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."

  1. Crude Stockpiles

    Reserves of unrefined petroleum, measured in numbers of barrels. ...
  2. Oil Field

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

    Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is the process of obtaining stranded ...
  4. Barrel Of Oil Equivalent (BOE)

    A term used to summarize the amount of energy that is equivalent ...
  5. Barrels Of Oil Equivalent Per Day ...

    A term that is used often in conjunction with the production ...
  6. Crude Oil

    Crude oil is a naturally occurring, unrefined petroleum product ...
Related Articles
  1. Active Trading

    Oil And Gas Industry Primer

    Before jumping into this hot sector, learn how these companies make their money.
  2. Active Trading

    Uncovering Oil And Gas Futures

    Find out how to stay on top of data reports that could cause volatility in oil and gas markets.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETFs Provide Easy Access To Energy Commodities

    Hedge against rising energy prices and diversify your portfolio with these funds.
  4. Options & Futures

    A Guide To Investing In Oil Markets

    Find out how to take advantage of this market without having to open a futures account.
  5. Economics

    What Determines Gas Prices?

    Gas prices are influenced by more than supply and demand. Find out what determines the price you pay at the pump.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Economics

    Will Winter Affect the Price of Oil and Gas?

    Learn how heating oil and natural gas prices are affected during a harsh or mild winter and the EIA's prediction for heating consumption.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Deepwater Explorations That Had Profitable Results

    Learn how deepwater oil wells sometimes deliver large profits to the companies finding them, if the oil company drillers can overcome high fixed costs.
  10. Chart Advisor

    Copper Continues Its Descent

    Copper prices have been under pressure lately and based on these charts it doesn't seem that it will reverse any time soon.
  1. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why do some oil refineries get tax exemptions?

    Oil refineries normally receive tax exemptions due to tax loopholes. The extracted fuel exemption, for example, one of the ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Do hedge funds invest in commodities?

    There are several hedge funds that invest in commodities. Many hedge funds have broad macroeconomic strategies and invest ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. 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 >>
  5. Do all oil companies received the quoted price of West Texas Intermediate for their ...

    The quoted, or spot, price of West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, crude oil is just one of several benchmark oil prices. The ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How quickly can an oil and gas producer react to changing oil prices?

    Oil and gas producers can quickly react to changes in oil prices by taking actions to reduce production and to halt capital ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  2. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  3. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  4. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  5. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  6. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
Trading Center