Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saudi Armaco Getting Smarter with Water

Water injection, or waterflooding, is standard operating procedure with oil extraction: it's a way to sweep out oil in reservoirs and to maintain pressure. Don't let Matthew Simmons's freak attack of "Saudi Arabia is injecting millions of gallons of water into Ghawar" scare you; oil fields typically don't deplete until water cuts (the percentage of water the oozzes out of an oil well) crosses the 50% threshold; Ghawar's is roughly 28%.

Saudi Aramco is betting on new research to eviscerate (such a harsh, unusual term for this matter) more oil out of reservoirs. Armaco's new mojo - "Smart Water." It is indeed smart: the thought is by manipulating particular water properties - say, salinity and ionic content; the need of foreign fluids and chemicals are minimal for this - waterflooding can be enhanced by "coercing" the stubborn, rather difficult oil that prefers to stay in place by coming out, rather than staying put like a fat welfare queen stuck to a fat welfare magnet (her couch).

Read below or catch the whiff here.

Oil reservoirs are made of porous rocks, and from their microscopic pores, oil is extracted. Injecting conventional seawater displaces significant amounts of the oil from the pores. But some immovable oil remains, clinging to the rock.

Tuning water properties such as salinity and ion composition can change the tendency of remaining oil to cling to reservoir rocks, leading to additional oil recovery. That is one of the potential mechanisms that could explain the substantial increase observed in recent research.

- Brewskie

No comments:

Post a Comment