Adriano Gentilucci, commercial director, IMEA, Dow Oil, Gas and Mining speaks to Pipeline Magazine’s Nadia Saleem about regional EOR opportunities
What’s your outlook for regional opportunities for Dow in the Middle East?
There has been a growing interest from regional oil and gas players to implement secondary and tertiary schemes during the production planning process, as less than 30 per cent of the original oil in place is recovered through primary production methods.
Over the years, Dow has introduced innovative technologies that help reach and recover more oil in tertiary recovery operations. As such, we foresee an increase in activities around the region over the near future as regional companies seek our expertise.
A differentiating factor is that we are among a few companies worldwide that have the capability to provide unparalleled expertise in both - surfactant formulations and water treatment - applications that works in synergy to deliver maximum efﬁciency out of EOR efforts.
Following the Sadara Chemicals stake increase, are you looking at other regional investments?
Dow has operated in the region for almost 50 years and our long-standing presence is indicative of our focus on the growth of the business in this region. We continue to maintain strong relationships with multiple partners through Joint Ventures, which allows us to penetrate into local markets and share industry expertise.
We are continuing to invest in innovation with the opening of the new Middle East Innovation Centre at KAUST and the Dow India Technology Centre, both of which will be catalysts to collaboration with customers to create sustainable innovations that are tailor made for the unique needs of each market.
Do you see Oman as an opportunity considering their push on EOR for heavy oil?
According to the sustainability report released by the Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) last year, it is anticipated that by 2025 more than 23 per cent of the PDO’s production will come from EOR projects. Over the past few years, we have witnessed an upsurge in our activities in Oman as more projects are being announced by local operators.
However, we have also seen an increasing trend in Oman to capture CO2 for use in EOR operations. We know that tertiary oil recovery using CO2 is an inefﬁcient process if the CO2 is in supercritical form, since its lower viscosity to water and oil can lead to a number of conformance issues. We believe we can help maximise Oman’s EOR efforts and help address this problem through some of our advanced EOR technologies.
Dow’s ELEVATE CO2 EOR Conformance Solution uses “foams” of supercritical CO2 ﬂuid and water in the formation to alter the mobility and improve vertical conformance. These changes can lead to decreased CO2 utilisation rates and, ultimately, help move more oil up the pipe.
What is the scope for Bahrain developing its tight oil and gas? Is Dow looking to get involved there?
With the discovery of Bahrain’s largest oil and gas reserves in eight decades, it is a given that there is a massive opportunity for oil recovery there. However, since these are tight oil and deep gas resources, traditional EOR methods will not be sufﬁcient. Our deep knowledge of the region allows Dow to focus on these unique needs and create bespoke solutions to meet the market’s challenges. We will continue to invest in our R&D to further develop our EOR solutions, especially catering to the challenges faced by the oil operators in the region.
What new technology can Dow bring for increasing the EOR efficiency, while being cost-friendly?
With natural gas production expansion being the primary focus in the region there is less capital investment available for new oilﬁeld developments, Enhanced Oil Recovery techniques that have low capital costs are therefore in high demand. That said, the incremental cost of additional oil recovered is an important factor in the implementation of EOR projects. This is where our R&D experience, backed by the support of our global technical service team delivers cost-effective and environmentally sensitive solutions to enhance all phases of an asset’s performance.
Over the years, Dow has introduced innovative technologies that help reach and recover more oil in tertiary recovery operations. Dow, as a leading global manufacturer of surfactants, can develop customised surfactant formulations for speciﬁc reservoir conditions depending on the ﬁeld characteristics. For example, the ELEVATE™ line of CO2 foaming surfactants help to improve CO2 conformance in heterogeneous reservoirs or those with mobility control or gravity override issues. Also, reservoir conditions - such as natural fractures in the reservoir rock or resistance from heavier or more viscous oils - can cause traditional water ﬂooding to be less effective in injection operations. The addition of a surfactant from Dow’s ELEVATE lines can further increase oil recovery by lower surface tension between oil and the reservoir rock. To effectively apply this solution in an oilﬁeld, our technical service and support team offers reservoir evaluations and modelling, customized product selection and validation, economic evaluations and ﬁeld implementation.
In Middle East oil ﬁelds, injection of seawater as an EOR technique is widely used and is critical in maintaining the production of crude (on an average 10 -15 per cent extra oil). Dow has delivered state- of-the-art water treatment technologies such as DOW FILMTECTM Reverse Osmosis membranes and Nanoﬁltration elements that are being used worldwide. From the North Sea to Asia Paciﬁc, oil operators are able to customize the water salinity for maximum efﬁciency of water ﬂoods using Dow membranes. The use of customized water salinity, sometimes referred to as Smart Water, has been proven to be one of the most efﬁcient ways of extracting oil, especially in the Middle East.