Bharat Book

Enhanced Oil Recovery: Technologies and Global Markets

Press Release   •   Aug 30, 2013 12:08 IST


This report provides findings for updates from a previously completed study from 2010. BCC’s goal in conducting this update was to reassess and describe the current status and potential growth of the worldwide enhanced oil recovery (EOR) industry and the market for associated EOR technologies. More specifically, the updated study includes the following objectives: (1) summarize existing EOR technologies and promising emerging technologies that are under development; (2) evaluate the existing EOR industry, focusing on the manufacturers and providers of major components for viable EOR technologies; and (3) assess market potential for EOR technologies over a five-year period from 2013 through 2018.


Continually rising global demand for petroleum combined with various supply and political factors resulted in the rapid escalation of its price starting in 2001. (The term “oil” is hereafter used nearly exclusively within this study when referring to petroleum.) These shifts have placed significant pressure upon the global oil industry to increase production. Faced with the challenge of increasing supply, the global oil industry relies upon the discovery of new oil reserves, production from developed, drilled reserves and the discovery and implementation of technological advances that enable more extensive oil recovery. Along with advanced extraction technologies such as hydrofracture, EOR technologies are becoming increasingly significant to global oil supply by increasing or reviving oil production at reserves or oilfields depleted of more easily recoverable oil. In other instances, EOR technologies have allowed the global oil industry to produce oil from alternative reserves—such as oil sands or oil shale—through field operations previously thought to be technologically infeasible or economically unviable. EOR technologies are widely considered vital to maintaining the role of oil as a continued, reliable source of energy in the global economy.

EOR technologies are also promoted by the global oil industry and publicly as means to address energy policy concerns held by various nations and political organizations. Some EOR technologies first found widespread commercial application during the energy crises of the 1970s, when regional and worldwide oil supplies were severely disrupted due to their reliance upon oil imports. Concerns over regional and national energy security and energy independence persist in many nations and global markets due to perceived geopolitical threats to the continued supply of imported oil. Capable of bolstering oil production from reserves unrecoverable through conventional methods, EOR technologies can contribute to efforts to reduce a country’s dependence on oil imports and thereby achieve greater energy independence and security.

Climate change and control of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—particularly carbon dioxide (CO2)—also represent key issues for contemporary global and national energy policy that can be addressed through the application or increased utilization of EOR technologies. Increasingly global efforts to minimize or offset GHG emissions presents an opportunity to the global oil industry to boost oil production at select fields by injecting waste CO2 into underground oil reservoirs. When properly managed, CO2 captured from industrial, petrochemical or power generation sources can be sequestered deep underground, preventing its release to the atmosphere. Such efforts represent a convergence of industry efforts to increase oil production from existing assets while partially offsetting the effects of fossil fuels on global climate change.

Current market conditions and recent advances in EOR technologies, including industry understanding regarding the effective application of EOR, are principally responsible for continued growth in enhanced oil recovery. Additional costs associated with the services and infrastructure required for EOR technologies may limit their application; however, currently high oil prices globally have reduced the significance of added costs and greatly increased the economic viability of EOR technologies. Further growth in the market for EOR technologies is anticipated due to their technological maturity, strong representation from a variety of service providers and product suppliers in the global oil industry, extensive industry experience in the application of EOR technologies and the technologies’ proven efficacy in increasing oil production at oilfields worldwide.


This study reviews EOR technologies, along with relevant market and production information, technological descriptions and issues, applications and market factors and potential and gives an overview of supporting incentives and regulations in major worldwide markets. This study will be of interest to current and potential manufacturers and suppliers of EOR technologies as well as entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies interested in entering or expanding into the EOR technology sector. It will also be of interest to corporate planners and strategists, companies involved in the recovery and production of oil, EOR services providers, EOR rental equipment providers, fossil fuel energy advocacy groups and other public- and private-sector interest groups and market analysts.


The scope of this investigation includes the major viable EOR technologies that are currently being implemented in the oil industry. These EOR technologies are implemented to recover crude oil from reservoirs after primary and secondary recovery methods have ceased to be productive enough to continue normal field operation economically. In some cases, the EOR technologies considered in this report may also be applied immediately following initial well drilling. These applications are common for fields where primary and secondary recovery technologies are incapable of producing adequate oil in any phase of oilfield operation.

Installation and operation of EOR technologies can include various products and components such as injection pumps, wellheads, specialized well tubing, chemical feeder systems, air separation units, gas compressors, blowers, steam generators, specialized storage vessels and various other equipment and facilities. Other important products of an EOR technology include oil recovery media such as surfactants, polymers, alkali chemicals, liquid nitrogen and CO2. Although steam and onsite-compressed atmospheric nitrogen are also important oil recovery media, they are not considered EOR technology products within this report as they are supplied at minimal or no direct cost, unlike CO2 or specialized injection chemicals that are supplied to an EOR operation.

The market analysis provided in this report is based on a variety of data sources. These include the most recent government, industry and academic data regarding the amount of oil in place that could potentially be extracted via EOR, combined with a supplemental evaluation of major EOR projects that have been announced or that are currently being proposed. Therefore, this report combines “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches to provide a realistic, robust and accurate assessment of this complex market.

Emerging EOR technologies that may become commercially viable within the next five years are summarized, but are not included in the market assessment of this report. BCC analyzes each major viable EOR technology, determines its current market status, examines its impact on future markets and presents forecasts of growth over the next five years. Additionally, this report provides a breakout analysis for solar enhanced EOR. Solar enhanced EOR was considered only as an emerging technology during under the prior report completed in this series. However, increased deployment indicates that the technology has come sufficiently close to commercialization that additional analysis was deemed practicable and useful. Technological issues, including the latest trends, are assessed and discussed, as are the current and likely regulatory environments in support of this industry.

BCC analyzes the industry on a worldwide basis in terms of its manufacturing and the deployment of its technologies or products. BCC also examines government roles in support of EOR technologies worldwide, including regulatory support, government requirements and promotional incentives for various EOR technologies as relevant and available. BCC provides a review of the most relevant EOR technologies, discusses recent trends in capacity installation and unit sales and provides industry overviews and market assessments for each EOR technology.


Background information, including reviews of each EOR technology and its implementation status, was collected from government and industry sources. Specific citations and references are provided as needed to support this study and website links to government and industry studies, white papers and other relevant information are provided whenever available.

BCC’s research of present and historic market trends was conducted primarily via internet research and phone interviews, relying on available industry and government data and information gathered from phone/email based interviews. Provided internal company data and annual documentation of sales relevant to a particular EOR technologies were also reviewed in order to prepare market assessments. Based on the results of our surveys and research, BCC analyzed the potential applications for each technology and forecast remaining 2013 sales and sales through 2018. Additionally, when available, the data provided in this report were compared with other industry data to ensure relevance, applicability and accuracy.


Both primary and secondary research methods were used in preparing this report. BCC surveyed more than 70 companies to obtain the data for this study. Included were manufacturers of EOR technologies, distributors of EOR technologies and companies involved with the deployment of EOR technologies and field facilities. BCC also contacted users of these technologies in a variety of locales worldwide. Additionally, BCC compiled data from current financial and trade information, industry associations and government sources.

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