BP has begun operating the world’s first robotic core-flooding system. The Core Flood Robot is the most recent addition to the operator’s program of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) research facilities. “The EOR technologies being developed by BP are vitally important to help increase global oil supplies,” said Ahmed Hashmi, BP’s head of upstream technology. “We believe this step-change in our core-flooding capability will hugely improve the speed and efficiency with which we can deploy new technologies to recover more oil from reservoirs.
Core flooding is used to identify and evaluate EOR technologies. It measures the effectiveness of water or gas injected into an oil-bearing rock sample to displace oil. This can be used to assess the potential for water flooding in an oil field.
BP has had a large-scale in-house core-flooding laboratory in the UK for years, where reservoir samples can be tested at high-pressure and high-temperature reservoir conditions, and different reservoir types can be evaluated. The new robotic core-flood system operates for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The complete automation and work-flow optimization in the new Core Flood Robot enables hundreds of core-flood tests to be performed each year, rather than dozens as in the past, according to BP. Additionally, it greatly enhances the operator’s ability to evaluate a continuous stream of new EOR technologies. This is expected to reduce the time spent developing new technologies by at least 50%.
The Core Flood Robot is operated by the same team that developed LoSal EOR, BP’s reduced salinity water-flooding technology. More than 45 core-flood tests were performed in validating the LoSal EOR effect, before field trials in Alaska. BP and its partners are now deploying the technology at scale on the Clair Ridge project in the North Sea.
LoSal is a registered trademark of BP.