CO2 Conference Week

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“It’s where the field and office come together to make things happen” 

CO2 & ROZ Conference Week Recap – Dec 6-8, 2016 – Midland, Texas

This year marked the 22nd Annual CO2 Flooding Conference and its sister event, the 14th Annual CO2 EOR Carbon Management Workshop. Starting in 1994, the contributors to the Conference Week have exposed both new ideas and field-tested practices to the CO2 business community, sponsor some residual oil zone (ROZ) studies, provide scholarship funding to help the industry staff for the future, and endow a petroleum engineering professorship at The University of Texas of the Permian Basin. The conference agenda has always emphasized practical topics and case histories while exposing exciting new emerging concepts.

The week possesses both a traditional CO2 enhanced oil recovery mission but also a carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) focus. Then, in 2001, it first publicly exposed the new idea of commercial residual oil zone (ROZ) exploitation which has now grown beyond EOR to reservoir depressuring via horizontal wells.  The Conference week now includes the ROZ science and development as major topical coverage and, with the pioneering activity in the Permian Basin, is attracting a worldwide audience.

The first day of the conference week (December 6th)) featured the CO2 EOR Carbon Management Workshop and convened at the new location, the Horseshoe Facility (HF) in the south of Midland. Mike Moore of Fearnleys coordinated the day as he has done for 14 years.  Formally recognizing the CO2 storage occurring during CO2 EOR (aka carbon capture, utilization and storage {CCUS}) has been the long term mission leading to subject matter which includes technical, policy, and regulatory issues related to CO2 storage. The recent election was a subject on the audience’s mind and the potential impacts from possible policies of the new Administration on CCUS was covered by several speakers (see Eames, Nemeth, MMoore). In specific, Mike Moore’s presentation on the subject was addressed in article in the Midland newspaper (see http://www.mrt.com/business/oil/article/CO2-Conference-speaker-Advocates-must-learn-to-10778717.php )

Current impediments to the needed CCUS demonstration project activity were also discussed (see Schnacke) as well as new insights on the capacity of the reservoir storage, especially with the revelations of the ROZs, that were presented (see Kuuskraa) and summarized by a newspaper article by Mella McEwen (http://www.mrt.com/business/oil/article/CO2-floods-ROZs-changing-nation-s-energy-10783644.php.)

Economic barriers for CCUS projects are still present especially in a lower oil price environment setting up the work by the National EOR Initiative and the 45Q tax credit (see Crabtree). On the technical side, The DOE’s programs were outlined (see Traci Rodosta’s), a talk on EOR conformance (see Grau) and a CO2 cycle capture process (see Dimmig) were presented.  A reception was held afterwards at the HF sponsored by two event sponsors, Mitsubishi and Stakeholder Midstream.

Wednesday’s activities were also held at the HF and started with the 19th in a long line of short courses and seminars related to aspects of CO2 EOR and EOR-concurrent CO2 storage. This ½ day seminar related the accelerating progress in producing commercial oil from residual oil zones using both the EOR and reservoir depressuring methods and starting the thinking about combining the two into a longer term advanced recovery commercial strategy.  Many of the leaders in these technologies were present; the manual of slides presented is available in the short course section of this website. The seminar ended at noon and adjourned for the annual CO2 flood and facilities field trip to Tabula Rasa’s East Seminole CO2 Flood in Gaines county one hour north of Midland.  A second stop to view the Seminole Gas Processing Plant was made and then moved west to drive by Kinder Morgan’s new Tall Cotton CO2 EOR project on the San Andres ROZ (field trip booklet download is included as part of the download of the seminar). As if the seminar and field trip were not enough, a reception at the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum followed the Wednesday activities and was attended by over 175 persons.  The cosponsors of the reception include Kinder Morgan, the Permian Basin Section of the SPE, VisitMidland, and the Applied Petroleum Technology Academy (www.aptapb.org)

Thursday’s event was the ever-popular case history theme sessions – also held at the HF.  The session opened with a recap of the Tuesday workshop by Mike Moore (see 1-MMoore) and other morning presentations included WAG Management (see 2-Cooper) and an insightful look at Electrical Supply and Cost Ramifications on EOR and other oil and gas exploration projects (see 3-Cook). A deep, miscible gas injection project in Columbia was presented (see 4-Gas-Torres) and the positive results of CO2 EOR recovery below the oil/water contact at the huge SACROC flood (see 5-SACROC).

