Surfactant EOR Market: Overview
EOR (enhanced oil recovery) refers to the extraction of previously unobtainable crude oil from the deposit using non-traditional methods. One of these involves injecting surfactants into the field to reduce interfacial tension, change the wettability, and control mobility in order to increase the amount of oil recovered from a previously water-flooded reservoir.
EOR technologies aim to recover billions of barrels which have already been discovered, yet are historically beyond reach. The polymer from the surfactant gets displaced during this process, increasing the viscosity of water injected into the oil reservoir. This enables the surfactant to exert more pressure on the oil without forcing its way past and simply flowing through. This method is less effective on low permeability rock structures. Recent advances in both research and surfactant product technology have lowered chemical concentrations, which, in practical terms, lessens the amount of surfactant required.
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Surfactant EOR Market: Dynamics and Trends
Recent developments in surfactant enhanced oil recovery (EOR) have greatly reduced the surfactant concentration required for effective oil recovery. Some of the primary trends followed include surfactant flooding, which boosts oil production by increasing its mobility and allowing better displacement by injecting water. It enhances the wettability of porous rocks by allowing water to flow through them, rapidly displacing more oil. Polymer displacement is a method which relies on increasing the viscosity of water, owing to which it is less effective on low permeability rock structures. Alkaline displacement depends on the chemical interaction of alkali, oil, and rock. When introduced to an oil field, the alkaline agent reacts with the oil, forming surfactants which reduce interfacial tension. This allows the oil to pass through porous rock more effectively. Microbiological treatment introduces specific micro-organisms to an oil field which metabolize some of the hydrocarbon, in turn producing byproducts which assist in oil recovery. These byproducts include solvents, acids, alcohols, bio-polymers, bio-surfactants, and gases.
There is global demand for low concentration surfactant to assist flooding, while increasing the field permeability, overcoming the capillary, cohesion, and conglutination force barriers to oil recovery. Surfactant manufacturers today also deliver advanced and safer EOR products at prices lower than ever before. Some of these innovations also cause an overall improvement in the environment and human health. A few of the recently developed EOR surfactants have been derived from plant resources such as sunflower oil, soy and corn oil, amine reacted with free fatty acids, fatty alcohols, esters and wax esters derived from soy, and corn and seed oil fractions. They are readily biodegradable, non-toxic, and non-hazardous.
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Surfactant EOR Market: Segmentation
The surfactant EOR market can be divided into the following segments: di-tridecyl sulfosuccinic acid ester, coconut diethanolamide, alkylpolyglycosides, and alkylpropoxy sulfate sodium salts by surfactant class; onshore and offshore in terms of application; and distributed over North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa based on region.
Surfactant EOR Market: Region-wise Outlook
The surfactants EOR market in Asia Pacific and Middle East & Africa is speedily expanding, with the ongoing projects in China and India expected to be significant drivers.
Surfactant EOR Market: Key Players
Key players operating in the surfactant EOR market include BASF SE, The DOW Chemical Company, Halliburton Company, Chevron, Schlumberger Inc. Huntsman Corporation, Lubrizol Corporation, Sasol Ltd., Shell Chemicals, Solvay S.A., Stepan Company, Cairn India, and Envirofluids.
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