Energy Resources

Hydrocarbon Resources

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The Hydrocarbon Resources Program focuses on developing an understanding of the basic concepts and processes governing the storage and nonisothermal flow of hydrocarbons in porous media during production, as well as an understanding of associated coupled processes and phenomena involved in resource development and production.

Highlights

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Project

Seismic Stimulation for Enhanced Oil Recovery

This RPSEA-funded project, with cost-share provided by BGI (Berkeley Geo Imaging) and Unico, began in October 2008, with the aim of quantifying whether seismic waves can mobilize oil trapped on capillary barriers, thus enhancing oil recovery in older low-production domestic oil fields. This study focused on a field owned by BGI near Foraker in Osage County, Oklahoma. There were two major components of the study: modeling and field tests.

Program Overview

The Hydrocarbon Resources Program is one of four Programs in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area’s Energy Resources Program Area. The Program focuses on developing an understanding of the basic concepts and processes governing the storage and nonisothermal flow of hydrocarbons in porous media during production (under a variety of challenging conditions), as well as an understanding of associated coupled processes and phenomena (geomechanical, geophysical, chemical) involved in resource development and production. In addition, the Program strives to translate the development of fundamental knowledge into production methods and strategies that can be easily adopted by the industry.

While the Hydrocarbon Resources Program is designed to address all issues related to hydrocarbon recovery (including reservoir integrity and improving geophysical imaging), the primary focus of the program is unconventional resources, such as hydrates, tight/shale gas, and shale oil. Because such resources are expected to be the main subject of fossil-energy recovery activities in the foreseeable future, it is an important and growing component of EESA’s research portfolio.

Support for the Hydrocarbon Research Program comes from diverse sources. Research related to hydrates is supported by the DOE Hydrate Research Program, by international research organizations (e.g., the Korean Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources), and by national and international petroleum companies. Research in the area of hydrocarbon recovery from tight sands and shales receives support from the Research Partnership for Secure Energy America (RPSEA), and from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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