Due to COVID-19 and reduction in global oil demand, oil companies are forced to reduce budgets, and oil exploration has been cut or reduced. Upon return to pre-COVID-19 demand levels, more oil production will be required from existing wells. In this context, polymer flooding can increase the recovery factor over waterflooding by up to 20% at only $3 to $6 per extra barrel of oil.
At the same time, societal pressure is growing and requires immediate action to reach the net-zero production emission target by 2050. Polymer flooding can contribute towards meeting that target by reducing CO2 emissions per barrel by 3–6 times. This reduction is primarily achieved through a more efficient sweep of oil within the reservoir, resulting in water cut reduction and, ultimately, a decrease in required pumping energy at the producers and less taxing on fluid separation equipment and processes. With the acceleration of the recovery of oil, several years of water and energy consumption are avoided for surface facility operations, including all operational factors (e.g., fuel, travel, utilities, supply, etc.).
Currently, 60% of global brownfield production is from water injection. Polymer flooding is a proven technology with more than 300 projects worldwide. This EOR technique has been economically and technically successful in full-field projects, such as India (Mangala), Canada (Pelican Lake, Suffield, Medicine Hat), Argentina (Diadema, Grimbeek), China (Daqing, Shengli, Dagang, etc.), the Middle East (Marmul) and Eastern Europe (Patos Marinza, Kazakhstan fields. These projects report an average Utilization Factor of 1.7 kg of polymer per incremental barrel of oil. Polymer flooding can generate significant short-term production with a low additional cost compared to exploration and greenfield development.
SNF offers modular surface facilities connected to existing water flowlines for polymer flooding operations. This “plug and pump” approach accelerates the implementation of polymer injection. In turn, the modular approach allows for incremental deployment from pilot to full-field development.