Developments in Heavy-Oil EOR for the Era of Low Oil Pricing
Jose Gonzalo Flores
In low oil-price environments, it is customary to cut expenses, reduce staff and postpone most, if not all, capital investments. While this strategy may be financially sound in the short term, it completely disregards the essence of the oil business, that is the timely replacement of reserves. The problem further complicates in the case of heavy oil projects, where costs are higher and the product price is even lower.
This presentation confronts the audience with the dilemma of reducing cost and at the same time sustaining production and increasing recoveries. The balance resides in the quality of decisions, such as when and where to invest, and that results meet budgets, a common issue in our industry. In the most complex and financially challenging case of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) projects, decision quality in combination with “fit-for-purpose” technology implementations offer the most promising middle-point, this is the central idea in this presentation. By providing 8 examples of innovative technologies to help reduce uncertainty, cost and time for commercial EOR oil, and 3 successful case studies, the audience will gain confidence in the proposition that is perfectly viable to double recoveries in the next 15 years. Finally, EOR is a business, as such, it needs to compete favorably in cost and time with other alternatives present in a company’s E&P portfolio, particularly in low-price environments. A strategy, illustrated by an example, on how to divert from the traditional engineering approach in favor of a managerial decision approach will help engineers justifying viable recovery projects
Jose Gonzalo Flores is an independent consultant and instructor in the areas of production and reservoir engineering of heavy oils. Previously, he worked for Schlumberger and Occidental Petroleum Corp. covering a 30-year period, in roles involving the structuring, leading, advising and field implementation of production optimization and improved recovery projects, and as instructor for NExT, globally. Flores holds a B.S. degree from the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Lima, Peru, and M.E. and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma, all in Petroleum Engineering. He is considered an expert in the areas of reservoir and production enhancement and strategies to increase the recovery factor in heavy oil and mature fields, and has over 45 publications in the literature. Flores is a member of the SPE, and regularly serves in steering and technical roles in conferences, forums and workshops. Currently, he serves in the SPE Editorial Review Committee and as co-chair of the 2016 SPE Latin America Heavy Oil Conference.