The major trend being observed in the global enhanced oil recovery market is increased investments by companies to boost the production of oil and gas. Owing to the large-scale consumption of oil and gas, many market players are focusing on expanding their production capacity, mainly through the upgradation of existing wells, exploration of new wells, and expansion in new geographies.
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Crude oil can be obtained from reservoirs through three methods: primary recovery, secondary recovery, and tertiary (enhanced) recovery. In primary recovery, the natural pressure of the reservoir drives the oil into the wellbore. The method can also be carried out with the help of an artificial lift to bring the oil to the surface. However, most of the oil that can be recovered from this method has already been recovered by producers. Hence, oil-producing companies are now using tertiary or enhanced oil recovery techniques of oil extraction.
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On the basis of technology, the enhanced oil recovery market is categorized into gas enhanced oil recovery, thermal enhanced oil recovery, and chemical enhanced oil recovery. Of these, the most widely used technique for extracting heavy viscous crude oil from reservoirs is thermal enhanced oil recovery, in which oil recovery is carried out by injecting thermal energy into the reservoir to decrease the viscosity and increase the temperature of the crude oil.
Since most of the oil reserves are heavy-oil reserves, thermal enhanced oil recovery is the widely employed technique around the world. In-situ and steam injection methods are primarily employed for thermal injection. Steam flooding, steam-assisted gravity drainage, and cyclic steam stimulation are some common steam injection methods. Steam flooding is used for light-oil reservoirs having depth less than 3,000 feet, whereas in-situ method is generally used for heavy-oil sandstone reservoirs.
The enhanced oil recovery market is expected to witness significant growth in emerging oil-producing regions, particularly Africa and the Pacific Ocean. These regions have vast unexplored reserves of oil and gas, which are sufficient to meet the growing energy demand. The untapped oil reserves in these regions, therefore, offer lucrative opportunities to the players operating in the market.
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