Primary Recovery


DEFINITION of 'Primary Recovery'

The first stage of oil and gas production, in which natural reservoir drives are used to recover hydrocarbons. Due to the difference in pressure within the reservoir and at the bottom of the well, hydrocarbons are driven towards the well and to the surface. During primary recovery, typically only 5-15% of initial hydrocarbons are produced for oil reservoirs.

Also called primary production.

BREAKING DOWN 'Primary Recovery'

Oil and gas companies will expend less money retrieving the resources from the ground during this initial phase. As production continues the reservoir pressure will decrease and hence the differential pressure decreases, which may necessitate the use of a pump to increase production. The limit for primary recovery is generally reached either when the reservoir pressure is too low, or the mix of gas or water in the output stream is too high. The next stage then involves the use of secondary recovery techniques such as gas injection or flooding.

  1. Unconventional Oil

    A type of petroleum that is produced or obtained through techniques ...
  2. Oil Shale

    A type of sedimentary rock composed chiefly of a combination ...
  3. Commercial Well

    Any oil or gas drilling site that produces enough oil or gas ...
  4. Oil Field

    A tract of land used for extracting petroleum, or crude oil, ...
  5. Enhanced Oil Recovery - EOR

    Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is the process of obtaining stranded ...
  6. P5+1

    The P5+1 is a group of world powers who have been negotiating ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing Basics

    Oil: A Big Investment With Big Tax Breaks

    Oil and gas investments can provide unmatched deduction potential for accredited investors.
  2. Active Trading

    Oil And Gas Industry Primer

    Before jumping into this hot sector, learn how these companies make their money.
  3. Fundamental Analysis

    Accounting For Differences In Oil And Gas Accounting

    How a company accounts for its expenses affects how its net income and cash flow numbers are reported.
  4. Options & Futures

    Peak Oil: Problems And Possibilities

    Learn a little more about the "non" part of this nonrenewable resource.
  5. Active Trading

    Unearth Profits In Oil Exploration And Production

    Drill down into financial statements to tap into the right companies and let returns flow.
  6. Economics

    The US States That Produce the Most Oil

    Learn what eight states produce over 90% of U.S. oil, and how fracking has helped the United States become the world's largest oil-producing nation.
  7. Stock Analysis

    The 5 Best Buy-and-Hold Energy Stocks

    Understand why energy companies' stock are volatile when oil prices are volatile. Learn about the top five energy companies to buy and hold.
  8. Investing

    Have Commodities Bottomed?

    Commodity prices have been heading lower for more than four years, being the worst performing asset class of 2015 with more losses in cyclical commodities.
  9. Investing

    Oil: Why Not to Put Faith in Forecasts

    West Texas Intermediate oil futures have recently made pronounced movements. What do they bode for the world market?
  10. Markets

    How Energy’s Debt Bubble Affects Your Portfolio

    Depressed crude oil prices are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Here's how it will affect an oil industry riddled with unsustainable debt.
  1. How much oil must be produced to maintain inventory levels in the United States?

    Domestic energy investors should track the reserve inventory of crude oil for the United States, which is released in a weekly ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. To what extent is the oil and gas sector dominated by a few major companies?

    Oil and gas are two expansive and highly diverse product lines, with active competition domestically and internationally. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What factors are the primary drivers of share prices in the oil and gas sector?

    The primary drivers of share prices in the oil and gas sector are energy prices and economic growth. Stock prices in the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What impact does the growth in horizontal drilling have in the oil and gas sector?

    It is tough to separate the growth in horizontal drilling from the growth in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking; the two techniques ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the main substitutes for oil and gas energy?

    The main substitutes for oil and gas energy include nuclear power, solar power, ethanol and wind power. Fossil fuels dwarf ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How much of the United States' energy comes from oil and gas?

    As of 2014, the oil and gas sector accounted for approximately 50% of total U.S. energy needs, with approximately another ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  2. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  3. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  4. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  5. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  6. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!