Moving beyond conventional techniques, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) plans to introduce carbon dioxide injection in its Gandhar field to recover an extra 20 million barrels of crude oil under the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) programme which is being undertaken to improve India’s energy security.
While the technology is a proven concept in the West specially the US and Canada, ONGC’s project would be the first large scale CO2-injected project in Asia. The Gandhar experience would be replicated at other mature fields, said a company official. At present, steam and natural gas are pumped into the reservoir to loosen the crude oil and maintain well pressure.
ONGC plans to invest $75 million in CO2 capture and another $200 million in injector producer network to recover an extra 15 per cent of residual oil currently valued at $1.36 billion. “It will be operational in 20 months,” the official said. Gandhar, one of ONGC’s major brownfields, was discovered in 1983. The field produces approximately 30,000 barrels of oil per day and is on the decline.
ONGC is in talks with NTPC for utilising nearly 5 million tonnes of emitted gas from the latter’s Gandhar plant.
The power utility will provide the land in their project campus as well as power while investments would be from ONGC. “NTPC’s gain would be carbon neutrality while the nation would get extra oil,” the official said.
Injected gas is miscible with residual oil and reduces its viscosity, making it easier to displace the oil from the rock pores. The carbon dioxide also swells oil, thereby pushing it towards the producing well for extraction. Total oil production in India from established fields has been declining due to their maturity.
The EOR programme is set to play a crucial role within the country for recovering up to 20 percent of residual oil from such ageing fields.