Saving... Please wait..!


North America's Leading Energy Event
June 11 - 13, 2019
Stampede Park - Calgary, Canada

Technical posters cover a wide range of topics in the energy industry and will be presented on the exhibition floor during specific scheduled times throughout the three days at GPS.

Poster topics covered include:

  • Environmental Management
  • Drilling & Completion
  • E&P Geoscience
  • Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)
  • Environmental Management
  • Field Development & Infrastructure
  • Health & Safety
  • People & Talent
  • Pipeline & Processing Facilities
  • Reservoir Engineering

Free to view and attend with visitor and conference registration badge

Location: Booth 7154, Hall DE, Stampede Park

Come and meet the authors of the posters at designated times throughout the three days of the exhibition.

June 11, 2019

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM

June 12, 2019

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM

June 13, 2019

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Application of Robotic Process Automation in MWD Survey Business Model

Category: Drilling & Completion

Landing the curve and placement of the production section of oil wells within the pay-zone, is a critical steering operation executed by the directional drillers. A Measure While Drilling (MWD) tool provides the trajectory of the wellbore, where this "Data to Action" loop needs to be rapid and accurate. However, delivering this information to the engineers in town, implies the use of four different systems: MWD surface equipment, paperwork (excel or online), well planning software and the delivery of the PDF report by email; where in some cases can take up to three hours.

In this paper, we describe how a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) system called ROSS (Robotic Operator Survey System) reduces the collection, processing and delivery cycle, from three hours to seconds. Furthermore, ROSS eliminated the labor of the survey-updating task, which is up to 25% of the well planner workload, and significantly reduces the risk of human errors.

The main components of ROSS are: (a) continuous screening and detection of new surveys coming up to the MWD surface equipment and storage the data in a remote server; (b) aggregation of the surveys with the directional well plan for deviation analysis; (c) web-based business intelligence dashboard, allowing the user to have a real time data visualization against offset wells in the same area; (d) and a unique and innovative virtual agent which reduce all the decision latency on wellbore positioning. ROSS continuously monitors the position of the well against the directional well plan, communicating to the client any undesired or unexpected deviation of the wellbore.

After the application of ROSS, the overall service quality had a significant improvement. One of the most immediate benefits was the increase in speed on survey delivery. On the customer side, "Data to Action" loop had a tremendous reduction in term of decision latency on unexpected wellbore positioning events.

Furthermore, field operators and engineers, had a positive response to the system. In some cases, the MWD operator was required to enter 10 different values, with more than 70 digits in total. Now, manual and extensive typing entry of survey values is no longer required. Also, client services satisfaction was an important gain, due to the full awareness of the wellbore positioning, even when the drilling engineers were outside of regular office hours.

Additionally, the well planning department was greatly benefited from the elimination of up to 25% of the repetitive and heavy workload required in the ongoing generation of the daily survey report during weekdays, weekends and holidays.

Oscar Jara, Drilling Optimization Engineer at Drillintel Innovation Group

Measuring Methane Emissions using Satellite and Airborne Instruments

Category: Environmental Management

In June of 2016, GHGSat launched the world’s first and only satellite, GHGSat-D, capable of measuring greenhouse gas emissions from targeted industrial facilities around the world.  The satellite has a field of view of approximately 12 km by 12 km with a spatial resolution of <50 m, and is capable of measuring both carbon dioxide and methane.  Since launch, this demonstration satellite has acquired over 3000 observations at hundreds of targeted sites around the world.  We review the satellite’s imaging spectrometer measurement concept, and provide recent methane observation examples from various industrial sites.

GHGSat’s remote sensing fleet will expand in 2019 with the addition of two new instruments.  GHGSat-C1, scheduled for launch in June 2019, is the first of our constellation of next-generation satellites for methane measurement, and has design improvements to reduce instrument error and improve detection performance by almost an order of magnitude compared to our demonstration satellite.  Also scheduled for deployment in mid-2019 is our first aircraft variant instrument, GHGSat-AV, which has a similar but more compact instrument design compared to the satellite payloads.  Operating this airborne instrument on board a light aircraft flying at low (~3 km) altitudes will compliment satellite-based methane observations of sites by targeting smaller areas at finer spatial resolution (<1 m) and with improved sensitivity.  Overviews of these two new instruments are presented along with updates on their construction and deployment status.  We describe the use of GHGSat’s satellites and airborne instrument as part of a tiered observational system that will be a cost-effective measurement solution capable of addressing the majority of methane emissions in the upstream petroleum industry.

Warren Shaw, Manager - Airborne Systems, GHGSAT

Cost-Effective Gas Sweetening System for Oil Industry – Case Study

Category: Pipeline & Processing Facilities

Blackspur Oil Corp’s facility in Alberta, Canada produces natural gas from an existing oil battery. The site was using an H2S scavenger system to treat sour gas which resulted in high operating costs. After evaluating various options, Blackspur selected Macrotek's SULFCAT® H2S Removal System to treat 5000 ppm of H2S from 3MMSCFD of gas down to less than 2 ppm. Macrotek Inc. is a Canadian based supplier of a variety of air pollution control systems and has developed an innovative catalytic reagent that converts H2S to elemental sulfur. The SULFCAT process is delivered using Macrotek’s novel process gas scrubbing system. H2S is absorbed from the gas in the absorber column. The scrubbing liquid is sent to the oxidation vessel where air is bubbled through, regenerating the scrubbing liquid. A slip stream of the scrubbing liquid is sent to the sulfur filter producing a washed and dried filter cake.

An overview of the system will be presented including the dual absorber vessel design to allow for operating flexibility; the skid-mounted packages (pump, blower and sulfur filter) to minimize field work and installation costs; and the fully automated controls. Due to the remote nature of the facility, considerations to minimize the requirements for process interruptions due to maintenance were significant to the design of the system. Further, key safety considerations will be summarized.

The SULFCAT system was commissioned in the spring of 2018 and has since been continuously running without any downtime. H2S content in the treated gas is below the requirements for sweet gas infrastructure. An analysis of the operating data will be discussed including H2S removal efficiency and reagent consumption.

Applications Engineer, H2Sweet Inc.

Foam-Assisted-SAGD: Moving Towards a More Efficient and Eco-Friendly SAGD Process?

Category: Drilling & Completion

Although SAGD is a very popular in-situ extraction process in Canada, irregular growth of the steam-chamber is a major concern in terms of its actual effectiveness. Indeed, lack of steam conformance is made worse by reservoir heterogeneities and leads to high heat losses. Eventually more steam is required, thus more natural gas is burned to vaporize the water, adding to the total carbon footprint. Foams could be a cost-effective solution to tackle these issues. They have been used to that effect in many cyclic steam and steam flood field cases but not yet for SADG.

Phenomenological assessment of FA-SAGD has been performed in a homogeneous cross-section in the preliminary work of (Chen et al. 2010). Here, we focus on two simplified homogeneous and heterogeneous models (Foster Creek, Hangingstone). Reference rheological behavior of steam-foam is captured from coreflood experiments using native cores containing heavy crude oil at 200°C. The resulting data are used to calibrate the foam model of our reservoir simulator. Several injection strategies, including continuous injections, are assessed in terms of water consumption, cumulative Steam-Oil-Ratio, and with a specific focus on back-produced surfactants.
In order to propagate the foaming surfactants throughout the steam chamber the injection sequence needs to be properly determined and optimized. A simple continuous FA-SAGD injection would lead to an accumulation of surfactant close to the injector wells, preventing the steam from moving upward in the reservoir and increasing the risk of steam breakthrough occuring during the process. While taking into account the shear-thinning rheological behavior of the foam at the injector, it appears that the Mobility Reduction Factor induced by the foam needs to be adjusted to find a compromise between a good steam mobility control and an efficient growing of the steam chamber. After 24 months of injection a reduction of at least 30% of the cSOR is observed, mainly due to a reduction of steam consumption. Furthermore, surfactant production occurs after a few weeks due to the proximity of the producer and the injector (6 meters). Injection strategies can delay the chemical breakthrough and increase the amount of surfactant retained in the reservoir. However, it might not be a major concern since the chemicals envisioned for this application are found to degrade rapidly and therefore will be of minor concern regarding surface facilities.

