Muscat: The first full-scale Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) project in the south of Petroleum Development Oman's (PDO) concession was officially opened in Marmul in the Al Wusta region yesterday.

Dr. Mohammad Bin Hamad Al Rumhi, Oil and Gas Minister, formally opened the EOR project.

"This is a historic occasion for the company as it represents a new chapter in the company's development, as this is the first full-scale enhanced oil recovery," said PDO's new Managing Dir-ector Raoul Restucci.

"The new project aims to add a further 8,000 barrels per day of oil production from the Marmoul reservoir," he added.

He pointed out that the company's oil production had achieved high rates with the use of traditional technologies. "After 20 years of production the Marmoul output started falling, but our sub-surface studies showed that there was still plenty of oil left in the ground," he said.

Optimum solution

After studying a wide range of EOR technologies, he said, the team identified polymer flooding as the optimum solution. This involves adding polymer granules to the water that is injected into mature fields to ‘sweep' or push the oil towards producing wells.

"Adding polymer to the water increases its viscosity, or thickness, which leads to a more effective oil sweep; this in turn helps increase production and, most importantly, the ultimate recovery of the field. This first phase of the Marmul Polymer project will lead to an increase in the oil recovery factor by 10 per cent in the targeted area," he said.

He pointed out that no company in the region has previously implemented the polymer technology.

He also pointed out that the water treatment plant is designed to process a staggering 80,000 cubic metres per day and the polymer preparation facilities can handle an impressive 17,500 cubic metres a day.

"At present, PDO has three other EOR projects underway using two other main EOR technologies. At Harweel we are working towards the completion of a major project using miscible gas injection, while at Qarn Alam and Amal we are using steam injection technology," he added.