Building Norway’s Biggest IOR Centre

Norway’s petroleum and energy minister Ola Borten Moe and CEO Helge Lund were present to celebrate the start of construction work on Statoil’s Trondheim research centre. The centre, which will cost around NOK 240 million, is due for completion towards the end of 2013.

“This centre will be unique. Statoil leads the world in increased recovery, exceeding in 2011 for the first time an average recovery rate of 50% from our oil fields on the Norwegian continental shelf. This research centre will play a central role in helping us realise our ambition of a 60% rate,” says Statoil CEO Helge Lund.

The new research centre will support the company by providing new technology and new methods to help  maximise production on the fields where Statoil is operator or partner – on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) and internationally.

The centre, which is being built adjacent to Statoil’s research centre at Rotvoll in Trondheim, will consist of four floors that prioritise areas of technology such as drilling and well, reservoir mapping and advanced injection techniques. The heart of the roughly 2,700 square metre large centre will be an industrial CT scanner that is 100 times more powerful than a medical CT scanner.

“We’ve already had a number of activities at the resarch centre designed to develop new technologies, but by gathering all these activities in the one place, gaining access to the world’s most advanced CT scanners and specially designed laboratories dedicated to increased recovery, we will be establishing a powerful centre that will enable us to maximise added value,” says head of research Karl Johnny Hersvik.

The global oil recovery rate is roughly 35%. The NCS as a whole has an average recovery rate of 47%. In 2011 Statoil achieved a recovery rate on its oil fields of 50%. That is almost one per cent up on the previous year and equivalent to 327 million barrels of oil, or an added value of more than NOK 200 billion, given an oil price of USD 100 per barrel.

Over 3,000 people in Statoil are engaged every single day in 300 activities related to increased recovery. The drilling of new wells and the maintenance of existing wells make the foremost contribution to increased recovery. The more wells we drill, the greater the oil reservoirs we can access. Rig capacity on the NCS is limited.

Statoil has therefore adopted several important measures to expand our capacity by launching three completely new rig categories for use on the NCS. In addition, it is crucial to understand what actually takes place down in the reservoirs.

“Almost half of our R&D budget of NOK 2.8 billion is earmarked for testing and developing the technology that enables increased recovery. The challenge is to be able to understand which technologies are most efficient and why the different technologies perform as they do. This centre will enable us to simulate what happens in the reservoirs, providing us with unique knowledge about the technologies that function best,” says Hersvik.

In addition to increasing the recovery rate, the centre will help reduce costs and the environmental impact.

“The Norwegian authorities have been a driving force in helping achieve increased recovery through governing conditions and incentives that stimulate research and technology development. This has inspired the oil companies and the supplier industry to be creative and really see how the resources can best be managed,” says Lund.

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