It is observed that Foams will act in two different ways in SAGD: as blocking agents in the middle of the steam-chamber and as a conformance control agents as they will improved its growth within heterogeneous reservoir. Without heavy optimization, we observed clear improvement of FA-SAGD compared to SAGD which results in a reduction in costs related to the steam generation and water consumption, and thus of the carbon footprint.

Guillaume Batott, Technical Advisor, IFP Energies nouvelles

Key-Performance Indicators and Their Role in Efficient Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

Category: Drilling & Completion

With the wide spread adoption of horizontal drilling and multi well pads, a single frac crew can be on a well site for days or weeks on end. Having tangible data to measure and understand the time line of operations allows for not only clarity on areas for improvement, but also provides for the ability to set benchmarks for future projects. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measurements of the success or failures of an operation, organization, or project. In terms of multi well pads, KPIs can be used to measure various aspects of the job such as overall pad efficiency which is compromised of pumping time, non-productive time, and time spent on forward moving operations separate from pumping and unplanned delays.

In the cost-conscious market of low oil prices, burn rates are often measured on a per minute basis for large pads and pumpable products can run into the millions of dollars. By having an explicit focus on optimization and efficiency its allows operators and service companies alike to understand the intricacies of the project as it develops and highlights cost-saving opportunities.

Through both pre-planning, and continual tracking throughout the project, inefficiencies get highlighted sooner providing for the opportunity for real time adjustments and potential realized cost savings versus post job reviews

This presentation intends to highlight the main concept through examples of both a major project where overall fracturing efficiency was increased year over year as a direct result of KPI tracking, and small pads where fundamental operations were changed to improve efficiency and ultimately cost savings.

Potential Categories: 
16. Intelligent Completions: Design, Implementation and Performance
115. Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Management: Strategies for Successful Project Execution
41. Marginal Field Developments and Optimizations

Scott Churchill, Completions Engineer, Innov8 Group

Delivering the Right Information Within Pipeline Projects: A Practical Approach

Category: Pipeline & Processing Facilities

Managed appropriately, information is a competitive advantage in the pipeline industry. Organizations with timely access to documents and drawings created in the design, build and maintenance of a pipeline operate more efficiently, make better business decisions, and comply with regulatory requirements. However, managing information created throughout pipeline projects is a monumental challenge. With hundreds of thousands of documents created by numerous stakeholders, in a variety of formats and locations, careful oversight is essential. Some documents constantly change, and are carefully controlled to keep correct revisions accessible. Others are hand-written on the pipeline right-of-way in extreme weather conditions, when expediency takes precedence over careful documentation. This diverse environment increases the risk of missing or incomplete information.

While project managers are accountable for ensuring documentation is complete and accurate, they focus on higher priorities like budget and timelines. Information management is left to EPCs and contractors, with little owner-operator input. If the project manager reviews information deliverables at all, it is at project closeout, when no time or budget remains to address concerns. When Operations identifies information deficiencies weeks later, it is too late to correct them. The project team has moved on to the next project, with no awareness of these difficulties. This relaxed approach has left Canada’s pipeline industry with significant gaps in critical documentation required to operate their pipelines. Organizations spend considerable time and money locating or recreating this information, yet these hidden costs are not considered in project planning. Pressures to reduce costs are ever-increasing, while heightened public scrutiny demands additional safety and environmental protection measures. The pipeline industry can no longer afford to be lax with project information.

There is a better way. Based on current research in the Canadian oil and gas industry, this presentation will quantify the financial, reputational and safety risks lost or missing project information creates, and outline a simple, practical approach to ensure pipeline projects deliver the right information. This approach requires: defining information requirements at project kickoff, tracking critical deliverables at each stage gate,
and introducing shared accountability between the projects and operations teams.

Defining information requirements at project kickoff clarifies which information deliverables each party is accountable for, and any mandatory submission standards. Communicating requirements early avoids unnecessary charges, minimizes effort to align with owner-operator standards, and maximizes efficiency by ensuring documents are created alongside related activities. Tracking these requirements throughout the project allows time and budget for corrections. Most importantly, involving the Operations team in both establishing requirements and reviewing deliverables ensures the final information meets operational needs. When scaled to project size and complexity, this approach ensures projects deliver the accurate, complete, and trusted information required for pipeline operations.

Colleen Moretti, President, Integra Partners Ltd.

Magnetic Actuation Mechanisms to Eliminate Valves Leaks and Fugitive Emissions

Category: Pipeline & Processing Facilities

Magnetically actuated valves offer the potential to eliminate valve leaks completely, which would be extremely beneficial in many applications such as lethal service, eliminating fugitive emissions, and improving the safety of high temperature process and steam valves.  This paper will describe the history, current state of the art, and the author’s vision for future development of magnetically actuated pack-less valves.
An Abstract for the Pipeline and Processing Facilities Technical Category.

Magnetic valves couple the torque or force required to actuate a valve across a hermetically sealed bonnet and have no continuous stem from inside to outside the valve, and hence don’t contain a dynamic seal that can degrade or leak.  Magnetically actuated valves are in some ways similar to bellows valves, however magnetic valves have several key advantages over bellows valves because bellows valves often develop leaks as they age associated with metal fatigue and their welded seams, and can also fail catastrophically in some instances.

A brief history of magnetically actuated pack-less valves stretching back 75 years to Ralph Carlson’s work at Crane in the early 1940’s will be presented along with limitations of previous generations of magnetic valves.  Electromagnetically actuated solenoid valves are ubiquitous, and academic research abounds with microfluidic-scale magnetically actuated valves, but rugged cost effective macro-scale magnetically actuated valves are still not commercially available. Part of this has been due to the limitations of available magnet technology many years ago, and part of it has been the overall architecture and resulting poor high temperature performance of previous magnetic valves.  Higher temperature magnet technologies such as Alnico and Samarium Cobalt magnets will be discussed.  Alnico and Samarium Cobalt magnets offer some advantages such as improved survivability for flame testing, but also have disadvantages such as low coercivity which require special handling and architectural considerations.  Finally, the author’s vision of a novel magnetic valve architecture that enables high temperature operation, hermetic sealing of the bonnet, such as by welding or brazing, and welded or soldered port connections will be described.  New experimental data utilizing this architecture and modern high strength neodymium iron boron magnets will be presented.

This work is novel and beneficial to the energy industry because it offers a path for magnetic actuation to completely eliminate the possibility of valve leaks.  New magnetic valve designs, their measured test data and actuation performance will be presented.  Photographs and drawings of actual valves that have been completely welded shut will be shown, and prototypes will be available for demonstration afterwards.

Edward Davis, CEO, Maui Innovation Group

Bioreactor Processes for Bioremediation of Soils, Sediments and Water

Category: Environmental Management

The occurrence of large and medium sized oil spill events are worldwide decreasing yet occasionally they still can occur. Bioremediation has been proposed to be a cost-effective remedy for cleaning oil spills that pollute air, soil, and water. Bioremediation processes typically involve various microbial species acting in parallel or in sequence to complete the biological degradation processes of contaminants.

The scope of this college-based applied research project is the development of a bioreactor process and its application to bioremediation of soils, sediments and water polluted with recalcitrant and toxic compounds from oil spills and other sources of contamination. In our work we used naphthalene as a proof of concept example of a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contaminant commonly found in oil, tar sands and bitumen, as well as worldwide in soils and sediments as a result of both natural and anthropogenic production.

Methods, Procedures, Process:
We developed screening assays and enriched in progressive enrichment steps cultures of napthalene utilizing bacteria with naphthalene as main carbon source in the selection media. In parallel, we designed a bioreactor process and explored its application and utility for our isolates in moving bed biofilm reactor technology. The microbes grew as biomat on biofilter media (bio balls) and performed the pollutant degradation work. We characterized the biofilm forming capability and tested its cold climate performance. Our project integrated traditional bioreactor technology, such as design, engineering, and monitoring aspects (microscopy, classic microbiology, degradation analysis and real-time parameter monitoring) with key new diagnostic DNA technologies including quantitative PCR, next generation DNA sequencing and environmental-informatics.

Results, Observations, Conclusions:
The collection of isolated PAH-degrading bacterial strains obtained during our screening is a valuable resource for detailed examination of the PAH-catabolic potential of environmental microbial isolates. They can contribute to knowledge acquisition through the identification of highly divergent or novel functional genes associated with the degradation abilities of PAH’s and may include isolates of utility for the bioaugmentation of PAH-contaminated sites.

