With an ever increasing demand to increase production it is more than ever important to understand how recovery from existing fields can be improved. A project between the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne (EPFL) and the industry has analysed the importance of the various factors controlling recovery, primarily of oil, and the efficiency of different technologies applied to extract hydrocarbons. Some 424 offshore producing fields were selected, representing some 140 billion barrels of oil-in-place. Oil gravity and reservoir characteristics like lithology, trap type and drive mechanism were analysed for different field types to determine common parameters for recovery. Albeit statistical analysis shows significant differences between reservoir types, the applied recovery technology is a more determining factor. Injection of water and gas is the most common recovery improvement method, with water injection being the most important. Drilling technology has evolved over time and examples are provided for two fields offshore Congo to demonstrate the effect of new technology like horizontal wells for production and improved injection schemes.


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