US Energy Department R&D Funding To Include Conventional, Shale EOR

The projects are designed to reduce technical risks in enhanced oil recovery and expand application of EOR methods in conventional and unconventional reservoirs.

National Energy Technology Laboratory

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will contribute $40 million to five cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects designed to reduce technical risks in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and expand application of EOR methods in conventional and unconventional reservoirs.

The research will also improve understanding of unconventional reservoirs and improve recovery factors for these plays, DOE said. The projects were chosen as part of DOE’s basin-specific research strategy focused on increasing ultimate recovery and operational efficiency.

For the US unconventional space, the funding builds on DOE’s contribution of $44.5 million, reported by the agency in June, to a variety of R&D projects intended to improve characterization and develop technologies that will boost recovery.

In both allocations, DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the projects.


  • Field-pilot test of foam-assisted hydrocarbon gas injection in Bakken formations: The University of Wyoming will apply foam-assisted gas injection EOR through a field pilot test. The knowledge gained from the pilot will be used to calibrate computational simulators to better predict field performance, assess and mitigate potential risks, and ensure successful implementation in the field.

DOE funding: $8,000,000Non-DOE funding: $2,003,286
Total value: $10,003,286


  • CO2 EOR improvement in conventional fields using rich gas: The University of North Dakota will determine the effect of injecting blended CO2 and rich gas into an active CO2 EOR field to improve production performance. Positive test results will support the development of infrastructure and a market for stranded gas.

DOE funding: $8,000,000Non-DOE funding: $2,000,000
Total value: $10,000,000

  • Improving EOR performance through data analytics and next-generation controllable completions: The University of North Dakota will field test an advanced machine-learning approach to enable active (smart) well control during CO2 EOR. Successful completion of the field-based research will help reduce uncertainty associated with CO2 EOR performance and improve project economics.

DOE funding: $8,000,000Non-DOE funding: $2,000,000
Total value: $10,000,000

  • Chemically enabled CO2 EOR in multi-porosity, hydrothermally altered carbonates in the southern Michigan Basin: Battelle Memorial Institute will develop improved strategies for EOR from challenging reservoirs along fault systems through advanced field characterization, integrated physics-based machine learning and data analytics, laboratory process development, and optimized field tests. The results will provide strategies to improve oil recovery in complex carbonate formations and reinvigorate depleted oil fields.

DOE funding: $7,999,659Non-DOE funding: $2,153,668
Total value: $10,153,327

  • Engineered water for improved oil recovery from fractured reservoirs: The University of Texas will field test technology designed to improve oil recovery in fractured oil-wet carbonate reservoirs by using injected water engineered with ionic modifications. Development of improved oil recovery techniques from fractured carbonates will help unlock oil potential in West Texas and beyond.

DOE funding: $7,919,826Non-DOE funding: $2,000,438
Total value: $9,920,264