The pilot, which was carried out from CNOOC International's operated Scott platform approximately 187 km North-east of Aberdeen, saw the team inject specially prepared nutrients into a single well producer to activate resident microbes deep in the reservoir.
After being shut in for a number of days, the well was turned back on and production from the well increased to a level not seen for over five years. More than 25,000 extra barrels of oil were produced during the test period than would normally have been recorded.
CNOOC International and its partners are now studying the results with a view to proceeding to an injector-producer treatment in 2021.
In this enhanced oil recovery (EOR) process, the OOR team part of Aberdeen-based Hunting Energy Services take water samples from the well and send them to California for analysis. There, scientists undertake a sophisticated study of the microbes found in the sample and determine their DNA and growth potential under a simulated OOR process.
The team then produces a complex and unique nutrient package that is pumped into the well with no impact on the surrounding ecology. The nutrients manipulate the resident microbes to energize hard to reach oil droplets, which are then released to the surface.
The process, which uses totally organic ingredients, enables producers lo reduce lifting costs and increase returns on wells, platforms and reservoirs that might be nearing the end of their economic life with no requirement for any additional capital expenditure. Even at $30 oil or less. OOR has been proven to increase the profitability of a well by an average of 92%.
The sampling is also reportedly uncovering microbes never before seen and recorded by scientists. The OOR process is being promoted by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), the UK's oil and gas regulator, as a key technology to help maximize economic recovery in the North Sea.
Organic Oil Recovery Effect The CNOOC pilot test is one of a number of trials that OOR is undertaking in the North Sea, Middle East and Asia. It is estimated that approximately 65% of global oil reserves will be left in the ground, as they are difficult to access.
The technology developed by Titan Oil Recovery Inc. in California and brought to the North Sea, Middle East and Asia by Hunting has been used on more than 52 oil fields across four continents and has increased production on average by more than 92% with a success rate of 94%. The green technology is also proven to reduce hydrogen sulphide, a potentially fatal and highly corrosive by-product of producing oil, by extending the lifespan of aging reservoirs it enables E&P companies to avoid having to spend multi-billion dollars in exploration and drilling elsewhere in the UKCS and beyond.
Hunting PLC Finance Director Bruce Ferguson said; “We're so excited by this technology that could enhance and prolong oil production in the North Sea with minimal cost implications. It also means that producers can concentrate on their existing wells, reservoirs and resources to ensure maximum recovery, saving time, money and wider impact to the environment as we can focus on retrieving the 65 percent plus oil still trapped in existing reservoirs before even thinking about moving onto new ones. This first test confirms what we've known all along: that green technology can help us get more oil out of already existing reservoirs."
Organic Oil Recovery GM Roger Findlay said: "We're delighted with these fantastic results which just confirm what we've been saying to operators in recent months: Organic Oil Recovery is a unique and cost-effective technology for enhancing oil recovery from existing oil wells. OOR is pioneering in the understanding and management of reservoir ecology to both increase production and manage H2S production."
CNOOC International Subsurface Manager, Scott Area Andy Bostock said: "These are promising results from an effective EOR technology that can be implemented without a large offshore footprint."