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Tertiary Oil Recovery (Enhanced Oil Recovery)
Usually, only 30 percent of the oil from an oil well can be extracted using traditional methods, therefore, they are huge amounts of oil recoverable from the current extraction points or even already abandoned. This is because the larger amount of oil in the porous medium or matrix, ie in the rock, for example sandstones or carbonates.
There are technologies, processes or mechanisms known as: Tertiary Recovery or Enhanced Oil Recovery, whose application can help recover between 10 and 20 percent of the original oil in place, which could seem small, but it is incredible for the oil industry under the current recovery rates and production.
To extract oil recovery there are three basic mechanisms called plain and simple: primary, secondary and tertiary, Primary recovery is when to start production, the fluid pressure within the reservoir is sufficient to force the natural outlet of the oil through the hole.
During the life of the reservoir the pressure will drop and that's when required to do secondary recovery, which is the injection of water or gas to compensate for pressure loss and pump support means to extract the oil. Over time more water or gas is injected and even advanced pumping systems are used more oil is not recovered, and the decline begins, at this point should be applied Tertiary Recovery or Enhanced Recovery, which has several methods among which are the use of chemicals such as polymers and surfactants, heated (steam stimulation and in-situ combustion), miscible (hydrocarbon solvents), microbial, electrical, vibratory, horizontal drilling, among others.
Recent studies by the International Energy Agency show that 20% of world oil production in 2030 will come from Enhanced Oil Recovery. This analysis is based on knowledge of ongoing projects and which may be made in the near future. However, under the Enhanced Oil Recovery projects are most successful and go massing in the world, their participation will likely be higher. Clearly, Enhanced Oil Recovery projects will play a key role in the supply-demand balance of the future and therefore also in prices.
Enhanced Oil Recovery Methods Classification
There are different methods of enhanced recovery, allowing improve waterflood recoveries. Some apply heat and some not, where large groups are thermal and non-thermal. The heat is used in preference to heavy crudes, while the nonthermal are used for light crude, although some may be applicable to heavy crude, but have had little success in field applications.
They have also been proposed recovery methods which are other combinations, such as injection with surfactants and alkaline polymers. Similarly were suggested and tried many combinations of steam with chemicals and solvents.