Two keynote luncheon speakers were hosted at this year’s conference on Thursday, Dec 8th.  Dr. Craig Pearson, Texas Railroad Commission’s (TRRC) District 8 & 8A Director and TRRC’s chief seismologist summarized the exciting activity of the west Texas districts and the Commission’s view of induced seismicity from oil and gas activities (see L-1 Pearson). The second keynote presentation was given by Mr. Tom Williams of the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA).  In ten short years, RPSEA has sponsored game changing research in three areas: deep water exploration and production, unconventional oil and gas reservoirs, and small producer project research.  In a special note, the latter area included sponsoring the ROZ research which has dramatically accelerated in the Permian Basin and is expected to expand worldwide.  He then promoted the idea of industry/government sponsored research and explained the direction that RPSEA would be taking to continue their many noteworthy accomplishments (see L-2 Williams and a sumarizing article in the Midland Newspaper – http://www.mrt.com/business/oil/article/Government-corporate-research-partnership-10799285.php ).

The Thursday afternoon session led off with an engineering assessment of the status of the horizontal well, San Andres formation depressuring play on the NW Shelf (Permian Basin) including the estimated ultimate recoveries and expected recovery factors (see 6-Hall).  Jonathan Bradley of Hunt Oil then recapped their progress in their new CO2 flood in King County, Tx (see 7-Bradley).  John Worrall, geologist for Manzano out of Roswell. NM, then summarized their landmark work in the San Andres depressuring play (see 8-Worrall).

As evidence of the international interest in ROZs, Jamie Stewart came to the conference from Aberdeen Scotland to summarize the clever “detective” work done in explaining tilted oil/water contacts and resulting ROZs in the deep graben portion of the North Sea (see 9-Stewart).  An article by Trevor Hawes in the Midland newspaper captured the presentation’s key points (see http://www.mrt.com/business/oil/article/Time-is-ticking-on-North-Sea-oil-recovery-10799305.php).

The last set of speakers came from Croatia to update the audience and recap their exciting progress in their two CO2 EOR floods in their country (see 10-Croatia).

Executing an event such as the CO2 ROZ Conference is a large task.  A special note of thanks goes to the conference planning committee composed of representatives from the event sponsors which includes the key players in the CO2 EOR industry like Kinder Morgan CO2 Company, Oxy, Denbury Resources, Exxon Gas & Power Marketing (now XTO), Premier Oil Recovery, Advanced Resources International, Tabula Rasa, BP, Mitsubishi, Trinity CO2, GE Global Research, NCG Consulting, the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, Russell K. Hall and Associates, Enhance Energy, Chaparral Energy, Petro Harvester, Chevron, the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, Stakeholder Midstream, Wackowski Consulting, Facility & Plant Consulting, the Applied Petroleum Technology Academy, and The Permian Basin Section of the SPE. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin and Midland College are our host organizations.

Historically, the typical audience profile is biased to producers but has increasingly diversified in recent years and branched out to a substantial international following now.  The two magnets are the large number of floods in the Permian Basin which allows for a wealth of practical experience in managing them and all the experienced CO2 players come to offer a great opportunity to network.  Representatives from Canada, Japan, China, UK, Norway, Croatia and Columbia were present this year.  Previous years have included representatives from France, Denmark, Lithuania, Turkey, Italy, Nigeria, Trinidad, Mexico, and Australia.

The conference committee would especially like to express their thanks to Mella McEwen and Trevor Hawes of the Midland Reporter Telegram for their exceptional coverage of several talks during the Conference week.  Those have been referenced above and are available at www.mrt.com .