Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)


Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is a set of techniques for increasing the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an existing oil field. These methods aim to improve the reservoir’s performance by altering its characteristics. Common methods include injecting gas, chemicals, or heat into the oil reservoir to decrease viscosity and improve the flow of the oil.


The phonetics for the keyword “Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)” is:Enhanced – /ɪnˈhanst/Oil – /ɔɪl/Recovery – /rɪˈkʌvəri/EOR – /iːˈoʊˈɑːr/

Key Takeaways

  1. Boosts Production: Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is primarily used to increase the amount of oil that can be extracted from an oil field. Traditional methods can only recover about a third of the oil in a reservoir. EOR techniques can provide substantial increases in production, making previously nonviable fields profitable.
  2. Variety of Techniques: EOR employs a range of techniques, including injecting gas, chemicals, or heat into the reservoir. The choice of method depends on the characteristics of the oil field. Gas injection, using either CO2 or natural gas, is the most widely used method. Chemical injection involves polymers, surfactants, or alkalis, while thermal recovery utilizes heat to lower the viscosity of the oil.
  3. Environmental Considerations: While EOR can boost oil production, the methods employed come with environmental considerations. The injection of CO2, for instance, can help sequester this greenhouse gas, reducing emissions. However, on the downside, some techniques may involve the use of potentially harmful substances, and energy use in EOR is significant which also contributes to emissions.


Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is a crucial term in the business/finance and energy sectors because it represents advanced techniques used to increase the volume of oil that can be extracted from a field. Standard processes only extract a fraction of the available oil, but EOR interventions can significantly improve both production efficiency and the economic viability of wells, even in challenging reservoir conditions. This bolsters the profitability and lifecycle of oil extraction operations, thus enhancing shareholder value in oil companies. Additionally, as oil demand remains substantial worldwide, EOR helps in meeting energy requirements while new cleaner technologies are still under development. Therefore, understanding EOR is critical for stakeholders involved in energy financial planning, investment, and management.


Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is primarily used in the oil and gas industry to maximize the extraction of reserves from a mature oil field. The purpose of EOR is to extend the productive life of an oil field and improve its operational efficiency. An oil field could still have a significant amount of oil left even after the primary and secondary recovery stages, and EOR helps to tap into these remaining reserves. It focuses on altering reservoir characteristics, reducing oil viscosity, or increasing the displacement efficiency of the oil, which in turn allows more oil to be produced. EOR techniques play a significant role in both improving the profit potential of old oil fields and reducing dependency on the relentless pursuit of new oil field discoveries, which can often be more technologically challenging and economically unfeasible. However, these techniques also entail significant costs and technological challenges, so they are generally deployed in scenarios where the potential recovery justifies the investment. By successful implementation of EOR, companies can increase the total recovery from a field by up to 75%, a substantial improvement over traditional extraction methods. This makes EOR vital for ensuring the optimal exploitation of existing oil resources.


1. Chevron Corporation’s EOR Initiatives:Chevron Corporation, a multinational energy corporation, applies enhanced oil recovery techniques in their oilfields globally. For example, they’ve used steamflooding EOR at their Kern River and Midway-Sunset oil fields in California, producing over 50% of the initial oil in place.

2. BP’s CO2 EOR Projects:British Petroleum (BP) uses carbon dioxide (CO2) EOR in several of its U.S. oilfields including Weyburn oilfield in Canada and Khazzan field in Oman. The CO2 used in these projects is captured from natural gas processing plants and then injected into the oil reservoirs to increase oil production.

3. Petronas’ Tertiary Oil Recovery Project:In Malaysia, the national oil company Petronas introduced EOR technology in their Tapis and Dulang oil fields. The aim was to extend the lifespan of these mature fields and increase their output, using methods such as water-alternating-gas (WAG) and chemical EOR to extract additional oil from these reservoirs.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)?

Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is a collection of techniques used by petroleum engineers to increase the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oil field.

How does Enhanced Oil Recovery work?

EOR works by modifying the properties of the oil so that it flows more easily. This can be done by injecting substances into the oil field, such as chemicals, gas, hot water or steam.

Why is Enhanced Oil Recovery Important?

EOR is beneficial because it allows for the extraction of more oil from existing fields, hence maximizing the utilization of resources and reducing the need for new exploration.

What are the different types of Enhanced Oil Recovery methods?

The three primary EOR methods are thermal recovery, gas injection, and chemical injection. Each method involves introducing a substance into the reserve to increase oil mobility.

What is Thermal Recovery?

Thermal recovery is an EOR method that introduces heat to the reservoir to lower the viscosity of the oil. The most common method is steam injection.

What does Gas Injection entail?

Gas injection, another type of EOR, involves injecting gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), natural gas, or nitrogen into the reservoir. The gases expand in a reservoir to push additional oil to a production wellbore.

Can you explain what Chemical Injection is?

In the chemical injection EOR method, long-chained molecules called polymers are used which increase the effectiveness of waterfloods. Alternatively, surfactants can be used to alter the tension between the water and oil.

What are some advantages of Enhanced Oil Recovery?

EOR increases the lifespan of an oil field, reducing the necessity for new exploration and drilling. It can also increase the economic viability of mature fields and mitigate environmental impact by maximizing extraction from existing oil fields.

Is Enhanced Oil Recovery environmentally friendly?

While EOR maximizes extraction from existing wells which minimizes the need for new drilling, it also involves the use of chemicals and CO2 which could have an environmental impact. However, the industry is constantly researching and implementing ways to make EOR techniques more sustainable.

What role does technology play in Enhanced Oil Recovery?

Technology is essential in EOR as it provides the tools and techniques used to enhance oil recovery. These range from the equipment used to inject substances into the well, to software for monitoring and managing fields under EOR.

Related Finance Terms

  • Carbon Dioxide Injection
  • Secondary Recovery
  • Hydrocarbon Injection
  • Chemical Injection
  • Steam Flooding

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More