France’s Total is building a new chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) pilot plant on a reservoir at its offshore Abu al-Bukhoosh field in Abu Dhabi.

The plant, which will inject a polymer and surfactant solution to measure the enhancement of oil recuperation, is expected to start up in the first half of 2014.

Total, which is carrying out the project through its wholly owned Total ABK subsidiary, expects the test results to be available in mid-2014.

“Temperature and salinity levels within offshore and onshore oil reservoirs are such in Abu Dhabi that they do not allow for any existing chemical EOR solution to be implemented,” says a spokesperson from Total.

Total has already been able to reach record recovery levels on some oil reservoirs, reaching 55 per cent of the oil in place, due to technologies implemented in the 1980s and 1990s, such as gas-lift and full-field injection of tertiary gas.

The Abu al-Bukhoosh field, located 180 kilometres from Abu Dhabi city, is a joint venture of Total and Japan’s Inpex, which started operations in 1974. The field currently produces about 600 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) of gas and 11,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil.

The global average oil well recovery rate is about 35 per cent but, according to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco), the emirate is planning to improve its average oil recovery rate to 70 per cent. Abu Dhabi is currently planning an EOR plant to inject recovered carbon dioxide into its onshore Rumaitha field.