BP Uses Enhanced Oil Recovery Technology at Clair Ridge

BP announced Thursday that it is deploying the first sanctioned large-scale offshore enhanced oil recovery (EOR) scheme using reduced-salinity water injection technology. It will be used to significantly increase the amount of oil that can be recovered from the UK's largest hydrocarbon resource.

Dubbed 'LoSal EOR', the technology is being used on the Clair Ridge development, west of Shetland in UK waters. The intention of the technology is to extract a higher proportion of oil over the life of the field from the rocks deep below the seabed than has previously been possible.

The $7.2 billion (GBP 4.5 billion) development at Clair Ridge includes around $120 million for the desalination facilities to create low salinity water for 'waterflooding' from sea water. BP estimates this will enable the production of around 42 million barrels of additional oil compared to water flooding with conventional seawater, making a significant contribution to the estimated 640 million barrels of recoverable oil from the development.

The Mad Dog Phase 2 project in the Gulf of Mexico is the second offshore project where there are plans to include a low-salinity water flood to support increased oil recovery from the field. The facility will have a low salinity water flood injection capacity of more than 250,000 barrels of water per day.

The technology has already been successfully tested in a field trial in the Endicott field, Alaska, between 2008 and 2009, where low salinity water was injected in one well and the incremental oil production observed in another. Endicott proved up the laboratory trials at full scale.

"LoSal EOR and other technologies developed by BP are increasing the world's energy supplies, improving recovery rates and getting more for every dollar we invest," said Bob Fryar, BP executive vice president for production. "LoSal EOR has immense potential for increasing the amount of oil recovered from the ground. If it can be successfully applied to similar fields around the world it will increase the world’s recoverable oil by billions of barrels."

BP has decided to deploy its LoSal EOR technology in all appropriate oil field developments from now on, and is assessing whether retrofitting some existing fields is commercially viable and technically feasible. As a result BP has at least five new and retrofit projects under active evaluation after Clair Ridge. 

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