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bakken eor
The University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is leading a high-profile project focused on demonstrating the potential for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to significantly increase oil production from the Bakken petroleum system under a broad range of economic conditions.

In the world of oil and gas, one thing is certain: prices will fluctuate. In the past year, oil prices in the United States have decreased more than 40%. This is great news for consumers, but what does it mean for the oil industry?

John Harju, Associate Director for Research at the EERC, believes the recent drop in the price of oil is causing people industry-wide to rethink business plans for 2015.

“When people rethink their budgets and consider Plan A, Plan B, or maybe even C or D, you know they are setting priorities right now,” said Harju.

Regardless of what oil prices will do, Harju sees 2015 and outward as a tremendous opportunity for EOR, and multiwell pads will ultimately facilitate that.

“We are looking at how we can use CO2 and other injected fluids to get more oil, ideally increasing our recovery by 50%–100%,” Harju said. “I think we are at about 4%–6% right now in the Bakken, so the question is, what can we do to get 8%–12% through EOR?”

Through the Bakken CO2 Storage and Enhanced Recovery Program, the EERC has teamed up with industry partners to explore the benefits of using CO2 for EOR. The program is currently in the second phase, which focuses on additional laboratory- and modeling-based investigations to support the design of an injection/production scheme and also focuses on providing technical support (additional laboratory work, modeling, and monitoring) to a pilot-scale field demonstration, with the ultimate goal of conducting pilot-scale injection test(s).

This partner-driven program provides stakeholders with new information and data regarding the ability to realize improvements in oil productivity through CO2 injection in tight oil-bearing formations.  

With rig counts down but well counts up, Harju says he would like to see even more efficiency in the oil production process. The big contributor could very well be EOR.

To discuss program membership, contact James Sorensen, EERC Senior Research Manager.