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Oil Production


oil-pump-resourcesSteaming for Oil Recovery

Conventional steaming of oil wells involves producing steam above the surface that is then piped into the ground to the reservoir depth to assist in the recovery of the crude oil. During this process, a large portion of the thermal energy produced is lost on the way from the generator to the oil producing region.

Governmental studies show that as much as 60% of the thermal energy is lost traveling to oil producing region.

Crude oil is produced by primary or enhanced recovery methods. Primary recovery refers to recovery by means of the “natural pressure” initially present in the reservoir at the time of discovery. When that energy and/or pressure subsides or is exhausted through normal production. The recovery of oil slows down and may even stop because of the depleted pressure.

The next step to recover this oil is to utilize some enhanced recovery methods to restore oil production. These methods include injecting fluids, such as chemicals to create chemical reactions in the oil formation, water or steam for displacement of the oil, or gases like nitrogen or fire flooding to rebuild pressure. These recovery methods are designed to introduce additional energy back into the formation to assist in the recovery of the oil resource.

Of all of the methods employed in an oil field, steaming has proven to be the most productive method utilized for recovering oil.

Steaming process accounts for 77% of all oil produced by enhanced secondary methods. Four primary mechanisms are at work during steam injection:

  • Viscosity reduction by heat
  • Hydrocarbon distillation
  • Displacement (once the steam condenses back to water)
  • Repressurization of the formation.

The process of steaming wells with devices that produce steam above ground is an excellent method of recovering oil in reservoirs that are shallower than 2,500 feet below ground. These methods have accounted for the recovery of billions of barrels of oil.

Conventional steaming involves a central stationary steam plant that provides steam to a number of wells. This method loses a majority of the thermal energy on its way to the reservoir. In contrast, our technology utilizes cyclic steaming as its method of steaming oil wells. (See Tab) Cyclic Steam Injection, Cyclic steam stimulation, or “huff and puff,” is a single well operation for crude oil enhancement. Steam/hot water is injected into the well for a period of anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the geological characteristics of the reservoir and the rate of return of the process. The well is usually returned back to production after a short soak period, in which the heat is allowed to radiate throughout the heated region.

Effective stimulation results from the injected heat and pressure that reduce the viscosity of the cold viscous oil contained in the reservoir, causing the oil to become considerably more mobilized and improving the efficiency of the pumping mechanism. The generator is set up within the allowable distance from the well, minimizing thermal losses normally associated with conventional steaming. Cyclic steaming is designed for wells 2,500 feet or less.

Steam flooding utilizing stationary steam generators is the most widely utilized method of steaming oil wells. This is an effective method of providing energy to push crude oil to the well shaft, allowing it to be pumped to the surface.

Billions of barrels of oil have been produced using this method over the last 45 years. The process utilizes a large stationary generator that provides steam for ten to fifteen (10-15) wells. The steam produced travels through a piping system to each injector well. The wells must be in close proximity to each other so that the heat will travel to the adjacent wells. This is a very expensive process because the centralized steam generator system, scrubber, water system and piping system cost over $1 million dollars to install. This cost does not include the pollution control device (scrubber) which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars maintain annually. In some cases, the produced steam has to travel long distances to the well, then down the well to the target zone.

The steam looses so much of its original thermal energy traveling to its destination; and since steam will travel to the least path of resistance, it is possible that some wells will get steam, and others will get nothing with steam flooding.



SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA December 8, 2014 (PRNewswire) - US ENERGY INITIATIVES CORPORATION, INC. (OTC Pink: USEI) is pleased to announce today that the Directors...