The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory have selected five projects to receive nearly $40 million in federal funding for advanced technologies for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

The projects were selected as part of DOE's strategy aimed at increasing ultimate recovery and operational efficiency.

Projects are intended to reduce technical risks associated with EOR and expand methods onshore, both in conventional and unconventional reservoirs. The research also is intended to improve the understanding of unconventional reservoirs and improve recovery factors for these plays.

The projects include the following:

CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery Improvement in Conventional Fields Using Rich Gas — The University of North Dakota aims to determine the effect of injecting blended carbon dioxide (CO2) and rich gas into an active CO2 EOR field to improve production performance. Positive test results will support the development of infrastructure and a market for stranded gas. DOE funding is $8,000,000 and non-DOE funding is $2,000,000.

Engineered Water for Improved Oil Recovery from Fractured Reservoirs — The University of Texas at Austin intends to field-test technology designed to improve oil recovery in fractured oil-wet carbonate reservoirs by using injected water engineered with ionic modifications. Development of improved oil recovery techniques from fractured carbonates will help unlock oil potential in West Texas and beyond. DOE funding is $7,919,826 and non-DOE funding is $2,000,438.

Chemically Enabled CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery in Multi-Porosity, Hydrothermally Altered Carbonates in the Southern Michigan Basin — Battelle Memorial Institute plans to develop improved strategies for EOR from challenging reservoirs along fault systems through advanced field characterization, integrated physics-based machine learning and data analytics, laboratory process development and optimized field tests. The results will provide strategies to improve oil recovery in complex carbonate formations and reinvigorate depleted oil fields. DOE funding is $7,999,659 and non-DOE funding is $2,153,668.

Improving Enhanced Oil Recovery Performance through Data Analytics and Next-Generation Controllable Completions — The University of North Dakota aims to field-test an advanced machine learning approach to enable active (smart) well control during CO2 EOR. Successful completion of this field-based research will help reduce uncertainty associated with CO2 EOR performance and improve project economics. DOE funding is $8,000,000 and non-DOE funding is $2,000,000.

Field-Pilot Test of Foam-Assisted Hydrocarbon Gas Injection in Bakken Formations — The University of Wyoming plans to apply foam-assisted gas injection EOR through a field pilot test designed to pave a path for widespread deployment in unconventional plays. The knowledge gained will be used to calibrate computational simulators to better predict field performance, assess and mitigate potential risks, and ensure successful implementation in the field. DOE funding is $8,000,000 and non-DOE funding is $2,003,286.