Return to LA SPE Home Page

LASPE Petroleum Technology Forum Announcement
February 10, 2004

The Unfulfilled Promise of Enhanced Oil Recovery –
What More Lies Ahead?

S.M. Farouq Ali, Distinguished Lecturer

S.M. Farouq Ali is Honorary Professor of oil and gas engineering at the U. of Calgary, and he also serves as a petroleum consultant. He holds BSc (Hons.), MS, and PhD degrees in petroleum engineering. He served as professor at the Pennsylvania State U. and in Alberta for over 38 years. He has authored more than 500 papers, supervised more than 200 graduate theses, and carried out more than 200 reservoir studies. Recipient of numerous awards, including two honorary doctorates from universities in Russia, he received the Petroleum Society’s Distinguished Service Award in 2000, APEGGA’s Summit Award in 2001, and Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Improved Oil Recovery Pioneer Award in 2002.

The drastic increase in oil prices in the mid-1970s led to incredible euphoria about the promise of enhanced/improved oil recovery. We thought that the technology was there and the economic conditions were just right. Some 20 years later, we see that the EOR production is a little over 700,000 B/D in the U.S.A. instead of the projected millions of B/D, even though the oil prices are much higher than those used in some of the predictions. Canada has fared slightly better in a relative sense. What went wrong? Basically two factors: first, some of the recovery technologies then considered to be promising were not ready for large-scale field application, for various reasons; and second, the research effort took a nose dive so that today the industry has virtually relinquished long-range research in preference to overseas investment in new oil fields. For example, much effort was expended in chemical and miscible flooding, shale oil recovery, and underground coal gasification, as well as other ideas, with very little return. All this has an ominous ring—world oil production has peaked, while the consumption is rapidly rising. What should be done? Greater participation of the government in the research effort is needed. What lies ahead? For status quo, eventual chaos.

We hope to see you on January 13th and Click Here to see complete calendar for future Forums.

Forum Committee:
Anthony Taglieri
Brandy Fellers
Richard Finken

For additional information, please contact: Rick Finken (310) 540-1450,

return to SPE Home Page

Questions or comments? Send email to: SPE Info
Please report any problems to the webmaster . Website design & maintenance by 4th Forge