Tertiary Recovery

DEFINITION of 'Tertiary Recovery'

A technique used to extract the remaining oil from previously drilled and now less desirable reservoirs where primary and secondary extraction methods are no longer cost effective. Tertiary recovery has proven worthwhile in several parts of the United States, including Utah, Texas and Mississippi, where these reservoirs are less desirable because their oil is more difficult to extract or requires more processing. Either problem means that recovering this oil is more expensive and probably less profitable, but tertiary recovery can still be profitable if market prices for oil are high enough.

BREAKING DOWN 'Tertiary Recovery'

One way to stimulate tertiary recovery is to inject carbon dioxide (CO2) into a reservoir. This method can yield as much as 17% of a field's original oil in place. Occidental Petroleum, Denbury Resources and Anadarko Petroleum have used this technique in North America. One difficulty with CO2 injection is that petroleum companies must secure an adequate supply of CO2 before they can implement tertiary recovery.

Tertiary recovery is also called "enhanced oil recovery" or "EOR."

RELATED TERMS
  1. Enhanced Oil Recovery - EOR

    Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is the process of obtaining stranded ...
  2. Primary Recovery

    The first stage of oil and gas production, in which natural reservoir ...
  3. Tertiary Industry

    The segment of the economy that provides services to its consumers. ...
  4. Oil Initially In Place - OIIP

    The amount of crude first estimated to be in a reservoir. Oil ...
  5. Cost Depletion

    One of two accounting methods used to allocate the costs of extracting ...
  6. Decline Curve

    A method for estimating reserves and predicting production in ...
Related Articles
  1. Economics

    What is the Tertiary Industry?

    A tertiary industry includes businesses that offer services to consumers.
  2. Options & Futures

    Want To Start Trading Oil? Understand The Basics First

    The overall economics of oil extraction is that there is money in it - both for extraction companies and their investors.
  3. Options & Futures

    The Economics of Oil Extraction

    The overall economics of oil extraction is that there is money in it - both for extraction companies and their investors.
  4. Economics

    Can Fracking Survive at $60 a Barrel?

    Can fracking survive at $60 a barrell?
  5. Economics

    The 5 Countries That Produce the Most Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

    Learn about the top five countries, China, the United States, India, Russia and Japan, that are the largest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions.
  6. Active Trading

    How Does Crude Oil Affect Gas Prices?

    Find out how this commodity's fluctuating price affects more than just how much you pay at the pump.
  7. Stock Analysis

    Tech Startups Eye the Oil Industry

    Although the oil and gas industries have plummeted, high tech companies and investors see promise.
  8. Economics

    How Oil Prices Impact the U.S. Economy

    Now that the United States has increased oil production through shale oil and fracking, low oil prices can harm the U.S. oil industry and its workers.
  9. Fundamental Analysis

    5 Biggest Risks Faced By Oil And Gas Companies

    Before investing in gas and oil stocks, consider such factors as political and geological risks.
  10. Options & Futures

    The Cost of Shale Oil Versus Conventional Oil

    Fracking technology has brought new costs to the oil extraction process, and that has an impact on the profitability of the deposits being drilled.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Why did oil prices drop so much in 2014?

    Learn the roles that decreased global demand, new supply sources in North America and actions taken by Saudi Arabia played ... Read Answer >>
  2. Why are stocks and oil so correlated right now?

    Learn whether the stock market and oil prices will continue their highly correlated price relationship or decouple again ... Read Answer >>
  3. Why do oil stock prices drop?

    Doesn't lower oil prices mean more profit for companies that use oil products?  ... Read Answer >>
  4. How does fracking affect oil prices?

    Read about the short- and long-term impacts of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, on global oil markets and oil ... Read Answer >>
  5. What causes oil prices to fluctuate?

    Discover how OPEC, demand and supply, natural disasters, production costs and political instability are some of the major ... Read Answer >>
  6. What is a heavy oil differential and how does it affect oil producers?

    Learn what the phrase "heavy oil differential" refers to and the significance of heavy oil differentials for oil production ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Labor Market

    The labor market refers to the supply and demand for labor, in which employees provide the supply and employers the demand. ...
  2. Demand Curve

    The demand curve is a graphical representation of the relationship between the price of a good or service and the quantity ...
  3. Goldilocks Economy

    An economy that is not so hot that it causes inflation, and not so cold that it causes a recession. This term is used to ...
  4. White Squire

    Very similar to a "white knight", but instead of purchasing a majority interest, the squire purchases a lesser interest in ...
  5. MACD Technical Indicator

    Moving Average Convergence Divergence (or MACD) is a trend-following momentum indicator that shows the relationship between ...
  6. Over-The-Counter - OTC

    Over-The-Counter (or OTC) is a security traded in some context other than on a formal exchange such as the NYSE, TSX, AMEX, ...
Trading Center