With the growing number of mature oil fields across the globe, enhanced oil recovery market seems to have gained a remarkable impetus in recent years. It would be prudent to mention that out of the three processes involved in oil recovery, around 40% of the oil is recovered through primary and secondary processes, while the remaining oil is extracted using tertiary or enhanced recovery. It is estimated by the Energy Information Administration that the demand for petroleum and other liquid fuel will rise to 74.8 million barrels per day by 2040 in the non-OECD region, which will automatically raise demands for more oil extraction activities in existing oil fields, spurring enhanced oil recovery market share.
Lately, the advent of new technologies has raised the oil recovery factor from 15% to a maximum of 75%, that has provided quite a boost to enhanced oil recovery market. Among the three most commercially successful techniques for enhanced oil recovery - thermal recovery, gas injection and chemical injection, gas injection, involving the injection of carbon dioxide, natural gas or nitrogen into a reservoir, is perpetually more popular than the others. In fact, as per estimates, in 2016, CO2-based enhanced oil recovery industry size was valued at USD 10 billion, owing to its low mutual solubility with water and its ability to offer high miscibility with oil. Demonstrating the popularity of this technique is the fact that recently, Weyburn oil field, Canada, has been obtaining artificially produced CO2 through a 204-mile pipeline that originates in the Dakota Gasification Company in North Dakota. This CO2 is being used to extend the productive life of the oil field by quarter of a century, extracting 130 million barrels oil which would have been otherwise abandoned. Thermal enhanced oil recovery market will also witness growth due to its economically sustainable feature and its ability to act as an eco-friendly alternative to gas or chemical injection for oil recovery. Thermally produced steam mixes with the oil to lower its viscosity, making it easier to rise through the oil wellbore. The increasing popularity of thermal oil recovery came into limelight in 2014 with Royal Dutch Shell's investment of USD 53 million in solar enhanced oil recovery, thus providing impetus to the overall enhanced oil recovery industry.
Oil recovery is primarily undertaken onshore and offshore. Onshore enhanced oil recovery industry is estimated to witness 19% CAGR over 2017-2024, driven by the advent of innovative oil recovery technologies and numerous initiatives to recover oil from the mature and heavy onshore oil reservoirs. The U.S. Department of Energy claims that an additional 89 billion barrels of oil are still trapped in the onshore oil fields, which can be dubbed as potential treasure in the times of high oil and gas demands. The myriad efforts undertaken by organizations to extract these barrels of oil is a sure indicator of the future growth of enhanced oil recovery industry.
Government initiatives to extract trapped oil all over the world in oil producing countries has contributed to the growth of the enhanced oil recovery market. In 2016, the US government has taken initiative to extract trapped oil as the country still struggles to match the production and consumption levels of fuel consumption and thus is still importing oil from the Middle East. As a result, U.S. enhanced oil recovery market size reached over 250 million barrels in 2016 and is expected to continue depicting a positive growth graph in the years ahead. The emerging economies of Latin America and high oil producing countries like Norway, UAE, Saudi Arabi, Oman and Malaysia have also realized the potential of recovering oil from abandoned oil fields, owing to which both private entities and the governments of these countries have been driving enhanced oil recovery industry.
One of the biggest challenges faced by enhanced oil recovery industry is the high cost of tertiary recovery procedures. Once primary and secondary methods of oil recovery have been applied and waterflooding of the oil field has reached its limit, chemical injection remains as an option for oil recovery. However, it is not very readily deployed due to the expenses incurred by the procedure. Nonetheless, R&D programs are underway to develop the procedure of combining waterflooding with polymers or surfactants, which will bring down the unit cost and provide a boost to enhanced oil recovery market. Furthermore, with oil prices estimated to pick up during the forecast period, enhanced oil recovery market is expected to exceed 5 billion barrels by 2024.
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