In addition, we continue to explore the application and utility of our isolates in biological aerated filter and moving bed biofilm reactor technology by characterizing their biofilm forming capability and focusing on cold climate performance. Specifically we are working on characterising the biofilm formation and optimizing and advancing the process. We are also interested in understanding the biofilter performance as a means of pollutant and biomass removal.

Novel/Additive Information:
Most major population centers in Europa and North America are growing and developing on former industrial sites often polluted with hydrocarbon contaminants. In addition, the demand for energy in form of hydrocarbons is increasing and our applied research effort may contribute to a better understanding of alternative and environment friendly clean up options and represent a cost-effective strategy for remedial action of production and polluted sites, as well as for future waste management.

Athanasios (Ethan) Paschos, Professor, Mohawk College for Applied Arts and Technology

Non-Thermal Multispectral-IR Imaging & Quantification of Methane Emissions

Category: Environmental Management

We describe new technology and a prototype system, and illustrate results for imaging and quantitative measurement of fugitive emissions, leak detection and venting of hydrocarbons and other gases, supporting next generation emissions monitoring. Our approach, based on multispectral sensing in the extended short-wave infrared (SWIR) spectrum, has several key advantages over conventional thermal methods of optical gas imaging (OGI). Gas imaging in the extended-SWIR is based on multispectral absorption of sunlight or artificial illumination, and requires no temperature difference between gas emissions and the background. Avoiding water-vapor absorption bands, we are able to image gas through moisture and fog, and sense methane-steam mixtures without confusion. Our use of multiple SWIR spectral bands enables real-time imaging, speciation and quantification (aboard the camera) of methane, ethane, other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide, and ammonia. Gas imagery is presented on a tablet user interface as color-coded absorption strength (optical depth or column density) overlaid on a visible color image to provide context. Several leak rate (emissions) algorithms estimate mass and volume flux for high-pressure leaks (jets), low-pressure leaks and vents (plumes), and surface zone emissions due to underground pipe leaks. We present an overview of the prototype system, illustrate controlled release validation experiments from the lab and the field, and summarize results from pilot testing being conducted in Alberta, Massachusetts, and other locations. Our technology is applicable to the upstream production, midstream transmission and storage, and downstream distribution sectors of the natural gas supply chain, as we illustrate with example imagery and emission flux estimates. We include direct comparison of prototype system imagery with existing commercial OGI imagery and flux estimates. Our patented gas camera technology will become commercially available in 2019 at a significantly lower price-point than existing thermal OGI cameras.

Allen Waxman, Chief Scientist, MultiSensor Scientific, Inc.

Leveraging a Lubricant Supplier to Provide a Competitive Advantage

Category: Field Development & Infrastructure

Lubricants make up only 3-5% of a typically maintenance budget and are often treated like a consumable.But what if you can leverage your lubricants and your lubrication program to unlock exponential benefits to an organization such as reduced maintenance costs and increase equipment reliability? Industry studies have shown that on average 75% of component failure mechanism can be attributed to lubricants; such as insufficient lubricants, lubricant contamination, incorrect lubricants, and aged lubricants. Poor lubricantsand practices can result in increased equipment downtime and increased total cost of ownership. Having a strong progressive lubrication program and using the right lubricants can allow an organization to reduce equipment maintenance time, improve equipment efficiency, and increased reliability providing an enhanced competitive advantage.

Poor lubricant program habits can become a norm within an organization, with  employees becoming inept to the results of the habits. A lubricant supplier should have the ability to conduct an assessment of an organizations current lubrication program. The site visit and lubrication program assessment by your lubricant supplier allows for high trained field-based engineers to identify your complete lubrication requirements, offer recommendations on optimized lubricants and maintenance frequency, while looking for ways to apply industry best practices and deliver value. Areas of focus for the lubrication program assessment should be; Lubricant Storage and Handling, Contamination Control, Lubricant Application, Oil Condition Monitoring, Training, Equipment Optimization, Standard Procedures, and KPI Planning. With the completion of the lubrication program assessment, improvement projects must be identified with an expect value delivery along with the projected completion date. This lubrication program assessment should be completed on a set interval to ensure continuous monitoring and improvement.
In response to customer needs, harnessing technology to deliver value through the creation of solutions, such as on-vehicle oil analysis sensors, web-based applications and long-life lubricants is critical and should leveraged and explored with your lubricant supplier.

Strong collaboration with your lubricant supplier strengthens a proactive maintenance regime versus a reactive regime. The lubricant supplier should be available to assist in understanding why a failure occurrs, what role, lubrication played in the failure and most importantly, leverage their technical services to determine the root cause and implementing actions to prevent the failure from occurring again.

In a recent example a large oil well service company operating in North America was experiencing a decreased in their Power End MTBF) along with an increase in wear metal flagging’s during routine oil analysis. By reaching out to their lubricant supplier and leveraging their expertise and technical services, a complete investigation with root cause analysis was performed resulting in  understanding why the failures were occurring along with the identification of a solution that leveraged lubricants to deliver an estimated $2.9 million annual savings to the company.

Lubricants only make up 3-5% of a typically maintenance budget by partnering with a lubricant supplier that has a focus on quality lubricants, equipment reliability and value delivery, can be a become true competitive advantage.

Active Vehicle Controls Technology

Category: Health & Safety

The technological advancements in vehicle telematics are revolutionizing the way companies manage their fleets. Fleet management Systems are helping businesses reduce costs, increase efficiencies, maintain compliance with government regulations, and improve safety.  What if your business could gain a competitive advantage by implementing active controls in your fleets?

Why Automate?

Accidents, Death and Injury

Motor vehicle accidents remain a leading cause of societal harm and economic loss. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Authority (NHTSA) in the USA reported that accidents in 2010 caused $836 Billion in societal harm including: 32,999 deaths; 3.9million people injuries; and 24 million vehicles damaged. Road deaths in 2015 soared to over 35,000. (source: NHTSA 2010 USA figures)

Nearly 1.3 million people die worldwide in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day. An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44. (source: World Health Organization)

Fuel Costs and Emissions
The transportation sector is responsible for 26% of GHG emission in the US and 14% worldwide. Aggressive driving including speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking impacts fuel economy. Poor driving habits can lower your fuel mileage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. (source: US DOE, EPA).

On-board computing technology supplemented with Active Control can significantly improve fuel economy.

Tracking and Monitoring vs Active Controls
Studies have demonstrated active speed controls to be ten times more effective then passive systems at reducing injury accidents and even more effective at reducing fatal crashes.

Active Control and Geozoning
Using Active Controls along with Geozoning capability, organizations can ensure safe speed compliance in critical speed zones such as school zones, playgrounds, hospitals and workzones. This has tremendous positive social and safety implications.

NaviLink integrates Active Vehicle Controls technology and vehicle automation with telematics giving fleets a tool that can dramatically improve drivers’ performance, fuel economy and safety. The system is vehicle agnostic and applicable to all vehicles, new or used, from car to truck. One tool can manage any mixed fleet.

Ron Iacobelli, Chief Operating Officer, Streamline Transportation Technologies Inc.

Technology Landscape Map for the Mexican Oil and Gas Industry

Category: People & Talent

As part of its collaborative partnership with Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico, the Extractive Resource Governance Program at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy has advanced a methodological approach to develop technology landscape map (TLM) for Mexico’s oil and gas industry. This work is part of the Value Chain and Talent Observatory Knowledge Network funded by the Mexico Secretariat of Energy Hydrocarbon Fund.

The purpose of developing the TLM is twofold. First, to provide oil and gas companies looking to expand operations into Mexico or those already operating in the country with a tool that highlights the emerging and disruptive technologies developed in Mexico, which can be adapted into their operations. The map will include innovations by companies in the Mexican oil and gas industry, as well as technology transfer from other Mexican industries, academia and research institutions and the international oil and gas industry. By knowing about the disruptive technologies available in the Mexican industry, companies can develop work plans for capacity building and training employees to work with new, efficient technology. Second, the TLM project will form a foundation for developing a Mexico national technology knowledge network and lead to faster innovation development in the Mexican hydrocarbon sector. The TLM will allow industries, government, academia and other research institutions to become partners in an open innovation market, enhancing technology transfer opportunities and collaboration on developing disruptive technologies.

