Improved oil recovery techniques and their role in energy efficiency and reducing CO2 footprint of oil production

R. Farajzadeh*, G. Glasbergen, V. Karpan, R. Mjeni, D. M. Boersma, A. A. Eftekhari, A. Casquera Garcia, J. Bruining

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Production of mature oil fields emits significant amount of CO2 related to circulation and handling of large volumes of gas and water. This can be reduced either by (1) using a low-carbon energy source and/or (2) reducing the volumes of the non-hydrocarbon produced/injected fluids. This paper describes how improved oil recovery techniques can be designed to reduce CO2 intensity (kgCO2/bbl oil) of oil production by efficient use of the injectants. It is shown that CO2 emissions associated with injection of chemicals is strongly influenced by water cut at the start of the project, extent of the water cut reduction, and chemical utilization factor defined as the volume of produced oil per mass or volume of the injectant. As an example, for the oil field considered in this study, 3–8% reduction in water cut can result in 50–80% reduction in its CO2 intensity. In addition to the incremental oil production with lower CO2 intensity, the earlier implementation of enhanced oil recovery methods can extend the lifetime of the mature fields if carbon emission cut-offs are applied. In case of CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR), the large storage potential for CO2 can significantly reduce the overall CO2 emissions of oil, albeit at a large energetic cost. For CO2 EOR using CO2 captured from gas power plants, improving the utilization factor from 2 bbl/tCO2 to 4 bbl/tCO2 can reduce the CO2 intensity of the produced oil from 120 kgCO2/bbl to 80 kgCO2/bbl (33% reduction).

Original languageEnglish
Article number133308
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Climate change
  • CO intensity
  • Enhanced oil recovery
  • Exergy analysis
  • Improved oil recovery


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