A Novel Approach to Reducing Water and Energy Consumption in Oil Production

M.R. Pavia
Glori Energy,
United States

Keywords: water conservation, energy conservation, greenhouse gas reduction, oil production, AERO, biotechnology


Of all the oil discovered in the world to date, 60-70% remains trapped in the reservoir. Glori Energy has developed a novel oil recovery biotechnology, the AERO (Activated Environment for Recovery of Oil) Technology, which is capable of recovering an additional 9-12% of the original oil in place (OOIP). Glori has successfully demonstrated its technology in reservoirs undergoing active waterflooding, which is the most common method for enhancing oil production and requires large amounts of water. In the U.S., two to five barrels of net water are used in mature oil fields undergoing waterflooding to produce a single barrel of oil. This equates to about one billion gallons of net water consumed per day. In addition, a large amount of energy is required to circulate this water, which has a negative environmental impact and is expensive; energy constitutes the largest operating expenditure in mature oil fields. Field data shows that when Glori’s AERO Technology is deployed, the total water circulated throughout the reservoir is significantly reduced. Once the technology is implemented and becomes active, water requirements are reduced 4-fold and significantly less energy is used to circulate the water resulting in a large reduction in greenhouse gas generation to recover the same amount of oil. Representative Example: Glori’s Alberta Project. The energy required to move water in a waterflood is directly proportional to the volume of water moved. Field results with AERO demonstrate a reduction of approximately 4-fold in the amount of water that must be moved, resulting in a proportional reduction in the amount of energy required for water movement. At the start of the project, the selected oil field was circulating 2000 barrels of water per day (bwpd) to produce a single barrel of oil. In a little over a year of continuous nutrient injection, AERO had stimulated 13,591 incremental bbl of oil, a 256% increase over the modeled baseline production. Oil production, water injection rates, and water cut are summarized in Figure 1. As seen in Figure 2, even with increasing oil production, the water use was constant at 2000 bwpd. With the increased production and oil cut, this represents an approximately four fold reduction in barrels of water required per barrel of oil produced. In conclusion, Glori’s AERO Technology helps assure a stable, economic supply of low cost oil while conserving both water and energy.