Enhanced Recovery Projects

Enhanced recovery encompasses very diverse and oftentimes sophisticated methods and technologies that are used to extract more oil and gas from the reservoir than conventional and even unconventional methods can recover. Whether your project involves injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) in a West Texas Permian Basin field, or steamflooding a California heavy oil reservoir, or using polymers to mobilize extremely viscous oil in places such as Alaska, Canada, China, or South America, you can be assured that NSAI’s technical staff has the requisite experience, knowledge, tools, and judgment to handle it. We can review existing simulation models or construct our own specialized reservoir simulation models as necessary to meet the specific technical challenges of your project. We perform a wide range of enhanced recovery evaluations ranging from initial project screening and feasibility to in-depth field studies and reserves evaluations.

If you need help with an Enhanced Recovery project, call either Rick Krenek in our Dallas office at 214-969-5401 or Lee George in our Houston office at 713-654-4950. We can also be contacted by email at for more information.

Unmatched Technical Capability

Almost all enhanced recovery projects involve injecting some form of gas, fluid, steam, polymers, surfactants (soap), natural gas liquids, air, other chemicals, or even microbes to mobilize hydrocarbons that are left behind in the reservoir. Since many of the injectants are quite expensive, understanding injectivity and how the reservoir is “processed” by the injectant is an important key to determining the outcome of the project. As needed, we can bring any or all of our engineering, geoscience, petrophysical, and operational disciplines to solve this problem. We use many methods to help understand the range of potential enhanced recovery, including:

  • Estimation of fundamental parameters such as original oil- or gas-in-place, recovery factor under conventional recovery methods, reservoir continuity, injectivity, and conformance
  • Analysis of analog or pilot projects
  • Analytical approaches or simulation models including compositional or thermal modeling
  • Dimensionless response curves and type curves
  • Special considerations such as miscibility, injectant recovery/recycling, processing rate, and asphaltene precipitation
Deep Knowledge and Broad Expertise

We routinely evaluate the more common, well-known enhanced recovery projects involving gas, CO2, steam, polymer, or nitrogen injection. For example, our CO2 expertise includes nearly all of the projects in the Permian Basin, not to mention the rest of the United States. Some CO2 projects, like the SACROC Unit, have been evaluated by our team on multiple occasions and for various reasons. In California where steamflooding is prevalent, we are familiar with all major production methods utilized in the state, including cyclic and continuous steamflooding processes, as well as the unique geological and petrophysical issues concerning diatomite, unconsolidated sands, and fractured cherts. Through our work with over 40 clients, we have gained experience with California’s distinctive production issues such as steam breach management, tight well spacing, subsidence, and wellbore integrity. In the Bay of Campeche, we have evaluated the giant Cantarell Field, perhaps the world’s largest nitrogen injection project. Our experience covers the full range of injectant miscibility states from fully immiscible, to partially miscible, to fully miscible projects. In addition to well-known enhanced recovery techniques, we have unique knowledge of or experience with the following areas:

  • Specialized enhanced recovery such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), co-production, alkaline-surfactant-polymer (ASP) processes, and various chemical, thermal, natural gas liquids (NGL) and water-alternating-gas (WAG) injection
  • Unusual or less well known enhanced recovery such as in-situ combustion, high pressure air injection (HPAI), micellar processes, and microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR)
  • CO2 sequestration and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) including 45Q credits and UIC Class VI wells
  • CO2 source fields
  • Enhanced recovery in unconventional plays
Worldwide Experience

Our knowledge and expertise covers a diverse range of projects both in the United States and around the world. Domestically, we have evaluated HPAI in North and South Dakota, CO2 floods in Wyoming, CO2 source fields in Arizona and Colorado, polymer projects in Oklahoma, co-production projects in the Texas Gulf Coast, and steamfloods in California. Internationally, we have evaluated SAGD projects in Canada, nitrogen injection in Mexico, natural gas injection/recycling in Qatar, and steamfloods in Argentina, Colombia, and Madagascar. A few examples of our enhanced recovery project experience are shown below:

  • Angola – Estimated in-place and recoverable volumes for the Cameia development, a deepwater carbonate discovery located in Block 21-09 offshore Angola. The pending development plan contemplated gas cycling for condensate recovery supplemented with water injection.
  • Brazil – Conduct annual reserves and contingent resources evaluations of the PetroReconcavo S.A. interest in 17 fields located onshore Brazil. Many of these fields are currently under waterflooding operations.
  • Colombia – Estimated reserves and future revenue for Abarco, Cocorna, Girasol, Jazmin, Nare, Teca, Under River, and Velasquez Fields located in the Middle Magdelena Basin. These fields contain a combination of heavy oil under steamflood and intermediate gravity oil under primary and secondary recovery.
  • Madagascar – Assessed the oil reserves, contingent oil resources, and prospective oil resources for the Triassic age Amboloando Sand in PSC 3104. Our integrated study included review and analysis of a steamflood pilot project and estimation of 1P and 2P oil reserves and future revenue from steamflood development.
  • Mexico – Evaluated the offshore Akal Field for Pemex Exploración y Producción, which involved creation of a compositional simulation model to evaluate enhanced recovery operations.