--> Large Potential Reserves Remain for Secondary Oil Recovery in Ohio

2019 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting:
Energy from the Heartland

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Large Potential Reserves Remain for Secondary Oil Recovery in Ohio


As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Tertiary Oil Recovery Information System (TORIS) Project in 1995, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological Survey and Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management conducted an evaluation of the oil remaining in about 80% of the reservoirs in Ohio. The study indicated that these reservoirs contained approximately 5.7 billion barrels of original oil in place (OOIP) and that only about 369 million barrels of oil or 6.5% have been recovered by primary production methods. Since 1903, when the first known attempt at increasing oil production by secondary recovery methods was initiated in Ohio, at least 340 secondary and enhanced oil recovery projects have been documented. All of the early projects involved either air injection or natural gas repressurization. Ohio legalized water flooding in 1939, and secondary recovery operations increased dramatically. By 1942, secondary recovery operations reached their peak and accounted for 15.9% of Ohio’s daily oil production. However, since 1942, secondary recovery of oil in Ohio has continued to decline and today accounts for less than 1% of Ohio’s daily conventional oil production. This is appalling low when compared to the surrounding Appalachian states, where secondary recovery accounts for 25-50% of their conventional oil production. Today, there are only three legitimate water flood operations currently active in Ohio and all three of these projects are near the life of the project and are in decline. This presentation will address the problems and provide solutions to addressing the lack of legitimate secondary recovery operations in Ohio and demonstrate there has been success in Ohio through the evaluation of case studies of historical secondary oil recovery operations. With the decline in conventional oil and gas activity in Ohio due to the development of the Utica-Point Pleasant and Marcellus unconventional shale plays, secondary oil recovery from conventional reservoirs such as the Berea Sandstone, Clinton sandstone, and Rose Run Sandstone in Ohio can offer new opportunities for the conventional oil and gas operator.