SRC Technology and Innovation Theatre

Get fresh insights from SRC's R&D and technology experts at the SRC Technology and Innovation Theatre at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, 2019. Drop in throughout the exhibition to learn about the latest research and technologies that are driving change and creating new opportunities for industry, such as thermal and cold methods for heavy oil EOR and understanding reservoirs with CT scanning.

The 30-minute presentations are free to attend with your exhibition or conference badge. 

Booth 1044, Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, 2019

 

Presentation SChedule

Monday, Sept. 30

Heavy oil and bitumen together account for more than 96 per cent of all oil and gas reserves in Canada, making Canada’s oil and gas reserves the third largest in the world after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. While bitumen production has more than doubled in the last decade alone, heavy oil production has declined for the last two decades. In 1998, the heavy-oil producing Lloydminster region—straddling the border between central Alberta and Saskatchewan—supplied a quarter of the national oil output. By 2018, its share had dropped to just 10 per cent.

Cold primary heavy oil production, which typically extracts only 7 to 12 per cent of the original oil in place, is declining rapidly—leaving tens of billions of barrels of oil in the ground. With virtually no opportunities to sustain production through the drill bit in this mature resource, development and application of enhanced oil recovery schemes has become the leading priority for sustaining the region’s heavy oil economy.

In this presentation, we will outline some of the cutting-edge research into the enhanced recovery of heavy oil. We will take a fresh look at some tried-and-true methods and new approaches to tackling the challenges typical for the thin and wormholed heavy oil reservoirs in these fields. We will also present thermal and non-thermal EOR methods, the physical concepts behind them and how we test and develop these methods for application in the field.

X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanning is a non-destructive technique that reveals details of 3-dimensional (3-D) structures that cannot be identified by visualization or 2-D X-ray radiography. Industrial CT systems offer great versatility and advantages in analyzing large or dense materials with high X-ray attenuation while providing significantly higher spatial and contrast resolution than common medical CT scanners. Geomaterials, particularly petroleum reservoir rocks and mining ores, have become one of the many applications of industrial CT systems.

Because the CT imagery represented by grey-level values is closely related to density of scanned objects, it is possible to distinguish different minerals with enough density contrast, e.g., quartz/feldspar from carbonate. With advanced image analysis of the CT scanning imagery, much compositional, structural and textural information is quantitatively extracted. Such CT volume imagery is a rich dataset, further processed in dedicated image analysis software.

At spatial resolution of 30 microns for common 1.5-inch-diameter core plugs, features such as small sedimentary structures, natural/induced fractures and bioturbations can be easily identified. This high-resolution digital core is a valuable input for subsequent studies in geoscience and petroleum engineering.

Government energy regulators are demanding substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from industry. While CO2 is a major concern, the need to address large methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is intensifying. This presentation will discuss key points in recent provincial and federal regulations, how they may impact oil and gas operations and how operators can identify technological solutions that can be adopted in the field in response. 

SRC will share examples from its database of over 350 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction technologies and profile SRC’s Centre for the Demonstration of Emissions Reductions (CeDER). CeDER offers mobile facilities for real-world technology validation and air quality monitoring, established protocols and access to SRC’s state-of-the-art laboratories.

Our scope extends across emissions reduction technologies, including low- to high-volume sources, fugitive emissions and process venting to large plants. In this presentation, we will discuss how the CeDER program combines with SRC’s expertise and experience in the oil and gas sector to provide an essential service. 

In the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB), abundant tight and light oil resources are locked in formations such as Bakken/Exshaw, Viking, Cardium and Lower Shaunavon. While new tight oil wells are highly productive when stimulated through hydraulic fracturing, this production declines rapidly from its initial peak. We can see declines at rates of more than 85 per cent per year, with ultimate primary recovery of only 3 to 10 per cent of the original oil in place.

Innovation for multi-stage hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells has proven to be the key factor in the booming development of the light and tight oil fields over the last decade. Technology advancements enable oil producers to increase recovery factors while lowering decline rates, capital and operating costs. Even in the current price environment, light and tight oil formations are among the most economic oil plays in North America. However, gaps remain.

Significant work is needed to grow or even sustain the current level of production. Because of the micro- to nano-meter-scale flow channels in tight oil formations, their phase behaviour and multi-phase flow could be significantly different from those in conventional oil reservoirs. There are large local variations in permeability, lithology and mineralogy. This is further complicated by fluid flow and mass transfer between the matrix and fractures with extreme permeability contrast.

This presentation reviews the challenges associated with tight oil recovery and EOR. It assesses state-of-the-art IOR and EOR techniques, focusing on the gaps and challenges in our understanding of various mechanisms and processes important for the most popular techniques of improved oil recovery in tight reservoirs, such as waterflooding, gas flooding and chemical flooding.

