Reduced Salinity Injection Boosting Oil Recovery, BP Says

BP announced it is using a new technology called LoSal® EOR at its Clair Ridge field to create low-salinity water for "waterflooding" from sea water. The company estimates this method will produce about 42 million additional barrels of oil.

BP and partners are now using a new technology to boost the amount of oil that can be recovered from the United Kingdom's largest hydrocarbon resource. At the Clair Ridge development west of Shetland, UK, they have deployed the first sanctioned, large-scale offshore enhanced oil recovery (EOR) scheme using reduced salinity water injection, calling it LoSal® EOR.

Desalination facilities at the project cost about $120 million. These facilities create low-salinity water for "waterflooding" from sea water. BP's news release said it estimates this will enable the production of around 42 million additional barrels of oil beyond the 640 million barrels that would be produced with conventional seawater waterflooding. The release says the technology next will be used at the Mad Dog Phase 2 project in the Gulf of Mexico, where a low-salinity waterflood injection capacity of more than 250,000 barrels of water per day will be employed.

The technology was successfully tested in a field trial at the Endicott field in Alaska between 2008 and 2009. "LoSal® EOR and other technologies developed by BP are increasing the world's energy supplies, improving recovery rates and getting more for every dollar we invest," said Bob Fryar, BP's executive vice president for production. "LoSal® EOR has immense potential for increasing the amount of oil recovered from the ground. If it can be successfully applied to similar fields around the world, it will increase the world's recoverable oil by billions of barrels."

The release says about 60 percent of BP's oil is produced using traditional waterflooding, and full implementation of low-salinity projects across the company's portfolio could increase its net recovery by up to 700 million barrels of oil equivalent.