The term ‘enhanced oil recovery’ (EOR) refers to the technology used to extract crude oil that cannot be extracted through conventional technologies from oil reservoirs. It is also termed as tertiary recovery process as it takes place after primary and secondary oil recoveries. Oil extracted via primary recovery accounts for 5% to 15% of the total reservoir while secondary recovery can extract about 20% to 60% of the total oil present in the reservoir. By installing enhanced oil recovery technology, 35% to 75% oil can easily be extracted from the oil reservoir.
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Enhanced oil recovery method is widely being adopted by the oil & gas market participants for their aged and newly explored wells. In addition, new technologies are being developed to improve the efficiency of the enhanced oil recovery technique. GCC is one of the mature oil extractors and has quite a good number of aged oil wells. To extract the proved reserves, oil extraction companies are pushing the use of enhanced oil recovery in existing oil wells. Besides, a number of new methods are being developed in the market such as chemical enhanced oil recovery to reduce the cost of oil recovery.
On the basis of technology, enhanced oil recovery market in GCC can be broadly categorised as thermal enhanced oil recovery, gas/CO2 enhanced oil recovery, and chemical enhanced oil recovery. Thermal enhanced oil recovery technology consumes hot water and steam to stimulate the extraction of crude oil from the reservoir. Old oil wells of GCC, with heavy and viscous oil flow are adopting this technique on a larger scale. The commonly used steam injection enhanced oil recovery methods are cyclic steam stimulation (CSS), steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) and steam flooding. Gas injection enhanced oil recovery utilises CO2. Therefore, it also solves the greenhouse gas disposal issue. Growing regulatory norms of GCC to reduce greenhouse gas emission is therefore supplementing the gas enhanced oil recovery method. Gas enhanced oil recovery can be further categorised as CO2 based, nitrogen based and hydrogen based. Further, chemical injection enhanced oil recovery can be categorized as polymer based, surfactant solution based, alkali based, microbial based and others. One of the major technological trends of the GCC enhanced oil recovery market is to combine chemical enhanced oil recovery technique with other EOR technologies to derive maximum advantage.
GCC is expected to show the highest growth rate in the global enhanced oil recovery market. This is mainly attributed to the growing number of oil reserves which exist in the Middle East. More than 8 Bn barrels of oil are expected to remain performing primary and secondary operations on Gulf of Mexico offshore reservoirs. Such factors are pushing the demand for new enhanced oil recovery installation in GCC. Due to such factors coupled with Go Green strategies, GCC is developing a number of enhanced oil recovery techniques that are renewable or bio-based, such as the development of solar-powered thermal enhanced oil recovery
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Many Gulf countries are witnessing gas supply shortage; however, they have high subsidies for fuel which alter the retail price of gas. Thus, market participants such as GlassPoint developed solar steam generators for the oil & gas industry to be used in enhanced oil recovery. One of the key strategies of the GCC enhanced oil recovery market is to develop patented technologies. For instance, Gulf Energy LLC has developed microbial enhanced oil recovery system considering water scarcity in GCC. Further, companies are also involved in the strategy of expansion through exploration of new fields. With the emergence of the GCC EOR market, it is expected that affiliated markets such as technology services, maintenance services and consulting services will also grow. Market participants are also expanding their business in the service model.
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