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MATRx™ EOR Technologies FAQs


Q:  How does MATRx™ work?

A: MATRx™ can take advantage of two characteristics certain microbes exhibit that are particularly suited for oil recovery. DuPont refers to these characteristics as wetting and plugging. Wetting is the ability of a microbe to decrease the amount of surface contact between the oil, leading to reduced residual oil. Plugging is the ability of microbes to produce biopolymers which can plug up holes through which injection water is easily passing. By blocking some channels in the underground rock formation, injection water is now forced to seek out previously unswept channels, reaching previously inaccessible oil and improving sweep efficiency.

Either of these characteristics, wetting or plugging, can be useful in increasing oil recovery. DuPont will work with the customer to determine which characteristic is better suited to the individual reservoir.

DuPont has done extensive laboratory testing, as well as multiple field trials on the technology, all showing that both of these mechanisms are effective in raising the oil recovery decline curve. See our SPE articles for more details!

Q: How is MATRx™ different from other MEOR technologies?

A: Most commercial MEOR technologies will sample, analyze, and create a nutrient package to foster downhole microbial growth. However, our process of Sample-> Assess->Inoculate->Feed is unique in the industry, and is tailored to the unique environmental conditions of your well. During the assessment phase, we will do DNA analysis as necessary to find a functional response of a microbe in authentic fluids from your reservoir. In the inoculation phase, we will inject your well with a concentrated volume of the favored microbial species we have identified. Our data (Figure 1 below) shows that inoculation is critical to the overall success of MEOR, and we are the only major MEOR supplier who does it.

Q: What makes MEOR a Clean Technology?

A: MEOR uses significantly less energy and chemicals than other enhanced oil recovery technologies. The most common incumbent Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technologies used for heavy oils are thermal technologies that include cyclic steam stimulation, steam assisted gravity drainage, and fireflood, all of which involve the use of hydrocarbon combustion to extract oil. Other methods for enhanced oil recovery include chemical injection applications that inject alkali agents, and injecting pressurized gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

MEOR is expected to have lower CO2 emissions, total life cycle energy consumption, and waste/pollution generation than these other methods. This has been verified by a high level Life Cycle Assessment.

Additionally, compared to the other energy and capital-intensive EORs, MEOR offers low or no capital expense, operational simplicity, and low risk implementation.

Q: What kinds of fields would qualify for MEOR treatment?

A: Currently MATRx™ treatment is viable in oil fields under secondary water recovery with permeability greater than 50 mD, and pH within range of 5-9. It has only been applied in sandstone and unconsolidated sandstone formations. DuPont is ready to work with you to properly test and vet your field to make sure the application of MATRx™ technology is appropriate and will be effective. For more information, click here, to contact a representative. 

Q: I’m concerned about deploying a microbial-based technology. What are the risks involved?

A: MATRx™ is a very low risk technology, both financially and in terms of the condition of your reservoir. There is no up-front capital expenditure and payments are made per well on an annual basis. There is no additional equipment to install. MATRx™ treatment is applied using the previously established infrastructure of your waterflooded system. 

Your reservoir biology will change temporarily with the application of MATRx™. However, the process is reversible, since once we stop feeding (ie making nutrients readily available) the microbe count will return to its natural state and greatly reduce in number, and the effect will dissipate. Unlike with chemical polymer flooding, no permanent capping of holes in the matrix formation will occur. DuPont uses a proprietary injection system protocol to ensure that nutrient effects are propagated far beyond the well bore to prevent well bore fouling.

Q: Why is DuPont involved in MEOR?

A: DuPont has been bringing world class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. MATRx™ EOR Technologies draw upon DuPont expertise in the chemical and biological sciences, and further expand our offerings to the oil and gas industry. After nearly a decade in development, and now commercialized with proven lab results DuPont is proud to offer an EOR technology that can help increase oil production safely and reliably with low capital investment.

Q: How can I learn more or get in touch with a representative?

A: Click here to send us an email. We will get back to you shortly. In addition to our worldwide locations, MATRx™ has representatives at our corporate headquarters in Wilmington, DE as well as at our MATRx™ field offices in Leawood, KS and Calgary, AB.

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