Muscat: Pioneering technology to extract oil and gas is expected to become a ‘game changer’ in hydrocarbon production in Oman.
Superheat technology is to be used for extracting oil for the first time in the Middle East. The technology has been brought into Oman by a local SME (small and medium enterprise) called Enhanced Oil Recovery LLC (EOR LLC).
The revolutionary technology would be able to produce oil even from untapped reserves in Oman, using fewer resources. Currently, nearly half of Oman’s oil reserves are made up of heavy oil, out of which only 2 per cent is being extracted due to astronomical production costs and lack of technology to obtain it, even with the use of expensive equipment.
This, blended with Oman’s challenging topography, has hindered the profitable rise in Oman’s production levels.
However, the new technology has proven to overcome such barriers and producing results within days of implementation. It has been tested in several places, including Texas, United States, where a well producing a barrel a day using current expertise spiked its production to 20 barrels a day after this technology was implemented.
It works by producing heated gas at temperatures nearly twice that of conventional steam. This gas does not lose its properties dramatically, unlike the conventional steam-based technique.
Therefore, it is able to extract heavy oil from deeper in the earth. As opposed to the conventional billion dollar infrastructure, this technology would require much less and lower production costs and result in higher production levels that will allow a rapid recovery of initial investments.
Studies carried out for Oman by EOR LLC and its international affiliates have shown that the technology will use 90 per cent less water and 80 per cent less energy than used in the conventional way of extracting oil in Oman. According to Abdullah Al Mandhari, chief executive officer of EOR LLC, this technology is a game changer for Oman’s oil and gas industry.
“Presently, economic production of oil is drastically affected by the use of high quality water that requires expensive methods to obtain and conventional technology. The method, however, is inefficient for producing oil in higher quantities due to the tougher geography of Oman’s reserves and the presence of heavy oil. The Superheat technology has a demonstrated ability to increase production that can help extract not only the heavy oil, but also light oil more economically, with much lower infrastructure than the conventional ones in use now. This would be Oman’s first major step towards enhanced oil recovery,” explained Al Mandhari.
He said EOR LLC already has waste water management programmes being run that are much cheaper and produce the water required for the production of oil.
“A large amount of water is a by-product during the extraction of oil and we plan to treat this water and utilise it for oil production, thereby making the process self sustained,” he added. He also said this could help increase the production of gas, which suffers from the unavailability of water, due to which more than a 100m is lost every year.
To top it up, the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of Superheat will be held by Oman and EOR LLC in partnership with an associate firm in the US, thereby making any development in this technology profitable for Oman.
EOR LLC will launch the first oil and gas research and development centre in the Middle East at the Muscat Innovation Park, where research related to oil and gas will be carried out, along with a strategy for tackling the challenging landscape in Oman. The new R&D Centre will emulate the facility of Down Hole innovation, a leading global oil and gas research company. Al Mandhari mentioned that it would be a gift to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for his excellent idea of setting up the Muscat Innovation Park.
Al Mandhari said private companies and the younger generation in Oman need to give back to the country and help in the Sultanate’s development during these tough times. “They have to answer the call of His Majesty, who has done so much for this country. We cannot always wait for him to feed us with development and it’s time to be a part of development in Oman rather than wait for it.”