Methods for recovering reservoir fluids fall into three categories: primary, secondary and tertiary. In Seneca Resources’ West Division operations, both primary (which uses only pumps) and tertiary (thermally enhanced oil recovery, or TEOR) are utilized.
Within the heavy oil fields, steam injection TEOR is used to improve recovery of oil that otherwise wouldn’t flow to producing wells because it is so thick and viscous, similar to the consistency of honey. Wells that produce heavy oil are next to wells into which steam is injected. The injected steam heats the oil in the ground to make it less viscous, similar to motor oil, allowing it to flow to the producing wells. This TEOR method allows Seneca Resources to produce approximately 8,000 barrels of oil each day.