DOE earmarks $1.8 million for oil field technology projects

By OGJ editors

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 27 -- The Department of Energy will spend $1.8 million over a 3-year period on two new oil field technology projects, officials said.

In the first project, DOE is planning to co-fund research with two Albuquerque, NM-based companies, independent producer Enerdyne LLC and the service operator, Pumping Solutions Inc., to test a new submersible pump in New Mexico's San Juan basin. DOE is negotiating a project agreement that will fund about half of the $1.2 million demonstration cost.

Enerdyne projects that if the submersible pump succeeds in reducing production costs, an additional 780 million bbl of oil may be produced over the next 20 years from the Red Mountain reservoir in that basin. That reservoir now is on the verge of being prematurely abandoned because of poor economics and lack of effective technology, DOE said.

"Today, only 5% of the reservoir's original 2 billion bbl has been produced. The submersible well pump technology could prolong the life of the reservoir, ultimately leading to as much as 30% of the oil being produced," DOE officials said.

The second project, also with an independent company, will test new seismic surveying technology designed to find underground oil formations often invisible to conventional seismic. DOE said these "subtle" formations could hold up to 22 billion bbl of yet-to-be-discovered oil. Vecta Exploration Inc., of Dallas, Tex., along with the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, will test the new technology while exploring for oil in the Williston basin of North and South Dakota. DOE plans to fund $1.2 million of the $2.9 million project cost.

"Both projects are aimed at providing cutting-edge tools to America's independent oil and gas producers," said Carl Michael Smith, DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy. "With oil imports rising and the nation's energy security a continuing concern, new technologies like these offer ways for our own companies to find and produce more oil from our own fields."

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