A fully developed open innovation market does not yet exist in the Mexican economy, particularly one centred on the oil and gas industry. With the 2013 Energy Reforms still in adolescence, opportunities for building an open technology ecosystem, that benefits exploration and production companies and service companies exists. Opening the innovation market will change the Mexican workforce, as employment transfers towards skilled and highly skilled workers who will contribute to the technology ecosystem, and automation will reduce the needs for low-skill workers.

The TLM will be populated by using the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Patentscope database. Patentscope catalogues all the patent documents for new emerging and disruptive technologies, based on industry classifications and country of development. Along with populating the TLM, Patentscope will give us insight into how much technology advancements are occurring in the Mexican oil and gas industry, as well as how much the industry relies on technology transfer. Patentscope also collects the company information that submits the patent. Thus, we can determine which type of companies are developing the most innovative technologies.

Research Associate, The School of Public Policy

Thermal Management of Medium Voltage Adjustable Speed Drives

Category: Pipeline & Processing Facilities

Medium Voltage electric motor driven pumps are employed to boost flow in pipelines in the midstream industry, whether it be crude or natural gas liquids (NGL). Depending on the end user, these pumps operate in fixed speed or adjustable speed configurations or a combination of both. From a life-cycle cost (LCC) standpoint, an adjustable speed configuration on a per pump basis provides the greatest pipeline operational flexibility, batch processing of deliveries and saves on energy costs.
Medium Voltage (MV) Adjustable speed drives (ASD) or commonly known as variable frequency drives (VFD) are used to control the speed of the electric motor and pump. Depending on the capacity, length, and type of the pipeline, there can be multiple booster stations each consisting at least two to three pumps with motor and ASD ratings between 1000HP to as high as 6000HP. Conventional indoor-type MV ASDs are typically >96.5% efficient. The rest is rejected as heat to the indoor environment thereby requiring massive HVAC systems to maintain specified temperature and humidity levels. HVAC systems come with a CAPEX, but the variable costs regarding maintenance, electricity, and service have a huge impact on the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the VFD installation.

This presentation describes a novel outdoor rated free-standing enclosure for MV drives that eliminate the need for an HVAC system and large industrial control buildings or motor control center (MCC) rooms. The benefit for operators is; now a pump station or a processing facility can be mostly designed with outdoor equipment. The paper first compares the existing methods of installation with the outdoor enclosure based on costs and other installation factors. Next, we discuss the proposed enclosure and how it works to ensure the appropriate environment for the drive even in extremely cold conditions which is prevalent in parts of US and most of Canada. The presentation then describes the high-level specifications, installation method, and suitable applications for the enclosure. The talk concludes with a guideline that prospective end users of MV ASD equipment can use to decide between selecting an outdoor-rated versus indoor-type MV ASD and methodology in calculating savings in HVAC costs over a 25-year life.

In the past few years, end users have started evaluating electrical power conversion equipment not only from a CAPEX perspective but based on total cost of ownership. Hence, this presentation provides an alternate solution to pipeline and facilities engineers and designers to solve the heat management problem with MV drives that a large majority of operators face in existing and prospective projects.

Manish Verma, Sr. Sales Application Engineer, TMEIC

A Novel Corrosion Moniting System for Pipeline Integrity Management Networks

Category: Pipeline & Processing Facilities

Pipelines are present in every facility around the globe, being an efficient and relatively safe means of transport. The failure of a pipeline can lead to cathastrophic results, such as damage to the environment, harm to human beings and financial loses. In order to prevent occurrence of accidents in pipeline networks, Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) techniques are generally implemented. However, NDT has a limitation; they can only reveal the state of the structure at the particular moment of testing. To have a better control and statistics about the performance of the assets, Continuous Condition Monitoring and Structural Health Monitoring of assets are able to provide a broader picture of their structural integrity.

The main purpose of this study is to investigate a novel technique that would help maintaning the structural integrity of pipelines, by conducting pipe wall thickness monitoring. This pipeline integrity management system is able to identify the occurrence of corrosion in pipes to help operators to mitigate assets damage or failure at an early stage, providing a greater control over the operation and performance of the facility.

This system consists in a magnetic flux leakage sensor that involves a permanent magnet that saturates the surface of the pipe, a solenoid to monitor the difference on inductance occurred on the pipeline and a PCB with a microcontroller. The solenoid is pulsed with an AC current that captures any surface leakage from the saturated magnetic field, present through the thickness of the pipe wall, due to the progress of a defect. The magnetic field remains constant while the thickness remains the same but would increase if the thickness reduces. An algorithm was developed to translate the captured data into thickness measurements. The data is wirelessly transmitted real-time and can be accessed and controlled via a user-friendly app that can be conveniently installed on a smart phone or tablet.

The system has been tested on steel pipes of different thickness, ranging from 4mm to 11mm. The results show a difference of inductance depending of the thickness of the pipe. Therefore, it has been demonstrated that this technique can detect thickness loss of 1mm on steel pipes.

The system is developped for permanent installation on areas of high erosion/corrosion risk and provides thickness measurements when interrogated remotelly. It is targeted at piping in locations that contain areas susceptible to wall thinning (e.g. at pipe bends), with restricted access (i.e. physical impediments or Health & Safety constraints) where conventional wall thickness inspection by ultrasonic thickness gauges is not feasible. This low cost monitoring system for loss of thickness due to internal corrosion could replace ultrasonic thickness gauging in difficult to access areas.

Natalia Garban, Project Leader, TWI

Carbon-dioxide Conversion into High-value Fuels/feedstocks using Metal-organic Frameworks based Eectrocatalyst

Category: Environmental Management

The escalating high levels of Carbon-dioxide (CO2) in atmosphere has raised substantial apprehensions towards environmental impacts of using fossil fuels simulating the investigation of new technologies to alleviate the CO2 emissions by capturing, sequestration, and/or conversion. Electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 presents a favourable methodology of artificially recycling carbon for mitigating global energy and sustainability challenges. The CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) produces a wide range of products, including carbon monoxide, formate, methanol, methane, ethanol, propylene, etc., which can be either used as fuels, or converted other valuable chemicals. Considering the larger market sizes and techno-economic reasons, the long chain hydrocarbon (C2+) products have more commercial and CO2 utilization potential. However, electrochemical production of C2+ involve multi-electron transfer reactions resulting in a number of challenges, including low faradaic efficiency, complex micro-kinetic reaction mechanisms etc. Techno-economically compelling and industrial implementation of CO2RR is reliant on the novel catalysts capable of selectively reducing CO2 to targeted valuable fuels or feedstocks at low overpotentials. There is dire need to optimise the activity, selectivity, efficiency and stability of the novel electrocatalyst materials. Metal organic framework based electrocatalysts have attracted great interest in carbon-dioxide reduction reaction process. As they can potentially be used as scaffold for tuning the properties of electrocatalysts with atomic precision by rationally designing the molecular building blocks for their chemical, structural, pore-metric features.

This study focuses on the study of Cu based MOF and MOF derived electrocatalysts for C2+ high value fuels and feedstocks. The synthesised MOFs were characterised using FTIR, XRD, BET, and SEM. Once the appropriate MOF properties were ensured, they were coated on Carbon paper to be used as electrocatalyst. Electrochemical properties, CO2RR were performed in a flow cell configuration. The liquid products were investigated with NMR, and GCMS was used for gaseous products. High C2+ selectivity with improved faradaic efficiency, current density and stability were observed. The outcome of the proposed research paves the way for a step closer to the economically viable C2+ products. The proposed work can be integrated with any existing carbon capture plant which can be lucrative to many petroleum industries to avoid carbon tax and produce revenues from the valuable fuels and feedstocks obtained after CO2RR.

Nidhika Bhoria, M Sc Student, University of Calgary

Advanced Simulation Environment for Induced Seismicity Mitigation and Integrated Control

Category: E&P Geoscience

ASEISMIC is a new computational toolbox to aid in producing quantitative mitigation and response plans by combining reservoir-simulation methods with advanced geomechanical and seismological computational tools.

The toolbox includes modules for site-specific induced seismicity operational risk assessment, by augmenting relevant public data sources with additional site-specific information. Ultimately, this could lead to a product which can successfully be used by industry and regulators to mitigate induced seismicity hazard, and is useful for academia.  Case-studies from western Canada will be used to evaluate the applicability of this approach for unconventional oil and gas development and for gigaton-scale carbon dioxide storage.

