Wintershall presents EOR technologies at the “Oil and Gas West Asia”Wintershall experts in Muscat give insight into current research projects for enhancing oil and gas recovery
Muscat/Oman. At the 2014 Oil and Gas West Asia (OGWA) exhibition and conference, Wintershall is from today presenting current technologies that enable more efficient production of crude oil and natural gas, including from largely developed, more mature hydrocarbon deposits. At the specialist SPE EOR Conference accompanying the trade exhibition in Muscat, several Wintershall experts are presenting current projects from Wintershall’s research programme. Across the three days of the conference, experts, scientists and decision-makers from all over the world will be discussing the latest developments, initiatives and technologies for enhancing oil and gas recovery.
The focus of the conference clearly shows that solutions for more efficiently utilising oil and gas reserves are also in increasing demand in the Middle East. Firstly, this is partly due to the rapidly increasing energy requirements in countries within the Middle East: the World Energy Outlook published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the Middle East region will develop into the world’s third largest oil consumer by 2035. Secondly, the reserves in the Gulf region are becoming increasingly difficult to recover. “The time of easily recoverable reserves is over – especially in the Middle East,” explains Martin Bachmann, Wintershall’s executive board member responsible for exploration and production. “That is why we at Wintershall are open to new collaborations in which we can apply our expertise to the development of technically demanding fields.” Wintershall is therefore in line with the current trend. Based on existing resources of 10,000 billion barrels, the latest IEA report estimates that a 10-percent increase of the worldwide recovery rate using EOR would potentially provide an additional 1,000 billion barrels. That would be four times the reserves in Saudi Arabia.
One of the main research projects in recent years is, for example, the biopolymer Schizophyllan, which is being jointly developed by Wintershall and its parent company, BASF. The basis for this is provided by a natural fungus, Schizophyllum commune, which grows in forests around the world. If the fungus is fed with sugar and oxygen it produces a gel-like substance that can be deployed as a thickening agent when recovering oil. The biopolymer is fully biodegradable and thickens the water that is forced into the reservoir to extract the oil. The thickened water can push more oil out from the rock pores. More oil can be recovered. In the case of Schizophyllan, this amounts to about ten percent depending on the reservoir. The use of the biopolymer is currently being tested for the first time in an oil field in northern Germany. Wintershall is also looking for technical cooperation possibilities in the Middle East Region in order to test Schizophyllan in a second full field application.
Greater engagement planned in the Middle East region
With its contribution to the SPE EOR Conference, Wintershall is underlining the special importance of the Middle East for the company’s strategic orientation. Wintershall has been increasingly active in the region for some years now and is planning to expand its upstream activities there. For this purpose, in 2010 the company opened a regional representative office in Abu Dhabi. In June 2012, Wintershall signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the Austrian OMV company regarding the appraisal of the sour gas and condensate field at Shuwaihat. As operator Wintershall is relying on its extremely high HSE standards and more than 40 years of experience in the safe development and production of sour gas fields. At the beginning of 2014, Wintershall also agreed with Mubadala Petroleum from Abu Dhabi to work together on projects in the Middle East and North Africa.
Wintershall’s second regional focus is provided by Qatar: the company is involved in exploring the Al Radeef field off the coast there. This is situated close to the so-called “North Field”, which is the world’s largest crude oil field. Together with Qatar Petroleum and further partners, Wintershall recently managed to prove the presence of 70 billion cubic metres of natural gas in the Khuff Formation there.
Wintershall Holding GmbH, based in Kassel, Germany, is a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF in Ludwigshafen. The company has been active in the extraction of natural resources for 120 years, and in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas for over 80 years. Wintershall focuses on selected core regions, where the company has built up a high level of regional and technological expertise. These are Europe, Russia, North Africa, South America, and increasingly the Middle East region. The company wants to expand its business further with exploration and production, selected partnerships, innovation and technological competence. The company employs more than 2,500 staff worldwide from 40 nations and is now Germany’s largest crude oil and natural gas producer.
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