Individual Well Economics
Payout on the treatments is also variable. Major factors are oil production rates, oil price, lifting costs and water disposal costs. Some of the treatments that have sustained high initial oil rates have paid out in several weeks, where other treatments may take longer or may never pay out based on incremental oil recovery. In most cases wells that exhibit average performance after the treatments are paying out in 3 to 6 months. This is based on ± 18 BOPD incremental oil recovery for 6 months, $22/bbl oil price and $45,000 job cost (this is based on only incremental oil recovery, water reduction savings are not considered).
Also the methods used to evaluate the treatments affect payout and economics. Initially in most instances, the water shut-off treatments using gelled polymers were just that, treatments conducted to reduce the amount of water production. Wells had become marginal to uneconomic due the amount of water that had to be handled. Well economics could be improved by reducing water production. Therefore, any oil recovered at a water-oil ratio lower than prior to the treatment was considered incremental recovery. The increased oil production rates and recovery of additional oil reserves was considered to be a fortunate by-product. Now operators are conducting the treatments with the expectation of improving oil recovery and in most instances are disappointed if that does not happen. Some operators have indicated that in their circumstances they could not economically justify the treatments if incremental oil recovery did not occur. Also, operators are now treating wells that are economic, in hopes of improving economics and adding reserves. Operators have reported adding oil reserves for $2 to $5 per barrel from polymer treatments.
Estimate of State-Wide Economics
Assuming $28 per bbl for the price of oil, $15 per barrel of polymer as a treatment cost, $10 per barrel of oil as an operating expense, $0.05 per barrel of water as a disposal fee and the treatment was conducted 18 months ago, the average payout is 6.1 months. Payout using the above assumptions based on only incremental oil production (excluding savings from reduced water production) is 7.2 months.
At $28 per barrel of oil an additional $45,939,600 has been added to the State economy from incremental oil production since 2001.
Updated February 2003