Micro sensor motes successfully travel through a Canadian heavy oil reservoir
REGINA, SK, Nov. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – What was once believed impossible
became a reality on November 16(th): micro sensor motes were successfully sent into a Canadian heavy oil
reservoir through an injection well and retrieved via a production
This exciting result is from a field trial conducted by the PI
Innovation Centre – a joint venture of the Canadian Petroleum
Technology Research Centre (PTRC) and its Dutch-based partner INCAS(3) – in collaboration with Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL),
which provided field access.
Heavy oil recovery challenges
Using existing recovery methods such as CHOPS (Cold Heavy Oil Production
with Sand), heavy oil reservoirs in Canada see only a five-to-eight
percent recovery rate. In CHOPS, a sand and oil mixture is extracted;
the produced sand leads to the creation of empty spaces or ‘wormholes’
in the reservoir. These ‘wormholes’ form a potentially immense network
of channels preventing pressurization and, thus, influencing the
efficiency of oil production. If this network of wormholes exists, sensors should provide information
as to their number, diameter, direction and location.
Unprecedented success in field test
Initial results indicate that between 10% and 20% of injected sensor
motes – those with a diameter of 7 mm or less – successfully passed
through the reservoir. John van Pol, Managing Director of INCAS(3), is positive about the results.
“The fact that the sensor motes traveled through the reservoir is a
promising start for this innovative research.”
Dr. Malcolm Wilson, CEO of the PTRC, also noted.
“With the kinds of recovery rates we experience in CHOPS production,”
said Wilson, “to actually be able to see and better understand these
wormholes will enable us to develop improved recovery techniques.”
The next step is to analyze the results. The PI Innovation Centre will
set up a research program before moving to the next phase of trials.
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SOURCE Petroleum Technology Research Centre