There are currently many tools that have been developed to address individual areas of this problem. However, while many of these tools are supported by strong scientific logic, none of them successfully bring together all aspects of the problem in order to fully and satisfactorily model induced seismicity in such a way that would be useful to successfully mitigate against it.
The toolbox is broken down into six separate modules which are integrated into a workflow: a database module, simulation module, stochastic module, hazard module, risk module and mitigation module. The simulation module performs a full simulation from hydraulic fracturing to induced seismicity, by defining the local initial stress field and simulating hydraulic-fracturing stages, stress and pore pressure perturbations generated, and any slip along pre-existing faults caused by these perturbations. In order to analyse the hazard and risk in a probabilistic sense, the simulation module is run a large number of times using the stochastic module. The hazard module generates hazard maps for the likelihood of occurrence and uniform hazard spectra using a probabilistic seismic hazard assessment approach. The risk module calculates the risk by convolving hazard spectra from the hazard module with fragility curves and consequence data in order to generate a risk report. Finally, the mitigation module simulates scenario events using the simulation module to assess the best approach for risk mitigation based on treatment design.

ASEISMIC is the first tool aiming to address all areas integral to modeling and mitigating induced seismicity arising from hydraulic fracturing. The tool contains modules that consider processes from injection to rupture simulation to ground motion prediction and hazard analysis, using the most advanced science currently available. Development is currently at an early stage but is moving forward rapidly through a partnership with the Centre for Innovative IT Solutions at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, which is enabling a much higher-quality software solution than typical research code. 

Novel/Additive Information
ASEISMIC is a new computational toolbox that can help to mitigate induced seismicity, which is a major issue for the energy industry in the exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbon resources.

Thomas Eyre, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Calgary

A Flow Patterning Approach to Improve Heavy Oil Miscible Displacements

Category: Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)

In the miscible displacement of heavy oil, the viscosity contrast and medium heterogeneities contribute to flow instabilities promoting longitudinal dispersions with considerable bypassed regions. In the absence of gravity, the injection rate and solvent composition are the main controlling parameters for improving the sweep efficiency. The industry has practiced cyclic shut-in and pressure pulsations for enhancing oil-solvent mixing. However, the attenuation of pressure pulses coupled with the slow solvent-heavy oil diffusion process hinders the heavy oil recovery. This objective of this research is to improve the sweep efficiency of heavy oil miscible displacement in a heterogeneous medium. Herein, we develop a novel methodology for an effective controlling of viscous fingering and dispersion via a periodic variation of the flow directions during a miscible displacement of a 1000 cp viscose mineral oil (PAO-100) with n-Hexane. A series of experiments are conducted in a visual model containing pore-scale heterogeneities as well as two parallel layers with low and high permeabilities. The time evolution of solvent-oil mixing length and sweep efficiency are evaluated with multiple patterns of flow swings. The experimental results indicate that the proposed flow pattern can remarkably improve the sweep efficiency when a backward flow, having a greater amplitude but shorter period compared to those of forward flow, is introduced. The rapid transverse dispersion of the solvent during the reversal flow cancels out the effect of advancing solvent fingers during the forward displacement. Furthermore, the crossflow between the two permeable layers enhances mixing and reduces the length of viscous fingerings. The novel contributions of this methodology are the reduction of the longitudinal dispersion and the promotion of solvent-oil mixing that can be employed in the field scale for improving the sweep efficiency of miscible displacements in heavy oil reservoirs.

Hossein Khorshidian, Post Doctoral Associate, University of Calgary

Effect of Wettability on Sweep Efficiency of Nanofluids

Category: Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)

Heavy oil constitutes a large proportion of oil reserves in the world. However, a fundamental obstacle to recover large fractions of this heavy oil in place via fluid injection is poor sweep efficiency due to the high oil viscosity, leading to low oil mobility. Therefore, robust mobility control is an important long-term goal. The aim of this research is to improve the sweep efficiency of a drainage displacement without having to inject more viscous fluids (such as polymers) by application of functionalized Nanoparticles which are able to stabilize in-situ emulsions with high viscosity. Another aim of this study is to use a sensor technology for displacement pattern recognition. Like the case in the healthcare field, where medical professionals use high-frequency diagnostic imaging tools for disease recognition, a similar equipment which is a medical CT scanner is used here to detect how Nanofluids and oil propagate in porous media.

Throughout the first stage of this study, hydrophilic silica NPs are synthesized as the most commonly used and cost-effective option for EOR applications, and they are subsequently functionalized with an effective chemical reagent (hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS)) to increase their affinity to the oil-water interface. This affinity is known to correlate with in-situ emulsion formation as well as with the ability to improve conformance of drainage displacement of Nanofluids. Several characterization techniques demonstrated successful grafting of HMDS on the surface of bare silica NPs.

We conducted coreflooding experiments in a water-wet sandpack and monitored the displacement using a medical CT scanner.  This imaging technology permits a clear identification of opportunities for sweep efficiency improvement in an oil reservoir in presence of functionalized NPs, which is impossible to be tracked in underground porous media. The sweep efficiency of drainage corefloods was dramatically larger in presence of modified NPs. In contrast, we observed dominant viscous fingering in absence of NPs. Based on the mechanism for this improvement, we anticipate similar behavior as reservoir wettability changes toward the oil-wet condition. Therefore, the sweep efficiency improvement in an oil-wet porous media will be investigated as well in the absence and presence of Nanofluids.
The results of this study would then clarify the efficiency of Nanofluids in stabilizing a displacement front, especially in an oil-wet reservoir, which consequently has a paramount role on the amount of oil recovery obtained. Options for implementing this method for improving sweep in the field are discussed.

Sepideh Maaref, PhD Student, University of Calgary

Experimental Investigation on Steam-Foam Process: Profile Control and Gravitational Drainage

Category: Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)

The steam foam process was developed to improve the sweeping efficiency of steam in thermal oil recovery methods (i.e. steam flooding). Reported experimental work on the steam foam process usually focused on determining the mobility reduction factor (MRF) under the various steam qualities and velocities. In this study, we investigated the performances of the steam foam on the profile control in the heterogeneous reservoirs by employing the dual-sandpack models as well as the effect of the gravitational drainage on the steam foam propagation process.

The foaming agents were first screened by conducting the foam height tests under a high temperature of up to 200 oC and a high  pressure of up to 500 psi. The selected surfactants and nanoparticles were then used in the steam foam coreflooding experiments at 200 oC and 200 psi backpressure. Superheated steam was mixed with the foaming agent solution to reach the desired steam quality and the mixture was injected into either a single sandpack or parallel sandpacks with different permeability ratios. Foam propagation was monitored from the differential pressure transducers placed at different sections along the sandpack. An in-line density meter was utilized to characterize the foam behavior as it exited the sandpack and to quantify the distribution of flow between the parallel sandpacks. The coreflooding tests were repeated for the different sandpack orientations to investigate the effect of gravitational liquid drainage on the foam performance.

The coreflooding experiments in a single vertical sandpack (downward flow) show that strong steam foam was generated in porous media with an MRF of about 30. The MRF is increased by a factor of four when sandpack permeability is increased from 3 to 23 Darcy, making this system well suited for improving conformance in heterogeneous reservoirs. In addition, the density history of effluent shows that changes in injection pressure instantaneously affect steam quality and liquid saturation distribution in the sandpack. The pressure gradient in the bottom section of sandpack is much larger than those of the upper sections. This is attributed to greater foam propagation in the bottom section due to the larger liquid saturation there. Significant flow diversion is observed during foam flooding in the heterogeneous dual-sandpack model.

This study provides an experimental reference on evaluating the ability of the steam foam to improve sweeping efficiency in heterogeneous reservoirs. The in-line density measurements provide valuable insight into foam behavior in the porous media and an easy method to quantify the flow diversion. This study also investigates the effects of gravitational drainage on steam foam performance, which has often been overlooked. An improved understanding of such topics will help to achieve a more successful steam foam implementation.

Zan Chen, PhD Student, University of Calgary

Nanoparticle transport via foam to create O/W emulsion for EOR

Category: Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)

When dealing with water flooding in heavy/viscous oil reservoirs, many adverse factors influence the expected degree of success (Brown, 1989). More than 80% of the original oil in place remains unrecovered after water flooding. High relative mobility ratio due to the high viscosity of displaced fluid (heavy oil) and low viscosity of displacing fluid (water) results in early breakthrough and low cumulative oil recovery. Moreover, linear alkanoic acids, naphthenic and asphaltenic acids present in the resident oil inside reservoir are very effective adsorbing agents to water/oil interfaces which stabilize W/O (water in oil) emulsions. Sullivan and Kilpatrick (2002) concluded that W/O emulsions could be strongly stabilized through asphaltene and resin adsorption. These emulsion droplets can dramatically increase the viscosity of the oil and increase pumping costs.

