EOR and IOR to increase Petronas’ production by 30%

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KUALA LUMPUR: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) expects its enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and improved oil recovery (IOR) initiatives to produce 150,000 more barrels of oil per day (bpm) by 2020, up from 500,000 bpd today.

“We have about 20 billion barrels in reserves and we can only extract an average of 35% of it. IOR and EOR have the potential to increase the recovery factor to 45%, which can be translated to an additional two billion barrels in reserves,” vice-president of petroleum management Adif Zulkifli told reporters during the 2014 Offshore Technology Conference Asia here yesterday.

Adif added that Petronas currently has 14 brownfields to be implemented with EOR in the pipeline. For newfield IOR and EOR projects, he said “there are a lot of projects” but did not provide a figure.

Of the 14 brownfields, the Tapis oilfield will see its first injection in July with production starting early next year. Guntong, Angsi, and Dulang are heading towards final investment decision. Baronia is now in the tendering process, while Betty has just received approval, said Adif.

The lifespan of the Tapis oilfield, which has been in production for 30 years, could be prolonged to 2040 with EOR, added Adif.

Dr Nasir Darman, Petronas’ head of exploration and production technology, said on Wednesday that the Tapis project is expected to increase reserves by more than 140 million barrels of oil, raising production by a factor of eight to 10 times from the current 3,000 to 5,000 bpd.

Costs are high because of the complexity of doing it offshore. Platforms have limited space for additional equipment and there are a limited number of wells, he said. Surface facilities would have to be refurbished to be made ready for EOR.

To reduce costs, he said Petronas would focus on finding innovation that would drive costs down, finding the right partner where Petronas does not have the expertise, and providing incentives for inventors to undertake the EOR projects.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 28, 2014.