BP robot boosts oil recovery

BP IS now operating the world's first robotic core flooding system that identifies and evaluates enhanced oil recovery technologies.

The core flood robot measures the effectiveness of water or gas injected into an oil-bearing rock sample to displace oil assess the potential for EOR in an oil field.

BP's head of upstream technology, Ahmed Hashmi, said this step-change in the company's core flooding capability would "hugely improve the speed and efficiency with which we can deploy new technologies to recover more oil from reservoirs".

BP has had a large-scale in-house core flooding laboratory in the UK for many years, where reservoir samples can be tested at high pressure and reservoir temperature conditions, and different reservoir types can be evaluated.

The new robotic core flood system operates for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The complete automation and work-flow optimisation in the new core flood robot enables hundreds of core flood tests to be performed each year, rather than dozens as in the past, and greatly enhances BP's ability to evaluate a continuous stream of new EOR technologies. This should reduce the time spent developing new technologies by at least 50%.

The core flood robot is operated by the same team that developed LoSal EOR, BP's breakthrough reduced salinity water flooding technology. Over 45 core flood tests were performed in validating the LoSal EOR effect before field trials in Alaska, USA.

The development is significant considering EOR development and deployment projects like LoSal EOR can take years to come to fruition. LoSal EOR itself took about 20 years to progress from initial observation of the effect to first deployment offshore.

Today, BP has a portfolio of new EOR technologies under active development, as well as several other planned LoSal EOR deployments.

BP and its partners are now deploying the technology at a commercial scale on the Clair Ridge project in the North Sea.

BP was awarded the 2014 Offshore Technology Conference Distinguished Achievement Award for the Clair Ridge LoSal EOR project, recognising the company's specialist EOR technologies.

BP delivers more than 10% of the world's light oil EOR production - more than any other international oil company.

The company believes that EOR holds the key to maximising recovery not only from maturing oil fields, but increasingly from greenfield developments where the most effective sweep and displacement at pore-scale can be achieved over the longest available period.

"BP's strong position in EOR is founded not only on [its] deployment track record, but also on its capability to continually develop new technologies," the company said.

BP expects its next-generation ‘Designer Water' technologies to progress to field trial in less than half the time of LoSal EOR, assisted by this new automated core flooding capability.