Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) has added decades to the world’s oil supply, and shifted the petropolitical strategy of countries like the U.S., Canada, Venezuela, Indonesia, and China. In today’s mega-projects, EOR technologies extend the life of conventional reservoirs and make unconventional sources like tight oil, tar sands, and shale gas economically recoverable, so the industry is eager to have them. This report explains EOR for oil industry outsiders, to describe opportunites for collaboration. It ranks 14 chemical, thermal, gas, and microbial EOR technology developers on the Lux Innovation Grid, and compares them with artificial lift, coiled tubing, hydraulic fracturing, and other approaches. Building on discussions with industry experts, it assesses their utility in various field situations like depleted, offshore, or high-salt reservoirs, and identifies synergies with synthetic biology, advanced material, and water technologies.
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