Shale EOR Delivers, So Why Won’t the Sector Go Big?

Source: Pegasus Optimization.
A multimillion dollar compression system being assembled near a horizontal well pad site in Texas. Shale producers are waiting more than a year to get these assemblies, but once they do, the results are “incredible,” according to one analyst.

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The oil is there. The gas is nearby. The process is proven.

But is there an appetite to put it all together and redefine what it means to be a shale producer? This is the key question looming over the future of enhanced oil recovery for tight shale reservoirs, or simply shale EOR.

To answer it, unconventional oil producers are trying to weigh the options from what amounts to a complicated pros-and-cons list.

Developing a shale EOR program may mean drawing resources away from new exploration projects that have quicker returns, the same conundrum that has stymied the US refracturing market. On the other hand, shale EOR boasts impressive economics for companies willing to reinvest in land and wells already paid for.

This financial tug-of-war has been playing out in the shale sector since the spring of 2016. That was when Houston-based EOG Resources let it be known that its shale EOR program was boosting production from vintage horizontal wells in its Eagle Ford Shale asset in south Texas.

News of the development quickly made the operator synonymous with shale EOR. It is now widely understood that all of these projects rely on the huff-and-puff injection process using natural gas as the special agent that can unlock those additional barrels. Other key details are coming to light as well—such as the expanding scope of success.

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Shale EOR Delivers, So Why Won’t the Sector Go Big?

Trent Jacobs, JPT Digital Editor

01 May 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 5