World demand for oil and gas is not going away. Therefore, we need new solutions to make the industry more efficient.
Initial drilling of the well, which might include fracking, typically produces about 10% of the available oil before the production rate falls way off. The industry then uses several traditional improved oil recovery (IOR) methods to get the well producing again. As a result, production usually continues until 40% of the original oil has been recovered. Well operations then typically cease.
Traditional IOR methods, often called secondary or tertiary recovery methods, that restart a well’s run rate often have much to be desired. They are costly, limited in their effectiveness and pose risks to the well itself and to the environment. Anything the industry can do to improve is therefore welcome.
A brand-new patented process, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) using Nitro Nano™ water, eliminates many disadvantages of traditional oil recovery methods. It typically more than doubles a well’s production rate in a cost-effective and eco-friendly way.
This blog features the following key takeaways:
- The most used IOR methods are expensive, limited in their effectiveness and are often not eco-friendly.
- They typically increase oil well production by an average of 25%, while Nitro Nano™ water EOR can increase well production by 150%.
- Nitro Nano™ water injection is also highly affordable, very eco-friendly and can reduce the amount of water required in the operation.
Intrigued? Keep reading to learn why conventional oil recovery methods aren’t cutting it and how this new enhanced oil recovery method developed by Nano Gas™ Environmental will revolutionize the oil and gas industry!
The Problems with Traditional Improved Oil Recovery Methods
The current most popular primary, secondary and tertiary techniques leave a lot to be desired. As we will see, they only recover a small fraction of the oil from the well at best and create major environmental and economic burdens at worst.
The initial drilling of the well, primary oil recovery, is the easiest step of the oil recovery process, but it is also limited in terms of how much of the oil reserves it recovers. Primary oil recovery usually only gets about 10% of the available oil from a well before the natural pressure that makes recovering the oil possible runs out. For this reason, secondary and tertiary IOR methods are necessary.
Each of the most frequently used IOR methods comes with major flaws. One of the biggest drawbacks of many IOR techniques is the price.
Many oil and gas companies forgo IOR entirely simply because they can’t afford it. However, newer enhanced oil recovery methods, such as the one we’ve developed at Nano Gas™ Environmental, are highly affordable.
Most traditional IOR methods also come with significant risks. Many don’t always bring enough results to justify the cost. The most common IOR techniques can only increase a well’s production capability by 25% at most. They also risk damaging the environment.
Let’s take a closer look at why this is the case for each of the improved oil recovery methods:
Oil companies perform waterflooding by drilling a water injection well near the oil well. They then fill the water injection well with water, which flows down into the rock and pushes the oil and gas into the wellbore.
The key to successful waterflooding is strategically placing the water injection well where the water will have the strongest push on the oil.
This positioning is the trickiest part of the process. It requires an advanced knowledge of mathematics and geology to predict how water will flow and interact with the oil. But the technology isn’t perfect, and waterflooding varies in its effectiveness.
Many additional drawbacks come with using waterflooding. They include:
- A limited recovery rate of about 10-15% of the available oil in a well
- Channeling, which can ruin an oil well
- Requiring large quantities of water and contributing to the water scarcity problem
Gas injection involves forcing gases like carbon dioxide, natural gas and nitrogen into a well. Once inside, these gases reduce the oil’s viscosity and increase the well pressure to make it flow easier.
The most common gas used for gas injection is carbon dioxide (CO2). This gas has grown in popularity recently for its track record of substantially increasing well productivity in the southern United States.
This IOR method is by far the most popular in the industry. It accounts for about 60% of all IOR projects in the United States. However, it also comes with significant drawbacks, including:
- The high cost is too much of a barrier for many companies.
- Carbon dioxide is notoriously difficult to transport.
- CO2 can cause permanent damage to the well depending on the geology.
- CO2 in water is highly corrosive and drives maintenance costs.
- The method varies in effectiveness and may not yield results worth the cost.
- CO2 injection has negative environmental impacts, such as causing climate change when CO2 escapes back into the atmosphere
Another slightly less popular IOR technique is using steam and fire to enhance oil production. Some companies also use a practice called fire flooding, which involves injecting compressed air into a well near the oil well to ignite a fire.
