The oil and gas industry is facing notable challenges in 2016. Overproduction has driven oil prices down, renewable and green energies are on the rise and new exploration rules are limiting where oil producers can drill. To combat these challenges, producers are innovating drilling, extraction and production techniques with the goal of improving efficiency and minimizing costs. The following three techniques ensure optimum well productivity and are experiencing heavy adoption by oil producing countries around the world.
Enhanced Oil Recovery
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is a combination of techniques used to increase the amount of crude oil extracted from an oil field. Also known as tertiary recovery, EOR can increase well productivity by 75% and is usually employed in fields with low permeability or heavy oil. As EOR is expensive, it will only be approved for a field following heavy evaluation
The majority of wells drilled for oil are vertical wells i.e. drilled straight down. However, this is not always the optimum method for extracting oil and drilling at other angles can often result in greater well productivity. Directional drilling has been in use since the 1920s, and while the technology has improved it still retains the same concept of drilling in multiple angles to gain better access to oil reserves, enabling greater well production
Hydraulic Fracturing and Acidizing
Tight oil is the name given to oil reservoirs located in extremely impermeable rock formations. While conventional rock formations can be drilled with relative ease, tight oil formations require secondary production methods such as hydraulic fracturing and acidizing to access the oil.
Although some of the above techniques have been in use for close to 100 years, advances in drilling technology have improved the capabilities and the cost-effectiveness of these methods. As an increasing number of oil producers look for ways to minimize costs and maximize profit, innovating existing techniques takes a central role in oil operations. The global oil and gas industry no longer has the same stake in the world’s energy supply it once had, and must evolve if it wishes to maintain its place as a leading global energy supplier.