Editorial Comment ///

As a result of recent discussions with several highly experienced oilfield engineers, a theme has been emerging. I noticed it quite by accident. It’s a drum that the US Department of Energy has been beating for decades: Truly vast amounts of oil are to be found by increasing the recovery factor. The engineers were all from major oil companies. One fellow told me, “You might not believe it, but we significantly increased the amount of oil we produced simply by measuring how much water we were injecting.” Of course, the company did the simulation studies, drilled the water-injection wells, built the water-treatment plant and measured the gross water inputs, but they hadn’t thoroughly measured how much water each injector was injecting. When they did, they discovered that they were injecting far less than they should have. Once they remedied the situation, oil production increased considerably.

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