These traditional tertiary techniques come with a slew of significant drawbacks, such as:
- High energy requirements
- A significant carbon footprint from heavy operational equipment
- A negative environmental impact by creating polluted water that is difficult to clean up (Canada has trillions of liters of this tailings water in 100-year settling ponds.)
Despite these drawbacks, thermal recovery techniques continue to be used in about 40% of all IOR projects in the United States.
Scientists have also tried many different types of chemical injection to increase an oil well’s production. Some of the more popular chemical methods include:
- Polymer flooding
- Surfactant flooding
- Alkaline flooding
While these types of chemicals have been shown to increase oil well production, chemical injection also comes with two overwhelming drawbacks:
- The chemicals are too expensive for most oil companies.
- Injecting chemicals into the earth creates significant environmental hazards.
Because of this, many companies are abandoning chemical injection for alternative improved oil recovery types.
The Superior Enhanced Oil Recovery Method: Nitro Nano™ Water Injection
Fortunately, a new, improved enhanced oil recovery method is available that is proven to increase the amount of oil recovered from a well by 100-150%! This technique is called Nitro Nano™ water injection.
Nitro Nano™ water injection eliminates many of the problems posed by the IOR techniques listed above. It uses patented and proven nanobubble technology developed by Nano Gas™ Environmental to enhance oil well production in a much more affordable, greener and more effective way.
Nitro Nano™ water is full of tiny bubbles of nitrogen gas. When these bubbles are injected into a well, they act like a solvent, decreasing oil viscosity. The bubbles also cling to the geology and kick the oil off it, making it possible to pump much more oil. And since the bubbles are nanoscopic (smaller than microscopic), they can fit into the tiniest cracks and extract oil from there, too!
Nitro Nano™ water has already proven itself to be a formidable EOR technique with several successful implementations. Companies also appreciate how the technology is less expensive than most other IOR techniques and is much safer for the environment. It does not require the use of any harsh chemicals and significantly reduces the need for harmful fracking.
The Importance of Better Enhanced Oil Recovery Methods
Not only is EOR vital for the oil and gas industry, but it also has major ramifications for society.
Primary and secondary recovery methods are only able to access about 40% of the available oil in a well at best. That leaves a whopping 60% of untapped oil in the ground. By making that crude accessible, Nitro Nano™ water reduces the cost of producing crude and increases the available worldwide oil supply without requiring more drilling.
Not only will this help oil and gas companies, but it will also help society at large. We’ve all seen what happens to energy markets when the supply of oil is down. Therefore, the use of a superior EOR method like Nitro Nano™ water injection has the potential to bolster the economy for years to come.
But beyond economic and productivity benefits, Nitro Nano™ water injection also has the potential to help the environment as well. It can do this by making shut-in and abandoned oil wells productive again.
In the past, oil companies shut in and abandoned wells after primary and secondary recovery methods stopped delivering significant oil. The well seemed dry and unable to provide them with anything more.
Unfortunately, many of these companies also didn’t properly plug these wells. This left the surrounding communities vulnerable to the toxic gases like methane that uncapped wells can leak. There are currently hundreds of thousands of these abandoned wells throughout the U.S.
The federal government has recently allocated resources to start plugging these wells. But our method at Nano Gas™ Environmental presents a much more promising alternative solution. Many of these wells likely have more oil to give, and Nitro Nano™ water makes getting it possible. Our mission is to turn many of the abandoned wells that are currently a public health hazard into valuable production sites again.
Improving Primary and Secondary Oil Recovery
We also hope to improve the primary and secondary phases of the oil recovery process. Our company plans to combine Nitro Nano™ water with waterflooding to improve the effectiveness of that secondary process. We also believe we can use our patented nanobubble technology to enhance the primary recovery phase as well.
Time will tell if these implementations are possible, but we’re excited about the future potential of our efforts!
Interested in Our Superior Enhanced Oil Recovery Method?
At Nano Gas™ Environmental, we’re excited to bring this EOR technology to oil and gas companies around the country. Will you help us revolutionize the oil and gas industry?
If your company is interested in our technology, please call 832-902-5961 to discuss how we can help you. We’re located in Houston, TX, and provide services to customers throughout the country.
We’re also looking for investors and distributors to support our mission. You can learn more about our private token offering at the link below.