With North Sea production dropping each year, the UK is employing enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques in an effort to maximize the amount of oil that can be recovered from the area’s matured reservoirs, says a new report from business intelligence providers GlobalData.
The study states that North Sea oil and gas production has declined at an annual average growth rate (AAGR) of 7.7% between 2006 and 2011, from 2,599 MMboe to 1,772 MMboe.
Production levels are expected to decrease further still in the future, with major fields such as Ekofisk, Kvitebjørn, and Elgin expected to witness declining output.
The UK, the leading North Sea producer in terms of the number of exploration blocks, will fight depleting hydrocarbon returns by introducing the Centre for North Sea Enhanced Oil Recovery, a facility announced in May 2012, wholly dedicated to EOR from the North Sea.
EOR procedures include infusing CO2 gas into oil fields deep below the sea-bed to force out extra amounts of oil and it has been projected that the center will use this technology to store up to 75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from each Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) power plant project, and increase the quantity of oil extracted from reservoirs underneath the waters.
With this new facility in place, the UK could lead the EU with the biggest Carbon Storage Capacity (CSC) in the region and hold a competitive advantage in both manpower and infrastructure.
GlobalData forecasts North Sea oil and gas production to drop from 1,702 MMboe in 2012 to 1,447 MMboe in 2020, representing a negative AAGR of 2%.