OU and MidCon Energy developing cost-effective next generation advanced EOR technologies

April 23, 2010

University of Oklahoma researchers are developing a new chemical enhanced oil recovery technology to tap the estimated 300 billion barrels of oil left behind in existing U.S. reservoirs after conventional and secondary oil recovery methods.

A team of researchers from OU's School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering and Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering has joined with Tulsa-based Mid-Con Energy to develop and test this new cost-effective chemical EOR technique in existing Oklahoma fields.

"We are at a crossroads," say Bor-Jier (Ben) Shiau, OU assistant professor and director of the Mewbourne Applied Surfactant Laboratory. "The demands cleaner energy produced from coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind and ."

Only 25 percent of the nation's domestic has been produced, yet big oil companies abandoned domestic production long ago for deepwater drilling off the coast. In Oklahoma, independent oil producers own the majority of reserves, but production from marginal or stripper wells yields 10 barrels of oil or less per day.

Mid-Con Energy's experience with waterflooding will prove valuable in the field. Waterflooding is the precursor to flooding the team will use in the five pilot projects in the state. Cushing, the first pilot project site, will take place by the end of the year. The other four project pilot sites have yet to be determined.

OU will develop the new cost-effective surfactants to reduce the risk of producing the oil left behind. And, if the chemical EOR technique proves successful, producing these new surfactants or 'soaps' will require a new manufacturing plant and labor force in Oklahoma--an of this research.

The U.S. Department of Energy ($500K) and EDGE ($2M) funded the three-year project that involves university-industry collaboration, plus the added economic development and education benefits.

Explore further: Undersea channels might aid oil recovery

Related Stories

Carbon sequestration field test begins

May 16, 2007

The U.S. Department of Energy says its Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium has started its first enhanced oil recovery field test in Illinois.

Coal-to-liquids plant is considered

May 21, 2007

The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a feasibility study for a commercial 50,000-barrel-a-day coal-to-liquids facility in the Illinois coal basin.

'Green' gasoline on the horizon?

January 13, 2009

University of Oklahoma researchers believe newer, more environmentally friendly fuels produced from biomass could create alternative energy solutions and alleviate dependence on foreign oil without requiring changes to current ...

How much oil have we used?

May 7, 2009

Estimates of how much crude oil we have extracted from the planet vary wildly. Now, UK researchers have published a new estimate in the International Journal of Oil, Gas and Coal Technology that suggests we may have used ...

Recommended for you

US ends bulk collection of phone data

November 30, 2015

The US government has halted its controversial program to collect vast troves of information from Americans' phone calls, a move prompted by the revelations of former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.