CERE Discussion Meeting. Photo: Christian Ove Carlsson

Coping with Pressure

Reservoir simulations and thermodynamic modelling involving high pressures were among the topics of special attention at the CERE Discussion Meeting 2016.

The pressure is rising in energy resources engineering. This is not only true in oil and gas exploration, where activities take place at increasing depths involving higher pressure, but also in fine chemicals and other industry. Further, the pressure is elevated in a conveyed sense, as explained by Erling H. Stenby, Scientific Director for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) at the Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Center (DHRTC):

“We are under severe time pressure regarding EOR in the Danish part of the North Sea. We need to come up with new EOR solutions before operations of the current platforms become unfeasible. Therefore we need to develop a range of alternative solutions simultaneously. We do not have the time to investigate these solutions one by one,” said Erling H. Stenby (former CERE Chairman) in his invited presentation.

The DHRTC is a national Danish research center located at DTU. Initiated in 2014 with a substantial financial backing from Maersk Oil, Shell, Chevron, and Nordsøfonden the new institution will increase research and technology activity in relation to exploration of the reserves in the Danish part of the North Sea.


Don’t forget your experiments!

Both academic and industrial presentations on EOR received strong attention at the Discussion meeting. Solutions investigated by DHRTC, and by several of the companies which are member of the CERE industry Consortium, include: microbial EOR, chemical EOR, enzymatic EOR, and “Smart Water”, meaning flooding with water of a particular and known composition. CERE is active in research on all of these potential techniques, often in cooperation with the DHRTC and industry.

As always, the CERE Discussion Meeting attracted a large number of both industrial and academic participants – totaling 95, of which no less than 24 represented companies in the industry Consortium, while five participants were from academic institutions outside CERE. Most industry representatives were from the oil & gas sector, but also four companies from other industry sectors were present.

A general comment from industry representatives across the different sectors was on the need for extensive experimental data, notes Professor Georgios Kontogeorgis, Chairman of CERE:

“Several industry participants emphasized that no models or theories, nor molecular simulation, can replace good experimental data. Thus CERE should – and will – continue to focus on good experimental work.”

Classic versus advanced models

Another trend was the ongoing “battle” between classical thermodynamic models and new, advanced models. A number of the advanced models such as the Cubic Plus Association (CPA) and extended UNIQUAC are used extensively in CERE’s research and advocated by faculty members.

“We take home from the conference, that the superiority of the advanced models versus the classical models needs to be more clearly demonstrated,” Professor Kontogeorgis comments. “For instance, all models should be more intensively used in relation to electrolyte systems which are of importance in many practical applications for both the chemical and the petroleum industry e.g. related to scaling and corrosion.”