Oil and gas reservoir development using multi-stage fracturing and horizontal wells is a technological innovation that has unlocked reserves in unconventional reservoirs like the Bakken, and revitalized convential reservoirs like the Viking. Reservoir and fracture modelling and optimization of these plays requires inclusion of multidisciplinary physics in the geo-mechanical and reservoir fluid flow modelling. Generation of the necessary input parameters has resulted in numerous methods derived from both field and laboratory tests.

This presentation includes new approaches to field and laboratory derived acquisition of simulation input data. New laboratory facilities combined with modified numerical workflows provide a preliminary basis for well placement and hydraulic fracturing. We will discuss methods and topics such as reservoir stress initialization and its contribution to well orientation and multi-stage fracturing, modelling of proppant embedment and fracture conductivity, and estimation of bulk and anisotropic geomechanical elastic properties with combined CT-scan and drill-cut data.

The use and application of these workflows and laboratory methods will be discussed, regarding field development planning and production forecasting. Identification of sweet spots based on the geomechanical characterization will also be presented. Finally, we will discuss what to do when there is a lack of data, and how to get the geomechanical data from various non-typical sources and methods. 

Transporting fluid streams in the heavy oil, SAGD and oil sands industries is complicated. Understanding the flow regime of these complex mixtures greatly enhances the design, operation and maintenance of pipeline systems. Over the past 59 years, SRC's Pipe Flow Technology CentreTM has researched and worked with industry to improve the transport of complex mixtures; work that has reduced operating and capital costs, and improved pipeline safety for the Canadian oil and gas industry. Leveraging our extensive background in pipeline flows, our team also offers services to support the development of pipeline integrity technology. 

The demand for lightweight, rechargeable lithium batteries has increased greatly as markets grow for mobile devices, battery powered vehicles and renewable power storage. Recent studies have shown that the demand for lithium is projected to increase by 73 per cent by 2025. Lithium is also considered a critical or strategic metal since it has important applications in other advanced and clean technologies. 

Currently lithium is produced from three sources: rock minerals (e.g., spodumene, petalite and pegmatite), clays and continental brines. Lithium production from brines are dominated by Chile and Argentina in the Andean highlands (known as the lithium triangle, including Bolivia) and China in the Tibetan highlands. The current recovery technology used to produce lithium carbonate or hydroxide is a high-capital intensive, low-efficiency process and not viable for the low concentration brines (100 times lower) found in Canada’s oilfields. Canada has millions of tonnes of geothermal and oil field brine that contain lithium, so if a disruptive selective technology can be developed, lithium recovery from Canadian sources could be an important part of the global lithium supply chain.

SRC has been working with mining companies and engineering companies from Canada, USA, Australia, Argentina and Chile to develop lithium processes from various sources to produce battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide, as well as other byproducts. SRC has also initiated research on a new selective recovery technology which would be a potential processing solution for the low concentration brines if successfully commercialized. 

This presentation will show and discuss the various lithium extraction technologies for mineral deposits and brines, as well as the newer research areas for the new selective lithium recovery technologies, such as precipitation and the recently developed membrane electrolysis, nanofiltration, selective ion sieving, and co-precipitation.

Tuesday, Oct. 1

Heavy oil and bitumen together account for more than 96 per cent of all oil and gas reserves in Canada, making Canada’s oil and gas reserves the third largest in the world after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. While bitumen production has more than doubled in the last decade alone, heavy oil production has declined for the last two decades. In 1998, the heavy-oil producing Lloydminster region—straddling the border between central Alberta and Saskatchewan—supplied a quarter of the national oil output. By 2018, its share had dropped to just 10 per cent.

Cold primary heavy oil production, which typically extracts only 7 to 12 per cent of the original oil in place, is declining rapidly—leaving tens of billions of barrels of oil in the ground. With virtually no opportunities to sustain production through the drill bit in this mature resource, development and application of enhanced oil recovery schemes has become the leading priority for sustaining the region’s heavy oil economy.

In this presentation, we will outline some of the cutting-edge research into the enhanced recovery of heavy oil. We will take a fresh look at some tried-and-true methods and new approaches to tackling the challenges typical for the thin and wormholed heavy oil reservoirs in these fields. We will also present thermal and non-thermal EOR methods, the physical concepts behind them and how we test and develop these methods for application in the field.

X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanning is a non-destructive technique that reveals details of 3-dimensional (3-D) structures that cannot be identified by visualization or 2-D X-ray radiography. Industrial CT systems offer great versatility and advantages in analyzing large or dense materials with high X-ray attenuation while providing significantly higher spatial and contrast resolution than common medical CT scanners. Geomaterials, particularly petroleum reservoir rocks and mining ores, have become one of the many applications of industrial CT systems.

