Murphy to Reinvigorate Bodo Oil Patch With $30 Million Water Flood Project

The Bodo oilfields are being revitalized with the announcement of a $30 million water flood project to be constructed over the next four to five years by Murphy Oil Company Ltd.

Work is expected to begin within the next few weeks that will include eventually drilling between 35 and 40 oil wells three miles north east of Bodo.

The plan uses technology that Murphy is employing for the first time in their fields near Bodo. Water will be forced deep into the ground to “re-pressure” the reservoir and push the oil outward towards pumps.

The non-potable water to be used will be pumped from a 600 foot depth using three wells. The water has been tested as containing salt levels eight times higher than normal drinking water. At first 1,000 cubic meters of water will be used daily from the wells but after production, water used will be recirculated so the groundwater use will drop.
The water will be stored in tanks at a battery and using surface pumps will be injected 2,500 feet deep into the oil formation.

Rob Ellis, senior development engineer, who was one of several Murphy people from Calgary and this area hosting an open house in Bodo on Wednesday, November 21 told The News that they hope to retrieve 10 million barrels of oil using the water flood project.

The technology is not new in the industry as Wascana Energy nearby (across the Alberta-Saskatchewan border) and near Senlac, Sask. have been using it. In the Macklin-Major areas five water flood fields have been operating for a decade. He and another person used to work for Wascana Energy and are now using their knowledge in the new project.

The enhanced recovery project required the approval of the company’s board in Calgary and the parent company, Murphy Oil Corp. in Arkansas, USA.

The construction will be divided into two phases and the life of the fields using this technology is estimated at 25 years.

Phase one will take two years to develop and involve five sections of land while phase two will start in 2003 or 2004 and use four more sections of land.

The first oil produced in the project is expected to be flowing by late summer 2002.

Although the earliest player in the area—Tesoro Petroleum began working the fields in the mid 1970s—still 95 percent of the heavy oil is still locked in the ground.

Murphy Oil Company Ltd. purchased the pool of heavy oil from Union Pacific Resources (UPR) two years ago and then did a pilot project in January that showed “encouraging results” says Ellis.

Engineers are expecting a zero flaring system and a “non-smelling facility” (unless an emergency arises).

The project will involve hiring electricians, truck drivers, pipeline welders, crane operators and others. When the job is complete Murphy will likely hire two more people as full time operators. But, adds Ellis on the service side this means a longer term economic impact because their pool of oil will require service from firms for the next 20 to 25 years “so it’s important to Provost and Bodo.” In addition there will be compensation to local landowners for using or crossing their land.

“This is a very important project for Murphy” adds Ellis.

Owner of Bodo Oilfield Maintenance, Eugene Heck echoed those sentiments saying that the plan means “a lot of work” in the maintenance, steaming and different services. He says this will help Provost, Bodo and Macklin putting a lot of money into the area and into the pockets of local farmers. “It will help everybody.” Heck, who has been based in Bodo for the last 25 years and has approximately 20 people on staff expects to hire more people as the project advances.

Heck says that Norcen Energy had been planning a water flood project five to six years ago but then sold out their interests.

The heavy oil, when recovered will be sent by pipeline to the Chicago area to customers in refineries.

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