Office of Fossil Energy

Energy Department Invests $9 Million in Offshore Projects in Support of Enhanced Oil Recovery

September 17, 2019

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy has selected three projects to receive nearly $9 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002005, Advanced Subsea System Technologies to Improve Efficiency and Capabilities for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) in Offshore Wells.

These projects aim to enhance the potential for EOR in offshore settings by advancing promising proof-of-concept technologies to reduce subsea facility complexity; increase control and monitoring; and enable greater tieback distances to production facilities. These projects will focus on maximizing the value of conventional resources in offshore settings.

DOE anticipates that the projects will be executed in two phases. Phase 1 will involve proof-of-concept validation of tools, technologies, and processes in a laboratory or field analog setting. Phase 2 will consist of an integrated full-scale prototype demonstration in a relevant environment to persuade stakeholders to continue developing the technology to the commercialization stage.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the selected projects. Descriptions follow:

1. Game-Changing Innovation to Improve Efficiency and Capability for Enhanced Oil Recovery in Offshore Wells: Project ULTRA: Underwater Laser Telecommunications & Remote Access – Oceanit Laboratories, Inc. (Honolulu, HI) plans to mature the existing ULTRA technology by marinizing and scaling-up modular units to demonstrate a high-bandwidth, scalable subsea communications system that enables near real-time data exfiltration for 4D seismic reservoir monitoring. During this effort, Oceanit will partner with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and continue its partnership with Shell and other operators to scale and demonstrate EOR subsea laser communications.

DOE Funding: $3,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $2,250,000; Total Value: $5,250,000

2. Enhancing Offshore Recovery by Enabling Longer, Safer, and Cheaper Subsea Well TiebacksSubsea Shuttle, LLC (Houston, TX) aims to deliver a safe, effective, low-cost solution to assist with the monetization of economically stranded resources via subsea wells tied back to existing host facilities. This two-phase project will construct and qualify a full-scale prototype subsea chemical storage and injection system for production chemicals enabling longer tie-backs (reaching resources that otherwise would not be recovered).               

DOE Funding: $2,861,962; Non-DOE Funding: $2,180,000; Total Value: $5,041,962

3. Advanced Multi-Dimensional Capacitance Sensors Based Subsea Multiphase Mass Flow Meter to Measure and Monitor Offshore Enhanced Oil Recovery Systems Tech4Imaging, LLC (Columbus, OH) plans to provide a means for EOR developers to measure and monitor multiphase flows in situ for offshore installations. This project aims to reduce cost, increase efficiency, and provide early detection of changes in the production such as water breakthrough. During the project, the multiphase mass flow meter will be tested in a relevant subsea environmental chamber to demonstrate the mechanical integrity of the equipment in such an environment. 

DOE Funding: $2,999,931; Non-DOE Funding: $2,323,345; Total Value: $5,323,276

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research and development projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced fossil energy technologies and further the sustainable use of the Nation’s fossil resources. To learn more about the programs within FE, visit the Office of Fossil Energy website or sign up for FE news announcements. More information about the National Energy Laboratory is available on the NETL website.