Because the CT imagery represented by grey-level values is closely related to density of scanned objects, it is possible to distinguish different minerals with enough density contrast, e.g., quartz/feldspar from carbonate. With advanced image analysis of the CT scanning imagery, much compositional, structural and textural information is quantitatively extracted. Such CT volume imagery is a rich dataset, further processed in dedicated image analysis software.

At spatial resolution of 30 microns for common 1.5-inch-diameter core plugs, features such as small sedimentary structures, natural/induced fractures and bioturbations can be easily identified. This high-resolution digital core is a valuable input for subsequent studies in geoscience and petroleum engineering.

SRC’s Mining and Energy Division has been instrumental in transforming some of the world’s most challenging oil and gas opportunities into some of its most valuable reserves. We are now a full generation into our mission to support and sustain our clients with world-class technology, services and solutions.

SRC has been active in relevant technology development and demonstration for over 35 years, surpassing any other Canadian research and technology organization. We’ve tested many unique approaches, funded primarily by heavy oil producers seeking the right technology path. More recently, we have worked with small and medium enterprises, piloting technologies and driving demonstration-scale verification activities.

In 1981, upgrading research focused on low-cost upgrading of heavy oils. Producers realized that commercial processes were uneconomic. This fostered an interest in more innovative approaches.  Interest in partial upgrading has recently been reinvigorated due to the lack of pipeline capacity. SRC has worked with clients on diverse partial upgrading technologies ranging from studying hydrocracking additives to unique approaches such as using supercritical fluids, high energy plasma, ionic liquids and cavitation.

In this presentation, learn how SRC’s expert team combines research and real-world industrial process development. We will share non-confidential results and insights into past and present projects, demonstrating how we help clients advance novel partial upgrading technologies.

In the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB), abundant tight and light oil resources are locked in formations such as Bakken/Exshaw, Viking, Cardium and Lower Shaunavon. While new tight oil wells are highly productive when stimulated through hydraulic fracturing, this production declines rapidly from its initial peak. We can see declines at rates of more than 85 per cent per year, with ultimate primary recovery of only 3 to 10 per cent of the original oil in place.

Innovation for multi-stage hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells has proven to be the key factor in the booming development of the light and tight oil fields over the last decade. Technology advancements enable oil producers to increase recovery factors while lowering decline rates, capital and operating costs. Even in the current price environment, light and tight oil formations are among the most economic oil plays in North America. However, gaps remain.

Significant work is needed to grow or even sustain the current level of production. Because of the micro- to nano-meter-scale flow channels in tight oil formations, their phase behaviour and multi-phase flow could be significantly different from those in conventional oil reservoirs. There are large local variations in permeability, lithology and mineralogy. This is further complicated by fluid flow and mass transfer between the matrix and fractures with extreme permeability contrast.

This presentation reviews the challenges associated with tight oil recovery and EOR. It assesses state-of-the-art IOR and EOR techniques, focusing on the gaps and challenges in our understanding of various mechanisms and processes important for the most popular techniques of improved oil recovery in tight reservoirs, such as waterflooding, gas flooding and chemical flooding.

Oil and gas reservoir development using multi-stage fracturing and horizontal wells is a technological innovation that has unlocked reserves in unconventional reservoirs like the Bakken, and revitalized convential reservoirs like the Viking. Reservoir and fracture modelling and optimization of these plays requires inclusion of multidisciplinary physics in the geo-mechanical and reservoir fluid flow modelling. Generation of the necessary input parameters has resulted in numerous methods derived from both field and laboratory tests.

This presentation includes new approaches to field and laboratory derived acquisition of simulation input data. New laboratory facilities combined with modified numerical workflows provide a preliminary basis for well placement and hydraulic fracturing. We will discuss methods and topics such as reservoir stress initialization and its contribution to well orientation and multi-stage fracturing, modelling of proppant embedment and fracture conductivity, and estimation of bulk and anisotropic geomechanical elastic properties with combined CT-scan and drill-cut data.

The use and application of these workflows and laboratory methods will be discussed, regarding field development planning and production forecasting. Identification of sweet spots based on the geomechanical characterization will also be presented. Finally, we will discuss what to do when there is a lack of data, and how to get the geomechanical data from various non-typical sources and methods. 

Transporting fluid streams in the heavy oil, SAGD and oil sands industries is complicated. Understanding the flow regime of these complex mixtures greatly enhances the design, operation and maintenance of pipeline systems. Over the past 59 years, SRC's Pipe Flow Technology CentreTM has researched and worked with industry to improve the transport of complex mixtures; work that has reduced operating and capital costs, and improved pipeline safety for the Canadian oil and gas industry. Leveraging our extensive background in pipeline flows, our team also offers services to support the development of pipeline integrity technology.

