Petroleum Technology Luncheon - September 12th

The next Petroleum Technology Luncheon is on Tuesday September 12th.

Long Beach Petroleum Club
3636 Linden Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90807
Registration: 11:30 AM
Buffet Lunch: 11:30 AM
Presentation: 12:00-1:00 PM
$30.00 members (+$1 credit card fee)
$30.00 for non members (+$1 credit card fee)
$10 for students

Ethane-Based EOR: An Innovative and Profitable Opportunity for a Low Oil-Price Environment

Patrick L. McGuire
International Reservoir Technologies, Inc.
SPE Distinguished Lecturer


After decades of research and field application, the use of CO2 as an EOR injectant has proven to be very successful. However, there are limited supplies of low cost CO2 available, and there are also significant drawbacks, especially corrosion, involving its use. Both simulation data and field examples demonstrate that ethane is an excellent EOR injectant. The rich gasses and volatile oils developed in the U.S. shale reservoirs have brought about an enormous increase in ethane production. In the U.S., ethane is no longer priced as a petrochemical feedstock, but is priced as fuel, and substantial quantities of ethane are being flared. Ethane-based EOR can supplement the very successful CO2-based EOR industry. There simply isn’t enough low-cost CO2 available to undertake all of the potential gas EOR projects in the U.S. The current abundance of low-cost ethane presents a significant opportunity to add new gas EOR projects in the U.S. and elsewhere. The ethane-based EOR opportunity can be summarized as:

  1. CO2-based EOR works well, and is well understood.
  2. Ethane is better than CO2 for EOR.
  3. Ethane is simpler than CO2 for EOR.
  4. Ethane is now abundant and inexpensive in the U.S. This increases ethane availability and lowers ethane costs elsewhere.
  5. Recent additions to the growing ethane infrastructure now deliver ethane to locations where ethane-based EOR targets are plentiful.

The take-home message: "Ethane-based EOR is a viable option in many areas, with a robust combination of low costs and high incremental recovery."


Patrick L. McGuire is a reservoir engineer with over 40 years of experience. He holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering. He is a noted expert on Enhanced Oil Recovery and has worked on gas injection and low salinity EOR opportunities across the globe. He worked for many years for ARCO and BP on the North Slope of Alaska, which is home to some of the world's largest EOR projects. He authored numerous technical papers on EOR, and holds seven U. S. patents. Mr. McGuire previously served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer, and has addressed over 30 SPE Sections.