customers [and their] individual challenges. We have, for example, advanced software and workflows that we apply to the asset to maximise its value.
We also engage with our customers to develop specific technologies that will help them to access and extract hydrocarbons and monitor the processes. We do this across Halliburton, and not just with EOR.
How does your product line boost performance when it comes to your EOR offering?
Halliburton is aware that, in difficult economic conditions, the oil industry tends to fall back on remedial productivity tactics. Halliburton integrates its oilfield equipment, tools, and technology, along the value chain, to reduce risk and cost per incremental barrel, shorten the negative cash flow period during EOR pilot and commercial deployments, and adapt and develop methods to expand EOR applicability to harsher conditions.
What are the current EOR projects that Halliburton is working on in the region? Halliburton provides support to a large number of EOR projects throughout its PSLs. One project in the GCC that deserves particular attention is the visualisation and design of workflows for technical and business processes for cyclic and continuous steam injection operations.
Halliburton has been pioneering these kinds of projects. The successful completion of the project was due largely to the onsite deployment of a seasoned team with expertise in heavy-oil production, thermal EOR, and digital oilfields, supported by Halliburton Landmark. This project is one of the first digital oilfield projects of this magnitude in steam flooding and cyclic steam that considers the integrated optimisation of production networks, injection networks, and reservoir models.
The expected benefit for this project is a substantial reduction of the production cost per barrel. For the operator, this is a benefit of paramount importance, given the current low oil prices and the relatively high operational cost associated with many heavy-oil fields. This kind of project sets a new industry standard for the operation of heavy-oil and EOR fields.
How has Halliburton seen the below-par crude oil prices affect the development of EOR projects in this region? Do you expect to see more investment in EOR projects in the future?
History has taught us the impact on worldwide EOR of past low oil price periods: significant reductions in research and development, lost expertise, and suspended projects that are never revisited. The oil industry needs to avoid [these issues] this time.
Operators are currently implementing three types of strategies. [They are] continuing to design, pilot, and plan deployments; further optimising projects already in place; and halting efforts until conditions improve. We believe that, while keeping costs in check, a certain EOR investment level can be maintained, and operators in the GCC are in a good position – maybe the best in the world – to do that.