The demand for lightweight, rechargeable lithium batteries has increased greatly as markets grow for mobile devices, battery powered vehicles and renewable power storage. Recent studies have shown that the demand for lithium is projected to increase by 73 per cent by 2025. Lithium is also considered a critical or strategic metal since it has important applications in other advanced and clean technologies. 

Currently lithium is produced from three sources: rock minerals (e.g., spodumene, petalite and pegmatite), clays and continental brines. Lithium production from brines are dominated by Chile and Argentina in the Andean highlands (known as the lithium triangle, including Bolivia) and China in the Tibetan highlands. The current recovery technology used to produce lithium carbonate or hydroxide is a high-capital intensive, low-efficiency process and not viable for the low concentration brines (100 times lower) found in Canada’s oilfields. Canada has millions of tonnes of geothermal and oil field brine that contain lithium, so if a disruptive selective technology can be developed, lithium recovery from Canadian sources could be an important part of the global lithium supply chain.

SRC has been working with mining companies and engineering companies from Canada, USA, Australia, Argentina and Chile to develop lithium processes from various sources to produce battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide, as well as other byproducts. SRC has also initiated research on a new selective recovery technology which would be a potential processing solution for the low concentration brines if successfully commercialized. 

This presentation will show and discuss the various lithium extraction technologies for mineral deposits and brines, as well as the newer research areas for the new selective lithium recovery technologies, such as precipitation and the recently developed membrane electrolysis, nanofiltration, selective ion sieving, and co-precipitation.

Wednesday, Oct. 2

Heavy oil and bitumen together account for more than 96 per cent of all oil and gas reserves in Canada, making Canada’s oil and gas reserves the third largest in the world after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. While bitumen production has more than doubled in the last decade alone, heavy oil production has declined for the last two decades. In 1998, the heavy-oil producing Lloydminster region—straddling the border between central Alberta and Saskatchewan—supplied a quarter of the national oil output. By 2018, its share had dropped to just 10 per cent.

Cold primary heavy oil production, which typically extracts only 7 to 12 per cent of the original oil in place, is declining rapidly—leaving tens of billions of barrels of oil in the ground. With virtually no opportunities to sustain production through the drill bit in this mature resource, development and application of enhanced oil recovery schemes has become the leading priority for sustaining the region’s heavy oil economy.

In this presentation, we will outline some of the cutting-edge research into the enhanced recovery of heavy oil. We will take a fresh look at some tried-and-true methods and new approaches to tackling the challenges typical for the thin and wormholed heavy oil reservoirs in these fields. We will also present thermal and non-thermal EOR methods, the physical concepts behind them and how we test and develop these methods for application in the field.

X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanning is a non-destructive technique that reveals details of 3-dimensional (3-D) structures that cannot be identified by visualization or 2-D X-ray radiography. Industrial CT systems offer great versatility and advantages in analyzing large or dense materials with high X-ray attenuation while providing significantly higher spatial and contrast resolution than common medical CT scanners. Geomaterials, particularly petroleum reservoir rocks and mining ores, have become one of the many applications of industrial CT systems.

Because the CT imagery represented by grey-level values is closely related to density of scanned objects, it is possible to distinguish different minerals with enough density contrast, e.g., quartz/feldspar from carbonate. With advanced image analysis of the CT scanning imagery, much compositional, structural and textural information is quantitatively extracted. Such CT volume imagery is a rich dataset, further processed in dedicated image analysis software.

At spatial resolution of 30 microns for common 1.5-inch-diameter core plugs, features such as small sedimentary structures, natural/induced fractures and bioturbations can be easily identified. This high-resolution digital core is a valuable input for subsequent studies in geoscience and petroleum engineering.

Government energy regulators are demanding substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from industry. While CO2 is a major concern, the need to address large methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is intensifying. This presentation will discuss key points in recent provincial and federal regulations, how they may impact oil and gas operations and how operators can identify technological solutions that can be adopted in the field in response. 

SRC will share examples from its database of over 350 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction technologies and profile SRC’s Centre for the Demonstration of Emissions Reductions (CeDER). CeDER offers mobile facilities for real-world technology validation and air quality monitoring, established protocols and access to SRC’s state-of-the-art laboratories.

Our scope extends across emissions reduction technologies, including low- to high-volume sources, fugitive emissions and process venting to large plants. In this presentation, we will discuss how the CeDER program combines with SRC’s expertise and experience in the oil and gas sector to provide an essential service.