DOE reports EOR success at Lawrence field in Illinois

Enhanced oil recovery has been successfully applied to increase production at an Illinois oil field well past its peak by more than 300%, the US Department of Energy said on Apr. 25. DOE said a project it supports at Lawrence field increased production to 65-75 b/d from 16 b/d using an innovative alkaline surfactant polymer (ASP) flooding technique. Rex Energy Corp., State College, Pa., is the field’s operator.

ASP flooding increased the overall oil cut in the 15-acre project area to 12% from 1%, according to DOE. It said based on this potential, Rex Energy will expand testing to a 58-acre portion of the field, and plans to invest in ASP flooding technology on 351 acres immediately south of the current operations in 2013. Continued success and private investment in these ASP pilots may renew the life of the entire Lawrence field, where production began in 1906 and various operators have produced more than 410 million bbl, DOE said.

The project is part of a larger effort under way at the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) that DOE’s Fossil Energy Office supports. ISGS, which is part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is characterizing Pennsylvanian Bridgeport sandstone and Mississippian Cypress sandstone reservoirs, which underlie Lawrence field, to define remaining oil reserves and project how additional oil could be economically recovered from them, DOE said.

It said the formations are two of Illinois’s most prolific, but they are also structurally complex. ISGS hopes that ASP flooding proves successful in realizing the additional 130 million bbl of oil it has estimated to be technically recoverable from the Lawrence field, DOE said. If successful there, the technology could be used in similar fields throughout the US, it indicated.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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