China begins to implement new Environmental Protection Law from Jan.1, 2015.The regulations have been considered to be one of the most stringent provisions that relating with “Daily Penalty”, “Deportation”, “Administrative Attachment”. And our government starts “iron-fisted control” on environmental protection issues.
Obviously it’s not favorable news for major oilfields in China. Compared with coal chemical industry which is widely denounced because of pollution, the environmental protection problem in oilfields has wider area and deeper impact. With the development of oilfields as well as its continuous scale expansion, it has some brilliant achievements in nature transformation and economic development, while it brings a series of environmental pollution and ecological destruction at the meantime.
Pressure of Environmental Protection
Economic benefit is the result on the right of equality sign, but as to the production cost and environmental protection cost on the left of equality sign, each enterprise has its own account to calculate. The environmental protection cost of some company is 0, of some is even higher than their production cost.
Crisis often comes beyond our expectation in this rapidly changing era. While oilfield exploitation bringing remarkable economic benefits for local government, it takes hundreds and even billions to control the environmental pollution, which is clearly not worth the candle. The implement of new Environmental Protection Law forces these oilfields have no choice but to increase expense on environmental protection, which is undoubtedly a heavy blow for oilfield surrounded by lower production and lower oil price.
It is enterprise’s duty to protect the environment, prevent environmental pollution and destruction from fountainhead and control it. However, it becomes a multiple choice question when enterprises faced with pressure of its economic efficiency severely compressed or even deficit and blocking of some local government’s view of GDP-based achievement.
Every enterprise has perplexity on how to balance the relationship between economic benefits and environmental protection. Major oilfields invest lots of human and material resources to do research on it and hope to iron out the problem, but it has achieved little so far.
“We are aware of this problem long time ago. China is not a lean oil country, then how to release the oil if we cannot explore it. And the previous investment would in vain if the oil could not be released with chemical method, and pollution occurs even if it released. But the biotechnology could solve these problems. ”Hao Duan, CEO of ZFA Technologies Inc., says that oilfield is in an embarrassing position that the hundreds of billions of construction cost would waste if not enhance the oil recovery, while the pollution cost is much higher if enhance it according to the existing methods.
The problem is solved by ZFA Technologies Inc. finally, and BERO Biosurfactant, the core technology used in the tertiary oil recovery, research and developed independently by ZFA. And its greatest advantage is environmental friendly. The technology is to exploit crude oil in the rock by biosurfactant which fermented by the microorganism. And its component is enzyme. According to basic understanding about modern biology, enzyme is a protein in vivo, serving as a catalyst of metabolism. It can specifically facilitate a certain reaction without participating in the reaction, which won’t cause the secondary pollution or plugging.
BERO belongs to MEOR, an emerging technology in oil production industry. And MEOR is the harmless treatment to reservoir without confusion to the soil, formation water or crude oil. Its principle is decided by the biological nature of biological products, which is totally different from chemical reaction. And it directly acts on pollutants and will not change the properties of crude oil or produce any new ramification.
Besides, microorganism is everywhere in nature, from water, soil to the air. And both the microorganism and its metabolites are natural organic matter, which will not pollute the environment. Therefore, BERO biosurfactant will not cause any pollution to the soil or water.
“Biotechnology itself has been in oil industry for over 60 years. Many institutions including government have invested much time, human resource as well as technology in MEOR” says by Hao Duan. People are aware of the MERO’s friendliness to the environment, but the technological conundrum still exists.
Hao Duan has compared their technology with that of others on the basis of analyzing advantage of domestic and international oil recovery technology. He thinks that the effect of their technology is the best among the existing ones, and it is the earliest to achieve industrial experiment. “We have our own uniqueness, and our leading primacy could be guaranteed by unique fermentation principle and research and development of unique stimulation process as well as unique formulation”
Take Economic Benefits into Consideration
“The previous MEOR is not economic enough with high cost and unstable effect.” Says by Hao Duan, indigenous microorganism enhanced oil recovery is widely used in MEOR, which is to gather bacteria from the oil wells and inject nutrient solution to wells on a regular basis according to the bacteria situation to make the bacteria replicate and reproduce by itself underground.
It’s not pertinent as great difference existing in different reservoirs as well as each well’s specific situation. Instead of use in replication, it’s necessary to conduct one to one experiment then take corresponding method according to the specific condition. “It belongs to custom-made, being effective to this well, not necessarily effective to that one.” says by Hao Duan.
“MEOR’s unstable effect and higher later maintenance cost make it could not be popularized in a wider scope.” Hao Duan says. However, BERO biosurfactant could overcome these problems. As its component is enzyme, known as high efficiency, mild microorganism in the world, it will be catalyst to biological reaction, but do not participate in the reaction, so it is suitable to be used in any well.
In the earlier stage of BERO biosurfactant stimulation, the stimulation scheme could be obtained according to the current data of wells rather than plenty of additional experiments and analysis. Besides, the stimulation process is quite simple with no need of lots of human and material resources. And it does not need any follow-up work after stimulation. In addition, strong operability makes it more acceptable for production personnel in oilfields.
Besides, the production increase rate of BERO biosurfactant is quite higher. The tests in many oilfields conducted by Hao Duan shows that the success rate above 90%, annual production increase rate is 120%, and the best record shows annual production increase rate even reaches 540%.
Apart from environmental friendliness and high production increase rate, BERO biosurfactants is also characterized by its quick response, long maintenance time as well as high adaptability. It could efficiently release hydrocarbon (oil) on the surfaces of solid particles. And it only takes a few seconds to complete biological response. In addition, the effective period could last for more than 12 months with no need to maintain.
This determines BERO biosurfactant’s lower cost. Lots of MEOR technology has less cost in the primary stage but higher expense in the later-stage maintenance. However, BERO biosurfactant does not need any later-stage maintenance cost as its effect could last for more than 12 months.
Chemical recovery is the most widely used in domestic oil exploitation with its lower cost and fast effect. But its disadvantage is to cause non recoverable pollution to the environment. And the obstacle of cost must be broke through if biotechnology replaces chemical technology.
With the implement of new Environmental Protection Law, another cost should add into the enterprise’s account, which is penalty cost. The “Daily Penalty” in the new Environmental Protection Law makes the company have to take preventative measures. At present, only the enterprise must know clearly about its “environmental account” could it calculate “economic account” better.
“If developing in the traditional way with lower cost, it can be profitable in the economic income, but the investment in environmental protection in the future must be higher than its economic income” Hao Duan says, BERO biosurfactant has higher input-output ratio, no lose to chemical recovery. If calculated according to input-output ratio, BERO™ biosurfactant is 1:5.
For instance, at present, it takes 3 Million to 5 Million to drill a new well, calculating most conservative production increase as 50%, then the price in removal plugging for two low permeability old well could use to drill a new well, that is income increases at least 3 Million, while the investment is only one-tenth of the income. The application of BERO™ biosurfactant applied in stripped wells and wells with reduced production of mature oilfields entering the late stage of development can prolong the duration of return by more than one year, extend development period and gain significant economic benefit.
That’s to say, environmental protection could be taken into account on the premise of no loss of economic benefits, which is a multiple choice question.