Since its establishment in April of 2008, King Saud University’s Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hussein Al Amoudi Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Research Chair has established itself as an invaluable resource of knowledge and research for the Kingdom’s petroleum industry.
The Chair focuses on providing the petroleum industry with valuable counsel and insight into the latest developments in enhanced oil recovery (EOR), which entails techniques for maximizing the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oil field.
The key methods of EOR include gas injection, chemical injection, microbial injection, or thermal recovery (using steam or fire-flooding), all which involve injecting some type of substance into oil layers in order to facilitate oil recovery. Injecting heat from steam or hot water, for example, dramatically reduces the viscosity of viscous oils, creating higher flow rates.
The Chair cultivates technology transfer, particularly regarding the application of nanotechnology to EOR, evaluates the latest advances in oil recovery and advises various sectors of the Saudi oil industry to help them to apply such technology.
The specific aims of the Al Amoudi Enhanced Oil Recovery Research Chair are:
- Establishing a model institute, possessing a distinguished unit of experts and well-equipped research laboratories;
- Testing various liquids and using them in wettability modification, reduction of interfacial tension, improving extraction efficiency;
- Technology transfer and consolidation via research and academic collaborations with distinguished international centers;
- Developing improved recovery methods most applicable to Middle East oil fields;
- Analyzing and applying and publishing research data and conclusions.
One example of the Chair’s efforts to meet these specific aims, is through utting-edge technology has been procured by KSU to allow EOR Chair researchers to analyze sandstone samples, as well as multi-porous limestone extracted from oil locations more than 2,300 feet (700 meters) deep in the Saudi-Kuwaiti Neutral Zone. This project is managed by Chevron Saudi Arabia and collecting these samples from deep underground is a cumbersome and costly operation.
Ethiopian-born Sheikh Al-Amoudi is a self-made billionaire who emigrated to the Kingdom in 1965 and became a Saudi citizen. His success story began with real estate and contracting, and expanded into the oil industry when he bought oil refineries in Morocco and Sweden. Sheikh Al-Amoudi has also funded King Saud University chairs addressing water, autism and diabetes.