The above-mentioned concerns are the motivation to try preferentially generating O/W emulsion in situ, thereby improving mobility ratio. Because components in the oil phase typically lead to W/O emulsions, we introduce suitably treated nanoparticles previously shown to stabilize O/W emulsions. Delivering the nanoparticles into the reservoir with greater sweep efficiency is a key challenge. Here we have explored the use of nanoparticle-stabilized foam for this purpose. Biodegradable, environmentally friendly rod shape nanoparticles were added to surfactant to stabilize CO2 bubbles in aqueous phase.

A series of foam flooding experiments with the nanoparticle-surfactant stabilizers was conducted at 27.5 bar and 25  to determine the sweep efficiency of the displacing fluid. The experiments were conducted in the absence and presence of oil. During foam flow in water saturated sandpack, high quality foam is produced at the effluent, rapid pressure response across sandpack is observed and pressure build up is around 600kPa. More fluctuation in pressure was recorded during foam flow in oil saturated sandpack and pressure build up across sandpack was around 100kPa. Foam collapses when touches the oil and an emulsion of oil in (surfactant+ NP) solution was collected at effluent. Oil enters and spreads into the lamella and tends to collapse the CO2 bubbles. When the oil saturation in the sandpack reaches a critical saturation(~20%OOIP), pressure stars to build up and foam is generated inside the sandpack.
Apparent viscosity and resistance to flow increased dramatically in comparison to conventional water flood. This NP system improves the recovery in two aspects; first, it stabilizes foam that delivers CO2 gas with greater sweep efficiency. Fine-textured foam encompasses a large bubble density and imposes a huge resistance against the gas flow, which improves the recovery (around 20%OOIP extra after water flood in our experiment) and guarantees long lasting foam at HT/HP reservoir condition. Secondly, as the foam displaced oil, nanoparticles that were originally present at gas/liquid interfaces transferred onto oil/water interfaces, enabling the in situ creation of O/W emulsion stabilized by the nanoparticle. Produced O/W emulsion destabilized and separated only by gravity segregation within 48 hrs.

The generation of O/W emulsion would prevent the common situation in which W/O emulsions form in the reservoir and greatly reduce productivity.

Sahand Etemad, PhD Student, University of Calgary

Role of Porous Media on Emulsification During Co-current Two-phase Flow

Category: Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)

The formation of emulsions in the porous media can significantly affect the flow of the fluids, since the rheological properties of emulsions are quite different from those of the original fluids. Depending on the type of emulsion that is formed, they can either create more resistance to flow or enhance mobility. The objective of this work is to address the mechanisms of in situ emulsification, using co-current flow of oil and water in the porous media at very low Darcy velocities, with the ultimate aim of being able to induce the preferred mode of emulsification to enhance recovery.

Co-injection of aqueous and oleic phases is performed into sand-packs of different permeabilities, wettabilities and grain sizes. Additional variables, — including two surfactants with different HLB values, and a wide range of fluid velocities — are used to create numerous combinations of fluid, flow and sand properties in this study. The type, amount, and droplet size distribution of the produced emulsions are determined alongside the pressure drop across the sand-pack for the final analysis.
Characterizing the states of in situ emulsification would help to apply appropriate methods to control them. Our observations show the relationship between wettability of the porous media and the HLB value of the surfactant for emulsion formation. High and low HLB values tend to create more emulsion in the water wet and oil wet porous media, respectively. We have also seen the significant effect of the permeability and grain size on the amount of produced emulsion.

The experiments at very low Darcy velocities are relevant to understanding in situ emulsification in thermal recovery methods, such as Steam-assisted gravity drainage, in which the oil and condensate have a very slow co-current flow toward the production well.

Ali Kasraian, PhD student, University of Calgary

Temperature Effect on Relative Permeability in Oil/Water/Clean Sand Systems

Category: Enhanced Oil Recovery

INTRODUCTION: More than 97 percent of the Canadian oil reserves (167.7 billion barrels) lie in oil sands which contribute to 55 percent of the current Canada oil production and have a great impact on Alberta’s economy. The most common recovery method for production of bitumen from oil sands is SAGD (Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage) in which the steam is injected through the upper well of paired horizontal wells to reduce the oil viscosity and mobilize it toward the production well. The successful implementation of SAGD requires information about the multi-phase fluid flow behavior in oil-sands. The relative permeability is the most essential element representing the fluid flow behavior within a porous medium.
PROBLEM: There are many factors that affect the multi-phase flow behavior, which are sensitive to the high temperature existing in SAGD processes, including the mobility ratio, wettability, interfacial tension and, fluid/rock properties. Only limited measured data on relative permeability are available in the literature for viscous oil systems due to measurement difficulties. Previous studies have reported contradictory opinions regarding the effect of temperature on relative permeability.

METHODOLOGY: This research focuses on the two-phase viscous oil/water relative permeability measurements over a wide range of temperature, from 23 to 200 ºC, using clean sand systems to clarify whether the temperature has a direct effect on the relative permeability. For this purpose, a clean system comprising deionized water, PAO-100 (from Chevron Phillips Company) as a clean oil phase, and clean sand-packs were used in four experiments at temperatures of 23, 65, 127, and 200 ºC. The unsteady-state technique with both the implicit (History match) and the explicit (JBN) analyzing approaches were applied to the experimental data. The history match processes were carried out using an in-house developed reservoir simulator.

RESULTS: According to our results, both JBN and history match techniques confirmed that the relative permeability in a clean system was independent of temperature. Although the practical residual oil saturation apparently changed with temperature, the value inferred from history matching rejected this conclusion. It was due to the fact that we need to inject a huge volume of water (~1000 PV) at the lowest temperature to reach close to the real residual oil saturation, which is not practical in laboratory measurements. It was found that the relative permeability measured at the highest temperature, where it is possible to reach the residual oil saturation with much lower volume of water injection, provided very good history matches of the displacements at lower temperatures.

Sajjad Esmaeili, PhD Candidate, University of Calgary

An Integrated Carbon Capture & Conversion Plant

Category: Environmental Management


To reduce the carbon footprint of the natural gas combined cycle power plant (NGCC) by capturing CO2.
To increase the net present value (NPV) of the CO2 capture system by converting captured CO2 into fuels and feedstocks.

Methods, Procedures, Process: 

The goal of this project is to demonstrate a techno-economically viable carbon capture and conversion (CCC) plant, which can be integrated with the existing natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plant.  The proposed CCC plant consists of two units: carbon capture unit which consists of molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) and a carbon conversion unit which consists of CO2 electrolyzer. In this project, CO2 from the flue gases of an NGCC power plant will be captured using MCFCs. The MCFCs are electrochemical fuel-cells which operate on CO2 from flue gases, natural gas (NG) and steam to simultaneously generate clean electricity and concentrated (>95%) CO2. The MCFCs will be retrofitted into the existing NGCC power plant and the required raw materials for MCFC i.e., CO2 from flue gases, NG and steam are available within the existing NGCC power plant. Due to the exothermic reactions within MCFCs, no external source of energy is required to generate steam and the excess heat energy generated from MCFCs will be used to generate clean electricity. Our preliminary study suggests that over 80% of CO2 from flue gases can be captured by MCFCs.
The captured CO2 and clean electrical energy generated from MCFC will be fed to the CO2 electrolyzer. The electrolyzer will then convert CO2 into fuels and feedstocks, including carbon monoxide, n-propanol, ethanol, methanol, formic acid through electrochemical reduction reaction (e CO2RR). Under current techno-economic conditions, carbon monoxide and formic acid are found to be economically viable products.

Results, Observations, Conclusions:

80% of CO2 in the fuel gas can be captured.
Surplus clean electrical energy is generated.
The net present value of e CO2RR process is positive for carbon monoxide and formic acid.
Thermal efficiency = 82 %
≥95% purity CO2 stream is produced 

Novel/Additive Information: 

The captured CO2  is usually either stored or fed into the drilling wells for enhanced oil recovery.  The captured CO2 needs to be compressed, stored and transported to a remote location. The proposed CCC plant will overcome the costs associated with the storage and transportation of CO2. The CO2 electrolyzer unit will utilize the clean electrical energy produced from MCFCs and also enhances the NPV of the whole process by converting the captured CO2 into high-value fuels and feedstocks. The proposed CCC plant can be integrated with any existing facility that emits CO2 (e.g., SAGD, refinery ) which can be lucrative to many petroleum industries to avoid carbon tax and produce revenues from the valuable fuels and feedstocks.

