Engineers meeting in Tulsa share technologies to boost oil production

The 19th Improved Oil Recovery Symposium in Tulsa showcases the ways companies are boosting oil production with new technologies.
by Jay F. Marks Modified: April 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm •  Published: April 14, 2014
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Petroleum engineers from around the world are gathering here this week to share the latest advances in maximizing oil production.

Officials from three companies involved in enhanced oil recovery operations spoke Monday at the opening session of the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ 19th Improved Oil Recovery Symposium at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center. The five-day event, which runs through Wednesday, drew more than 800 professionals from more than two dozen countries.

Event chairman Sada D. Joshi said enhanced recovery methods remain an important part of the oil and natural gas industry, even with domestic production booming.

Joshi, president of Tulsa’s Joshi Technologies International Inc., said such processes can rejuvenate mature oil fields or boost production in newer unconventional plays.

“We have plenty of room to keep going,” he said.

Enhanced oil recovery projects currently account for about 11 percent of domestic production.

Monday’s panelists highlighted the differences between smaller independent operators and major oil producers, as executives from Chaparral Energy Inc., Occidental Petroleum Corp. and ExxonMobil shared insight on their operations.

Chaparral is operating the largest enhanced oil recovery project in Oklahoma with the Burbank Field in Osage County.

The privately held company has invested $325 million in the project, which represents about half of Chaparral’s reserves. It includes a 68-mile pipeline that carries carbon dioxide from a fertilizer plant in Coffeyville, Kan. Scott Wehner, Chaparral’s senior vice president of enhanced oil recovery operations, said the company began injecting CO2 into the ground last summer.

Officials hope production from the field will peak at about 12,000 barrels of oil a day for Chaparral.

Wehner said smaller projects can pay off as well, pointing to a Chaparral venture in the Texas Panhandle. He said the Booker field is composed of high-quality sandstone tucked between layers of shale where traditional drilling methods unearthed only about 12 percent of the 18 million barrels of recoverable oil in place.

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by Jay F. Marks
Energy Reporter
Jay F. Marks has been covering Oklahoma news since graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1996. He worked in Sulphur and Enid before joining The Oklahoman in 2005. Marks has been covering the energy industry since 2009.
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