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Aiming high to improve recovery

August 29, 2012, 09:50 CEST
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The Gullfaks A plttform in the North Sea. (Photo: Øyvind Hagen)

From last year to this year the average oil recovery rate for Statoil-operated fields in Norway rose from 49% to 50%. This constitutes 327 million barrels of oil. No other companies in the world can match this.

"We're very proud to be a world leader with an average recovery rate of 50% for the oil fields we operate – but we want even more," says Øystein Michelsen, Statoil's executive vice president for Development and Production Norway.

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Øystein Michelsen, Statoil's executive vice president for Development and Production Norway

"Our ambition is therefore to increase the average recovery rate for our oil fields to 60%."

Every single day

"We have to set high ambitions if we're to make progress," says Michelsen. "This ambition will demand a lot from us and it also depends upon external factors like the oil price, regulations, costs and technology development.

"That's why we haven't set a date for this ambition. The most important thing is that we continue our efforts to increase recovery."

More than 3,000 people in Statoil work on 300 activities associated with increased recovery every single day. Half of the company's NOK 2.8 billion research budget is earmarked for projects to improve recovery. This includes a special centre for increased recovery in Trondheim which will be a laboratory for future recovery methods.

New technology

"We work internally in the company and together with partners, research institutions and suppliers to increase recovery," says Siri Espedal Kindem, Statoil's senior vice president for Technology excellence.

"We begin this work before a field is even developed and we continue this through the entire production phase."

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Siri Espedal Kindem, Statoil's senior vice president for Technology excellence.

All fields are different with a wide range of development phases and properties, and many are very complex.

"It's therefore important that we implement measures which tackle the challenges each field presents, and develop and adopt new technology so that we get a large and comprehensive toolbox. Increased recovery is a central element of our technology strategy," says Kindem.

7,5 billion barrels

On our existing fields we have increased the average expected oil recovery factor from 30% from the time when we submitted plans for development and operation (PDO) to 50% today.  This has given 7,5 billion barrels of extra oil, the equivalent of two Statfjord-fields.

Globally, about 35% of the oil in place is recovered. The recovery rate for the NCS as a whole is 47%. Statoil's recovery rate is 50%.

"Our history shows that we've succeeded in going the extra mile before," says Kindem. "This ambition shows that we want to go even further."