Thermal enhanced oil recovery specialist, Cavitas Energy, is the most recent innovative technology firm to receive funding support from technology accelerator, the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC).
Developing an industry-changing technological solution for heavy oil, Cavitas has been awarded funding which will be dedicated to the fast-track development of their 3rd Thermal Heavy Oil Recovery (THOR) prototype.
THOR acts as a downhole heating device, which allows bypassing fluid to be heated at source as opposed to traditional methods where steam is generated at surface and pumped into the reservoir which can lead to large energy losses.
Although the use of steam in thermal EOR is currently applied throughout the industry, Cavitas’ THOR technology is an industry first, it’s smaller equipment footprint yielding the potential to unlock previously discounted heavy oil reserves.
Steve Johnstone, MD of Cavitas, comments: “As we continue to push the boundaries with our technology, we are exceptionally pleased to have the support of OGTC. THOR is approaching market entry, and with the help of OGTC we can realise this much sooner”.
This project has been included as part of the OGTC’s Marginal Developments Solution Centre initiative to transform the approach to developing marginal fields. Stating that new technology and approaches to field development are needed to unlock the big prize in UKCS marginal developments, OGTC has endeavoured to see a number of initiatives already underway.
Niki Chambers, Marginal Developments Project Manager at the OGTC, said: “With over 400 million barrels of heavy oil categorised as marginal developments in the UKCS, we are actively seeking technologies for enhanced oil recovery that will support our efforts to tap into these reserves. Cavitas’ technology THOR has the potential to increase recovery by 10-20%, representing approximately 74 million barrels that would be unrecoverable otherwise, and we’re looking forward to supporting them through the first stage of their project.”
The project is scheduled to last 18 months over two phases. In order of ascertaining the true value of THOR to the UKCS, phase one of the project will see Cavitas conduct further reservoir modelling in collaboration with a UK based heavy oil operator.
Steve Johnstone said: “With the UK’s OGA predicting that by 2025 42% of daily North Sea production will be heavy oil, we recognise that THOR has the potential to play a very large part in the future of the UKCS. Releasing this technology to the marketplace will help operators to increase recovery of heavier crudes, potentially unlocking some 400 million barrels stranded within marginal developments.”
The second phase will see Cavitas design, build and thoroughly lab test THOR 3. This version will be a well deployable THOR tool, eventually leading to a land-based heavy oil well field trial. OGTC has suggested that a suitable location for this trial is yet to be identified and agreed upon as part of this project. Upon completion of this, a final phase of the project will see Cavitas perform a live well test of THOR conducted over an extended period of time.
With an immediate start date, both OGTC and Cavitas will work closely to ensure that the technology is progressed through the phases in an efficient manner for market readiness.