Petroleum Recovery Research Center


Petroleum Recovery Research Center The Petroleum Recovery Research Center (PRRC), the only research center of its kind in New Mexico, is a scientific research organization dedicated to solving problems related to the oil and gas industry. The PRRC’s mission is to develop, through theoretical and practical research, improved oil recovery methods to increase oil and natural gas recovery from New Mexico’s and the nation’s oil and gas reservoirs and to transfer new technology to the industry and to local independents.

Interaction between the educational institution and the PRRC’s research staff is extensive. New Mexico Tech offers the only petroleum and natural gas engineering degree program in the state, and students have ample opportunity to participate in ongoing front‐line research at the PRRC while pursuing their academic training. The center’s current research program includes studies involving the use of gels to reduce water production and increase reservoir sweep efficiency; improved carbon dioxide (CO2 )flooding with emphasis on mechanisms that control injectivity; fundamental research on rock/fluid interactions and their influence on oil recovery, with emphasis on studies of wettability alteration and asphaltenes; reservoir characterization using artificial intelligence; CO2 sequestration studies; and the development of membrane and sensor technologies for use in cleanup of produced water from oil and gas recovery, for high‐ temperature CO2 capture, and for the efficient conversion of natural gas into more valuable higher hydrocarbons and hydrogen. Current New Mexico oil and gas production data and related information is disseminated to the public via the center’s GO‐TECH web site, developed in‐house, which is continually expanding as a result of ongoing collaborations with various state and federal agencies and with local independents.

The PRRC employs 20 full‐time research and professional personnel, provides research assistantship support to an average of 25 graduate students year round, and employs an average of 22 undergraduate students throughout the academic year. The center’s daily operations are conducted at the John M. and Esther L. Kelly Petroleum Building which features general office space, 20 laboratories (approximately 10,000 square feet), specially designed storage areas, a core‐cutting and welding facility, machine and woodworking shops, a reports and publications office, and a large seminar room.