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Mobility and Conformance Control for Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery

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Mobility and Conformance Control for Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) via Thickeners, Foams, and Gels – A Detailed Literature Review of 40 Years of Research R.M. Enick and D.K. Olsen Final Report, DOE/NETL-2012/1540. Contract DE-FE0004003 Activity 4003.200.01

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been used commercially to recover oil from geologic formations by enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies for over 40 years. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy and its predecessor organizations have supported a large number of laboratory and field projects over the past decades in an effort to improve the oil recovery process including investments to advanced reservoir characterization, mobility control, and conformance of CO2 flooding.

Currently, CO2 EOR provides about 280,000 barrels of oil per day, just over 5 percent of the total U.S. crude oil production. Recently CO2 flooding has become so technically and economically attractive that CO2 supply, rather than CO2 price, has been the constraining developmental factor. Carbon dioxide EOR is likely to expand in the United States in upcoming years due to “high” crude oil prices, natural CO2 source availability, and possible large anthropogenic CO2 sources through carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology advances.

This literature review concentrates on the history and development of CO2 mobility control and profile modification technologies in the hope that stimulating renewed interest in these chemical techniques will help to catalyze new efforts to overcome the geologic and process limitations such as poor sweep efficiency, unfavorable injectivity profiles, gravity override, high ratios of CO2 to oil produced, early breakthrough, and viscous fingering. Carbon dioxide mobility control technologies are in-depth, long-term processes that cause CO2 to exhibit mobility comparable to oil. Profile modification and conformance control are achieved by a near-wellbore, short-term process primarily intended to greatly reduce the permeability of a thief zone.

The premise of this report is that a thorough review of the literature related to the past successes and failures of lab- and field-scale efforts to reduce CO2 mobility using CO2 thickeners, foams, and gels will provide a baseline understanding of the remaining challenges and the research needed to advance this technology. Solving these challenging CO2 flooding problems will ultimately increase domestic oil production via CO2 EOR. This review has highlighted a number of successes.


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Citation Robert M Enick and David K Olsen, Mobility and Conformance Control for Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) via Thickeners, Foams, and Gels – A Detailed Literature Review of 40 Years of Research, 2018-12-03, https://edx.netl.doe.gov/dataset/mobility-and-conformance-control-for-carbon-dioxide-enhanced-oil-recovery-co2-eor-via-thickeners-foams-and-gels-a-detailed-literature-review-of-40-years-of-research
Is NETL associated Yes
NETL Point of Contact Dustin Crandall
NETL Point of Contact's Email Dustin.Crandall@netl.doe.gov
NETL program or project RIC