Imtinan Mohsin, Graduate Student, University of Calgary

Novel chemical treatments for oil sands tailings

Category: Environmental Management

Oil Sand tailings are a mixture of water, sand and clay minerals, and residual bitumen produced during the extraction of bitumen using the hot water extraction process. Based on the step in which a tailing stream is produced, the composition of tailing varies largely. Regardless of the involved step and the composition of tailings, the untreated or partially treated tailings are transported to the tailings pond. In the tailings pond, the coarse particles settle fast, and the remaining clays-enriched composition (known as fine fluid tailings, FFT) stays suspended to quite large time. Over the course of time (years), FFT is partially converted to a stable form of tailing known as mature fine tailing. Due to the ever-increasing volumes of fresh FFT (at least for the next 10 years) and large storage of MFT in the ponds, efficient treatments to dewater the tailings to reclaim tailing ponds is of great interest.

Currently, anionic polyacrylamides (PAM) and inorganic salts (coagulants, e.g., alum) are the main chemicals used in the field in different parts of tailings processes such as thickener, centrifuge, inline flocculation process, etc. However, the treatment with PAM and/or coagulants is yet unable to deliver a solid the meets the criteria for land reclamation. Some shortcomings include a change in the water chemistry of released water due to the coagulant addition and the shear-sensitivity of the formed flocs produced with PAM (insufficient shear strength).

We have developed a novel strategy for chemical treatment to address some of these challenges. Through a comprehensive chemical design with an understanding on the dewatering mechanism, a series of compounds were selected based on their outstanding performance in dewatering of tailings and on the quality and quantity of the released water. The treatment resulted in flocs with negligible water, while the released water showed limited alterations. Based on the inferred dewatering mechanism, a number of surfactants (e.g., cationic and zwitterionic surfactants) and a cationic polymer, which could resemble some properties of our selective compounds, were used in dewatering experiments. An outstanding performance of our chemicals for dewatering was observed in comparison with commercially available coagulants, polymers, and surfactants in various type of tailings (i.e., MFT, FFT, and flotation tailing).
While, the commonly used chemicals show some extent of activity to destabilize the suspended clays (i.e., kaolinite and illite), the multi-functionality of our selective compounds to target bi-wettable clays and bitumen droplets is the key to outperform regarding the quality and quantity of released water. The results suggest a promising new pathway for tailings treatment strategies. This project is under further assessment for its scale-up.

Zohrab Ahmadi, Post-doctoral fellow, University of Calgary

High-Resolution Density Measurements for Interpreting Multiphase Flow and Transport Phenomena

Category: Reservoir Engineering

Understanding fluid flow in porous media is important; it is especially challenging for flows of complex fluids and multiple phases. We demonstrate that high-resolution in-line density measurement is a valuable tool in this regard. Placing an in-line densitometer downstream of the core exit in core flooding apparatus provides real-time quantification of multiphase fluid production rates, high-resolution data on connate water displacement, breakthrough times, emulsion/foam generation and coalescence, steam condensation, and fines migration.
To illustrate the potential applications for in-line densitometry in core flooding, a series of core floods were performed with a densitometer placed at the outlet of a sandpack. All fluids exiting the core passed through the measurement cell at the same temperature and pressure as the core. An algorithm was developed and applied to the density data to provide a quantitative determination of oil and water production. The second series of tests were performed at high temperature and pressure, with a densitometer placed at the inlet and outlet of a sandpack, for steam applications. In both series of experiments, data acquisition was collected at 1 hertz to provide effluent histories with resolution of <0.001 PV. The analyzed density data was validated against conventional effluent analysis, including Dean-Stark, toluene separations, magnetic susceptibility measurements, and ICP-MS, as applicable.
The high-resolution monitoring of effluent from a flow experiment through porous media in a system with two phases of known densities, enables oil production to be accurately quantified in the case of both light and heavy oil. The frequency of measurements results in a high-resolution history of breakthrough times, displacement fronts and fluid phase behavior. The instrument sensitivity allows for the differentiation of connate versus injected water in the effluent and for resolving the behavior of miscible displacements. As well, it is possible to differentiate between emulsion production and bulk oil production and determine produced emulsion quality. In the case of monitoring steam injection processes, laboratory tests show that in-line density measurements enable the real-time determination of steam quality at the inlet and outlet of a sandpack, steam condensation monitoring, and information on the effects of non-condensable gas on steam foam quality. The densitometer also provides valuable information in foam flow monitoring, allowing foam quality determinations and the ability to identify foam/no foam boundaries. In nanoparticle applications, the densitometer can be used for dynamic adsorption experiments to monitor retention, effluent concentration, and fines migration with high accuracy.
The use of high-temporal-resolution in-line densitometry in core flooding applications provides insight on complex fluid flow in porous media, which typical bulk effluent analysis cannot resolve. The ability to measure produced fluids at high resolution reduces mass balance error associated with the effluent collection and broadens our understanding of complex fluid flow in porous media.

Jelayne Falat, Student, University of Calgary

A Modular System for Electromagnetic Heating of Hydrocarbon Reservoirs


Electromagnetic (EM) heating is an alternative thermal EOR method. Potentially, an electromagnetic system could unlock energy savings of 30%-50%, eliminate expenditures related to water/steam facilities and offer environmental benefits through fewer GHG emissions and fewer tailings ponds. Despite the advantages of EM heating, its development is ongoing and the technology is confronted by several practical challenges. We feel that three issues stand out: 1) flexible EM system design and deployment, 2) reduction of radio frequency (RF) losses and 3) the need for high-efficiency, low-cost, high-power electronics to generate signals at RF. The system presented here addresses these practical challenges through a modular design.

Consider challenge #1, EM system design and deployment. Typically, a conventional single generator design (like an antenna or a transmission line) is tailored to each well, where considerations like well length, water saturation and other reservoir parameters must be taken into account. If a chain of RF generators is used instead, the design process can be streamlined, where modules containing separate generators can either be added or removed for different well lengths. Furthermore, additional generators allow for greater control of the heating pattern along the well, where power levels can be adjusted or the RF power can be “steered” to a small degree, which can mitigate overheating and potentially improve energy-to-oil ratio. Challenge #2 stems from two sources: downhole transmission losses from a surface RF generator to the underground antenna and power delivery efficiency from the RF generator to the reservoir itself (i.e. power lost from reflections). In this modular approach, if RF signals are generated in-situ, each module can be powered using conventional 60 Hz or DC signals which are less susceptible to losses downhole.

However, to the knowledge of the authors, the maximization of power delivery efficiency and the need for high-efficiency, low-cost, high-power RF electronics have yet to be addressed in the community. Maintenance of reflected power back to the RF generator is a major issue, where power delivery to the reservoir is dependent on water saturation and evolves as the reservoir is heated. In the context of the modular approach presented here, this was addressed using a combination of two coaxial discontinuities launching a wave into a self-forming leaky-wave antenna. This technique kept power delivery efficiency above 90% throughout the heating process in reservoir simulation, and was confirmed using a scaled benchtop prototype in liquids with different electrical properties designed to mimic reservoirs with different water saturations.

To address challenge #3, a new type of electronic oscillator was conceived. This oscillator was based off an elegant E/Fodd power amplifier tuning originally developed at Caltech. The initial benchtop prototype achieved 75% efficiency and over 300 W output power at 10 MHz using robust and economical silicon carbide electronics. While both the efficiency and output power will be improved in future iterations, this is an excellent first step towards an RF generator which could be deployed in-situ.

