IOR-EOR now offers lowest-cost reserves additions

Guntis Moritis
Production Editor

TULSA, Apr. 22 -- Unlike in past years, improved or enhanced oil recovery is now the least costly method for adding reserves, according to a presentation at the 16th SPE/DOE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium, Apr. 21 in Tulsa.

In his presentation, Rafael Sandrea, president of IPC Petroleum Consultants Inc., Tulsa, estimated that IOR-EOR could add reserves for a capital expenditure of $2-4/bbl. He said this is less than the needed $4.30-6.25/bbl capex for heavy oil production, $4-6/bbl spending for deepwater, $12.86/bbl for acquisitions, and $14.42/bbl for global finding and development costs.

Sandrea also said the target for IOR-EOR remains huge. His estimate of discovered conventional oil in-place to date is 10.9 trillion bbl. In this estimate, he does not include the 3 trillion bbl of heavy oil and bitumen found in Alberta and the Orinoco region of Venezuela.

The world has produced only 1.028 trillion bbl of conventional oil, and Sandrea said that without expanding the use of IOR-EOR methods, the ultimate worldwide recovery factor would be only 22%.

He also cautioned that without extensive increases in recovery factors, world oil demand would face the following supply shortfalls: 2010, 2.7 million b/d; 2015, 5.4 million b/d; 2020, 12.1 million b/d; and 2030, 30.6 million b/d.

Sandrea said the $200-400 billion capital spending needed for adding 100 billion bbl of IOR-EOR reserves is in the same range as the industry's current global spending of $260 billion/year.

Contact Guntis Moritis at

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