PhD Student, University of Calgary

Smart Infinity Dimensions Internet of Things Real-Time Streaming platform 

Category: E&P Geoscience

E&P Geoscience/ Geomatics and Remote Sensing. 
We are proposing an innovation platform that is called Smart Infinity Dimensions (S∞D) Internet of Things (IoT) Real-Time Streaming platform. Recognizing the opportunities generated by the advancement of technology, falling costs of digitalization, and high availability of devices and sensors, we are developing an S∞D Internet of Things (IoT) Real-Time Streaming platform that is a state-of-the-art digital transformation solution designed to optimize the operation, minimize the energy consumption and waste, minimize cost, and maximize the return on investment for capital asset management of existing and new facilities, in addition to mega construction projects. 
Statistics show a forecast of the economic impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) by the year 2025, forecast to be between US$3.9 trillion and US$11.1 trillion. We recognize the inherent value of creating a turn-key system that produces information from a variety of other sensors in multiple dimensions through IoT and integration into 3D modelling formats. We designed S∞D services as three levels, as follows: Integrated Asset Modelling, Sensors and Connectivity, and Asset Management/Risk Assessment/Maintenance Prediction. We are introducing an intelligent and connected online platform as a one-stop-shop for capital asset management with customizable digital transformation modules that leverage the IoT, as built, geolocation, data analytics, AI, and more. The platform can be fully or partially integrated into new and existing facilities. The main value proposition is to remotely monitor critical physical variables of different machinery for predictive maintenance improvements, operation cost minimization, risk mitigation, productivity maximization, and optimal return on investment. Massive cost savings in maintenance and operations are introduced. This is also part of its Smart City insight, where it uses its 3D capabilities along with sensor information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency. 
Our turn-key solution methods start with analysing and understanding the underlying problems, selecting proper sensors and sensor vendors, installing and calibrating the sensors, acquiring IoT grade data, building data analytics models. Lastly, we provide engineering grade outputs in the form of real-time streaming and data archival. We started the engineering grade IoT platform/services with the Calgary City Hall truss repair project in 2016-17, where it provided a turn-key IoT-based system comprised of two digital cameras, over 300 strain gauges, approximately 70 measurement nodes, and 10 data gateways. This system was used to monitor the structural health of the building during its complex repair with both live streaming and cloud archival data.

Finally, the developed platform has an artificial intelligence module to leverage captured and real-time streaming data for evaluation of maintenance prediction models with the following modules: a geolocation-capable module, a cloud-based computing data analytics module, an engineering-grade 3D module-as built, and an AI module using software as a service.

Nesreen Weshah, Postdoctoral Associate, University of Calgary and Micro Engineering Tech Inc.

An Innovative Cloud-Based Platform for Cost Effective Training and Development

Category: People & Talent

People & talent: 1) Cost effective training, and 2) Developing and building the next generation of petro-technical professionals.

An innovative cloud-based platform is proposed. The platform (RoboGarden) encourages the concept of coding to control towards entrepreneurship. RoboGarden is a cost-effective training and development engine that digitizes STREAM content without the need of software developers, minimizing the cost of content production, which helps to build the next generation of petro-technical professionals. The platform’s backend is an artificial intelligence engine that uses user data to optimize the educational experience.

A simultaneous global increase (12%) in programming and STREAM jobs represents above-average growth compared to the greater job market. The combined result is globally high unemployment rates in this high-demand area. The problem requires an innovative and complete platform that can deliver technology-related digital content in an easy-to-understand way, and to tie it effectively to the digital workforce. We believe the RoboGarden platform fills that niche. The RoboGarden platform is self-paced with an intelligent hinting-based system to support the learner with minimal to no involvement of instructors. RoboGarden’s intelligent engine uses data collected from users to constantly improve feedback to the user. The platform’s pedagogy is designed to prepare an individual in the oil and gas industry with minimum or zero background in technology, and to quickly and productively integrate them into the workforce with a focus on freelancing. The platform integrates computational thinking, problem solving, fail-fast to succeed faster, coding literacy, teamwork, and communications. RoboGarden’s platform content currently covers pseudocode, Python, and JavaScript programming languages in addition to Machine Learning and Web/Mobile App Development courses. The RoboGarden platform is a forward-looking and will use AI and interactive, game-based learning to produce a pipeline of future coders and skilled entrepreneurs.

The designed platform makes creativity available for everyone by building the most powerful and simplest intelligent global eLearning teaching and training platform for science, technology, engineering, and math. This will be achieved by maintaining traffic and by modifying our intelligent engine to continue training as we acquire new data. The RoboGarden platform is a fast-growing platform that carries a message that is important to the larger community, and to Canada, especially for the next generation of petro-technical professionals. Our objective is offer guidance to non-technical workers who wish to move into the technology sector. We seek to make creativity available to everyone through the most powerful and simplest teaching platform for science, technology, engineering, and math. Our training philosophy contributes to a decrease in the unemployment rate, which will be a direct benefit to society. RoboGarden platform has won international awards in Silicon Valley and Dubai.

Nesreen Weshah, Postdoctoral Associate, University of Calgary and Micro Engineering Tech Inc.

Mechanistic Investigation of Brines for Low Salinity Flooding for EOR

Category: Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)

Low salinity flooding has been an enhanced oil recovery technique of choice for a prolonged period of time. This as a result of its practical applicability given its cost effectiveness coupled with its displacement efficiency. The efficiency however depends on the formulation of the low salinity water (LSW) and the rock mineral make up, in essence the rock-fluid interaction. In order not to cause formation damage due to the precipitation as a result of incompatibility between the injected brine with the insitu formation water, a good compositional formulation of the low salinity water to that of the formation water is very essential. This research focuses on the composition of the LSW and its compatibility with the formation water by testing out different salt of different compositions and ionic strengths to investigate the displacement efficiency. Sulphate and chloride based salts were used as the bases for low salinity brine to carry out a laboratory core flooding process on a sand stone core sample at a pressure of 1200 psi, temperature of 40C, and an injection rate of 0.25 ml/min. The results of the experiments showed that, for the investigated rock type and formation water composition, the sulphate based low salinity flooding fluid gave the best recovery factor of about 71% compared to the chloride based fluid of 50%. This can be attributed to a better chemistry between the sulphate based salt, the rock mineral composition, and the displaced oil at those conditions.

Furthermore, reduction in the interfacial tension (IFT), being one of the displacement mechanisms of low salinity flooding, between the displaced and displacing fluid was apparent from the results obtained which was further investigated through Interfacial tension measurement using the rising bubble method.

Mechanistic investigation of  brines for low salinity flooding for EOR

The Benefits of a Data-centric Approach in Facility Engineering

Category: Pipeline & Processing Facilities

In today’s competitive commodity landscape, every capital project and operating asset needs a digital execution architecture strategy. However, operators must overcome several challenges related to the implementation of a data-centric approach to managing projects and long-term industrial assets. In many cases, short-term risks are misunderstood and believed to outweigh the benefits.

In this presentation, technology veteran, Patrick Reilly, aims to dispel myths about the perceived risks associated with a data-centric approach. Patrick will explain an outlook that views data as the most important and perpetual asset used in support of applications to produce deliverables associated with facility design, construction, operations, and maintenance.

Common Myths
This presentation identifies three common misconceptions about digital execution architecture.

The first is that people believe a data-centric approach is too expensive to implement. While short-term capital investment is required to implement a digital execution architecture, the cost of a proper implementation should not prohibit most projects. In fact, when compared with the savings potential (e.g. 10% TIC reduction) to be realized over the asset’s lifecycle, the system integration costs are minimal.

Another misconception is that benefits are exaggerated. It is true that a digital execution approach has not yet been carried out over a long-term asset. But the examples of savings through early project phases demonstrate how increased collaboration and transparency, combined with shared access to a central database of near-live information can improve execution in ways that weren’t originally anticipated.
The third myth about a data-centric approach is that the learning curve for project personnel is too great and resistance from staff will prevent a successful implementation. This presentation will look at how the tools and processes of a data-centric approach can enable people to spend more time performing high-value tasks and make more informed decisions, ultimately benefiting the project and accelerating career advancement.

A Paradigm Shift
Digital execution architecture is a new paradigm for the energy industry. The oil and gas sector is by nature an industry of innovation, but the industry has been slow to grasp the merits of changing the way capital projects are executed and managed throughout the asset’s operational lifespan.

This presentation will explore how digital execution architecture is a structured model comprising a single source of data, a technical data hub or portal, and various information systems related to engineering, document control, project controls, procurement, vendor data and materials management, execution verification, commissioning and completions, and operations/maintenance.

The technical data hub and the single-source model are the two essential unifying elements that transform information systems from a collection of disconnected information silos to a centralized, single source of truth maintained by all project stakeholders throughout the life of the asset.

Managing Partner – Technology, Vista Projects